‘I’m worried somebody is going to get hurt’: Montrose neighbors plead with city of Houston to remove tree with falling limbs

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – The city of Houston to put cones or barricades around a tree in a Montrose neighbor before a contractor removes it.

For the better part of a year, the property owners called 311 trying to get it removed after limbs began to fall.

“I’m worried somebody is going to get hurt,” said Eric Williams. “Something significant is going to happen. This is a really big risk, so we’re getting worried.”

Property co-owners Eric Williams and Staci Passe had to put up a sign on the tree to prevent people from parking around it.

“It’s like we’re chicken little waiting for the sky to fall,” Passe said. “We would just like to see some action.”

A few weeks ago, their neighbor, Peter Healy’s truck was hit, despite parking across the street.

“Oh, very noticeable,” Healy said. “It didn’t put it out of action, but it did make it less a beauty queen than it was before.”

Haley shared a cellphone video showing a large dent on the hood of this truck.

“Soon as there’s a bit of wind or thunderstorm, you know something’s going to come down,” said Haley. “Yeah, it definitely makes me weary.”

The city’s 311 database shows the first service request was in June of 2021. Williams and Passe said the 311 employees were always friendly. At one point, they said the department stated the tree had been removed when it wasn’t.

“It seems like there were some miscommunications inter-departmentally with them. They believed the request had been taken care of, (but) it had not,” Passe said.

As of July 26, the 311 databases said a contractor was notified of the removal.

The Urban Forestry Manager Jeremy Burkes said the contractor crew went out to the neighborhood twice, but each time there was a vehicle was parked either in front of the tree or adjacent to it. Burkes said this prevented the crew from working.

The tree is in council member Abbie Kamin’s district. Her team believes last year’s freeze and the current drought played a role in the increasing number of dead or dying trees.

“The freeze, among other challenges, including now the current drought, have created an increased risk of dead or dying trees in our city. As we work closely with departments and neighborhoods to address these issues, Council Member Kamin continues to speak out about the need for greater tree and forestry protection that includes supporting both residents and the department in the midst of higher demand and staffing shortages,” Kamin’s team said.

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