From the Other Side of the Forestry Office…
The care and maintenance of City trees is a core function of the Forestry Division. Over the past year, the Forestry Division received 5234 requests for tree inspections, plus an additional 4442 urgent calls for problems like broken or fallen branches. But who inspects the trees? Who dispatches the crews? And how does the system work? This article is mainly about the inspections; urgent calls are for another time.
Residents make inspection requests by calling 311, using 311 online or entering info in their smart phone. We advise people to use a phone and talk to a 311 operator. The operators are trained professionals who know the system. They ask the right questions and direct the information through the system to the right agency. This can significantly speed things up, and is more likely to get results.
The Forestry Division has the City divided into six areas, each “belongs to” an Urban Forester. The Urban Foresters sort the requests for their area, map routes, and visit each inspection site. If the tree is City owned, on a street right of way or parkland, and if it meets the criteria for maintenance work (including removal), a work order is created.
Tree posted for removal, note geo-coding and date
The work orders go to our General Foreman and the front desk. There, the work orders are prioritized and in their turn, assigned to a contractor or crew that performs the work. Finally, a quality assurance person checks to be sure the work has been done properly. When all is good, the completed work is recorded in our new Tree Inventory, and the order is closed.
An office reminder
Forestry gets the most calls between April and October. As soon as the trees leaf out in the spring, people start calling. When the wind and rain bend branches and rustle leaves, people call. People are outside more at this time of year, they see problems, and they call. This is also storm season. Trees can get damaged in high winds and are more susceptible to that damage when in leaf. Often at this time of year, the Forestry Division put other activities on hold so that inspections and maintenance work can be completed faster.
For next time, urgent service requests and addition work as assigned!
Gary Letteron, Urban Forester