Dolores Park
Photo by Lydia Chávez

Sometime this morning, one of the large trees that border Dolores Park fell to the ground, closing 18th Street between Dolores and Church streets and sending work crews scrambling to remove the tree.

“Gravity,” said one of the workers when asked how it fell. “Its own weight.”

Police, the fire department and work crews arrived sometime after 8 a.m.

It’s unclear when the tree fell or whether these particular trees – no one on the scene could identify it – were in danger of collapsing.

One officer thought it would take quite a while to clear the area, so traffic should avoid 18th Street this morning.

We will update this story as it develops. If anyone knows what kind of tree this is, please add in the comments.

Photo by Lydia Chávez.
Photo by Lydia Chávez.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. The real culprit in the collapse of this magnolia tree was the failure to adequately protect it during construction of the adjacent maintenance facility during the Dolores Park “renovations” in 2014-2015. The construction severely impacted the tree’s root zone and it went into immediate decline. Take a look at the street view image from March 2014 prior to construction, when the tree has a full healthy leaf canopy. Even before construction finished the canopy was notably sparser and the tree continued to decline. Literally, this tree was killed by Rec & Parks, and it is exceedingly fortunate that no one was injured.

  2. Could proper trimming have prevented that grand old magnolia from toppling over? I’d be worried about the other magnolias. There are beautiful magnolias throughout the Bay Area, including Golden Gate Park (famous for its magnolias) and Filoli, as two of my favorite places. Of the two, Filoli is my favorite.

  3. The row of grand trees along the 18th Street side of Dolores Park are magnolias (magnolia grandiflora). In season, they have large white blossoms.