Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Last month I wrote a PWP article that addressed the distinct possibility that seemingly healthy neighborhood trees in Ypsilanti are being cut down by the city. In the November 1 article I referenced two beautiful old trees that were cut down in the front yard of our home in Ypsilanti's Normal Park Neighborhood. I even photographed the stumps of the two trees after they were cut down. Indeed, one of the stumps did look rotted in the middle, so that tree did need to come down. However, as stated in the article, the other tree stump looked pretty darn healthy, well, at least as healthy as a stump can look. My environmentalist sister in law took a look last month and confirmed the obvious...The one tree stump indicated to her that the tree need not have been cut down. The truth is that several Normal Park residents have complained that healthy looking trees in their own yards have been cut down. Hmm.

Okay, cut to yesterday. I happened to be chatting with a gentleman who lives in our neighborhood. This gentlemen prefers to remain anonymous. The topic of trees came up, as did the recent cutting down of Normal Park trees. This fellow had interesting information. Here is what he told me. Apparently, last year our anonymous source told me that one day he noticed four "kids", probably high school students, he guessed, were walking down a Normal Park street carrying clipboards. The anonymous source referred to them as kids, but I have no idea. They may have been much older than "kids". They were stopping at every tree and giving them a little peek, you know, like an inspection. 

Our source said he asked them what they were doing. Two of them "Peeled off", while the other two looked sheepish but answered his question. The supposed younger people said that they had been asked to walk around the neighborhood and decide and notate which trees should be cut down. Our source said he asked if they had cards, and if they had been trained to spot rotted trees that needed to come down. The two replied that they were told what to look for as far as rotten trees. The impression of our source seemed to be that the City of Ypsilanti informed the young fellas on how to spot rotten trees and asked them to spot and notate these trees. To be clear, I cannot confirm that the City of Ypsilanti had anything to do with these "Young people". It also seemed to our source that they did not seem to be very well trained. I mean, they had no ID or apparent credentials. Sheesh! Of course, this reporting is speculation,  Also, I'm only reporting to you what I was told. I know, I know!... Such a trouble maker, Well, us Flint guys are good at that! Look, for all I know, the city is or was working with younger people and offering them specific and skill building training on how to spot rotten and sick trees. For all I know the City of Ypsilanti is working with college students in this fashion. I have no idea. The point is that the source seemed to think that something wasn't quite right with the picture, but, again, that is pure speculation. The young tree spotters could very well be city interns or something of that nature. However, it would be nice to know for sure.

On or around November 1 I reached out to the Ypsilanti Dept of Public Works, specifically Stan Kirton, who is the Director of Public Works, and asked how decisions are made, who makes them, and what credentials those folks have in regard to selecting trees that need to be cut down. As of this writing I have not had a response. As Purple Walrus Press has not had a response from the City of Ypsilanti one can only speculate as to how decisions are made to cut down city trees in Ypsilanti neighborhoods. Why has the city not gotten back to me after I contacted Kirton with questions regarding tree cutting? I don't know.

At least some kind of response would be appreciated.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.
Healthy looking stump after tree was cut down in our front yard in Normal Park by city. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

1 comment:

  1. I would suggest you go in person and talk to city personal. They are reluctant to put anything in writing. Take your photo's with you.