The new mural. Photo by Ben Glenn

A pair of trees in front of a recently painted mural on York and 25th streets were removed Thursday, although it’s unclear exactly why — and by whom.

“The residents of York Street are heartbroken that two street trees were illegally removed today from York St at 25th,” Ben Glenn, who lives down the street from the trees, wrote in an e-mail.

It’s illegal to remove trees from San Francisco streets without authorization.

Glenn said in an interview that he came home at around 7 p.m. yesterday to find a man in his late 30s “hacking away” at the stump of an already chopped-down tree.

He said the man then rode away on bicycle, and that much of the debris from the two trees had already been stuffed into a green compost bin. As Glenn took photos of the defaced trees, he said, a man in his 60s came out of the house and said that one of the trees was dead. Questioned further, the man went back into his home, Glenn said. Glenn said he sent an email to Calle 24, and received a response from Moisés García, corridor manager at Calle 24. 

“It’s my understanding that Richard Segovia requested the tree removal to improve the view of the mural,” Garcia said. “Calle 24 did not want to see the trees removed and I’m not sure how he was able to get the trees removed, as that usually requires a public process.”

The trees partially blocked a new mural, and 25th and York streets will be the site of the “Latin Rock Stage” as part of the Fiesta De Las Americas block party Sunday.

The mural, painted on Segovia’s house, is a tribute to the local Latin rock scene.

A call placed to the San Francisco Department of Public Works was not immediately returned. 

Street view from Google when there were trees and no mural.
Detritus of trees. Photo by Ben Glenn.
Photo by Ben Glenn.

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. An temporary fix would be to paint two trees on the mural.

    You can tell be the bark and color of the trees that they were not dead.

  2. Oh my god, here come the tree police, or should I say tree nazis? Only in San Francisco, seriously. Bottom line: homeowner approved trees and homeowner changed his mind. Homeowner be payin’ them property taxes, after all. All others: maybe, just maybe MYOB. As for the trees, I know the variety very well, and they are a HUUUUGE mistake. They grow spindly and way too fast. Not only that, they drop crap likes there’s no tomorrow, including leaves and nuts. A HUUUUGE mistake these trees. The neighbors will be forever cleaning up the debris, as in daily as it spreads its detris up and down the block. My observation: if the FUF suggests a certain variety of tree, run the other way. As for the upset neighbors, maybe volunteer in a senior center or a children’s ward of a hospital. Volunteer to walk a less mobile neighbor’s dog. Something to at least partially check the teeth gnashing.

  3. On Thursday evening, 9/14 @ around 6pm, I saw one man (perhaps the owner or man mentioned in your article) cleaning up the felled trees. When asked by a woman passing by why they had removed the trees, he defensively stated that he had “asked the city” and that they were planning on replacing them with “shrubs.”

  4. 24th Street has a good amount of empty tree spaces.

    I say planting the trees in the empty spaces would be an improvement. And sure, if there is a mural or other architectural feature in front, that should inform the size and type of tree planted, but trees are good.

  5. Some amateur hack job. The street looks to be 90% concrete, so the mural lover decided to get to 100% concrete.

  6. The mural should be covered or replaced with a painting of 2 trees. Killing trees and vandalizing our neighborhood should not be rewarded.

  7. Note that PG&E is cutting down all of the trees on 25th between York and Hampshire for “safety reasons” in a few months, which Richard knows. Rude.

  8. The timing of the tree destruction is worse than suspicious, it was premeditated. The stage for the stage for the event was located at this intersection, an event that occurred less than 48 hours after these healthy trees were illegally chopped down. Department of Public Works needs to levy the maximum fine ($10,000) against Richard Segovia for each and require replanting of 36″ box trees after consulting with Calle 24 as to species of tree as replacements. No consequences is not an acceptable alternative otherwise area property owners will be encouraged to do the same. Street trees are the responsibility of the City under the recently passed Prop E, which became effective on July 1st.

  9. Everywhere I look, Trees are being chopped down. RPD loves to chop down perfectly healthy Trees. Why do you think that the cancer rate in humans and our animals is increasing? It’s not rocket science. Check out the amazing Mature Trees at 4 Guy Place. RPD is intent on cutting them down and pouring concrete. I am fighting this. If you get angry enough and want to join the fight against Wreckin’ Parks Department, let me know.

    1. We need to put a halt to and have a moratorium on the piecemeal destruction of the very trees that provide sanctuary and nesting habitat to our winged friends otherwise, in the years to come, there will be no birds left.

  10. Wow, I love reading these comments, but so much anger and vitriol over a couple of trees. Obviously many feel there is no punishment too great for the scofflaw tree killa’. Yeah, let’s hang him in the public square. Mission Local does a great job of keeping its readers in the loop about rampant crime in the area. Where’s the outrage over women young and old getting cold-cocked over a cell phone? Where’s the outrage over seniors getting pummelled at gunpoint? Where’s the outrage at young predator thugs running rampant? Check yourself, Frisco. At the very least some among us need to get a life.

    1. In this case there is a clear culprit. In many criminal assaults, jacks and car break-ins there are no arrests even though the culprits should be severely hammered. Are you offering any solutions here or just blowing off steam?

  11. since when is a tree anything else but a TREE….no one has the right to cut down a tree no matter what their excuse.

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