Monday, December 5, 2011

One of Many

Walking through Garfield Park yesterday was a complete shock. Our shady central oasis is considerably less shady, with at least six trees toppled, awaiting the chainsaw and wood chipper.

Yes, many of the park's trees still stand. (This one is fine.) For that, I am glad. But with each passing day, I find another landscape dramatically changed and it's starting to wear down my nerves. The tree in this picture crashed right on top of the picnic table where Little Bit and I loved to have after school snacks. It's unsettling and creepy and sad.

I think it will take me a while to process the loss of so many San Gabriel Valley trees. (The loss of these were bad enough.) Maybe it will be easier when things get cleaned up. I've never been one for viewing open caskets, and seeing all these fallen trees feels a little bit like staring at corpses. I'd rather remember them as they were, and celebrate the ones still standing.

Our power finally came back on yesterday, but I know many South Pas residents are still hunkered down in the cold. For updates, check the Southern California Edison map here, and Patch updates here.

24 comments:

Judy Williams said...

Maybe the next photo will be of twinkling holiday lights through your window, now that the power is back on. I don't know if I can bear to see another downed hero. I feel like I'm looking at war coverage. So sad.

Michelle said...

Got power back yesterday. I'm sad to see that The park was hit hard. I haven't been over there yet.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your feelings about our beautiful trees. I live near the park and for some reason I expected those trees to be intact. I don't know why.

Many of us over here still have no power. My husband and I have been sleeping at my husband's office in Pasadena. Even with a fireplace at home it gets so cold overnight.

Trish said...

it is sad to venture out after a large event and see the destruction outside of your little circle of life into the larger circle of life. Garfield has some wonderful trees that have been there longer than any of us chatting here.

I keep seeing the trees down and keep thinking of how to replant so many...when something popped up in an ad--Arbor Day is 27 April. By then, the toughest of the winter storms should be over and planting should be in full swing. Replant as many trees (or more) that came down. Maybe they won't be the grand trees we enjoyed during our lifetimes, but Little Bit's children should enjoy some great shade.

wv: shadelati...a latte in the shade, oh to hope Little Bit's kids and grandkids can enjoy a latte in the shade at Garfield

alex said...

it's difficult sometimes to be the city of trees. glad your power is back.

CafePasadena said...

Glad So Pasa finally has its electricity. I think after man & woman, nature is natures natural enemy.

dbdubya said...

Been out of town a few days to go meet the new granddaughter. We got to see some of the damage in Pasadena and Glendale, but not South Pasadena. The closest thing I can recall was a horrendous windstorm about the same time of year about 15 years ago. Some areas lost power for days - I had it back in about a day and a half.

I've noticed a lot of criticism of SCE on Patch. Let me give my two cents worth. The utility companies cannot afford to have sufficient people to handle an emergency like this. You couldn't afford it. My ex-brother-in-law is retired from LA DWP. When they would have a major wind incident, everyone dropped their regular jobs and began repair work. They all worked 16 hour days until it was back to normal. When necessary, like now, they bring in crews from neighboring areas. That's what Edison and the other crews are doing. But, many areas of the State were hit hard, so the crews are stretched thin everywhere. That's little comfort to those who have no power, but if you get a chance, thank them for doing the best they can.

As for the non-native trees contributing to the problem, it should be noted that many native trees came down too. Sycamores and Oaks were hit hard. Some of the Eucalyptus and Pines have been here for generations. This is not a tree problem, but a wind problem combined with inadequate trimming and perhaps overwatering.

We get frequent power outages here and when it's 15 degrees outside, it's more critical to have heat. That's why I bought a portable generator that sits on the back porch.

WV: distime - Dis time, we didn't get as much wind as you did.

Laurie said...

Oh, DB. How I miss your calm, reason and good sense. We really miss you in South Pas. No matter what happened when you were here, you'd make all of us feel safe and informed.

Wish Jon and Little Bit and I could have seen you guys!

Laurie said...

Btw DB, I haven't checked on your favorite towering tree south of Huntington. Afraid to look.

Still LOTS of people hurting and w/I power. Wish we could subcontract Pasadena Water And Power.

Green Guy said...

Ditto Laurie's sentiments DbDubya. My family misses your leadership a great deal.

Anonymous said...

Still no power in much of the Altos. I'm worried about an earthquake situation and whether we would just be out of power for weeks. Isn't the sewage here moved with electric pumps?

I agree with you Laurie about Pasadena's power company. They got everything back so fast.

dbdubya said...

Thanks, for your comments Laurie. Let me know how my favorite tree is doing. While the loss of trees is indeed sad, it's good to know no one was seriously injured. Looking at the damage to some houses, it's fortunate that no one died.

Mister Earl said...

DBW - I agree. There have been a lot comments on Patch blaming SCE for everything people can think of, and it doesn't seem reasonable or fair.

Another problem with the trees is that many of them are in spaces (i.e. next to sidewalks) where the roots don't have enough room. Others are on lawns where they get too much water from the surface, and the roots don't go deep enough. On the other hand, we don't get 80-90 mph very often.

Laurie said...

Interesting Patch article regarding LA County Supervisor calling on SCE to expidite service restoration and provide more information.

http://southpasadena.patch.com/articles/l-a-supervisor-calls-on-edison-to-expedite-power-restoration

I agree that SCE was woefully inept at informing people about estimates. We couldn't get any info for 3 days, other than "currently no estimate." I think a lot of frustration could be alieviated by a better spokesperson out in front of cameras and giving updates every day. Then again, much of my background is advertising and PR.

I think of how Guiliani calmed the nerves of New Yorkers after 911. We can and will endure hardship if we feel like the people in charge actually care, are on the level with us and aren't just making excuses.

I also find it amusing that those who got power back quickly are praising SCE. Of course! It's all relative. 5 days in the cold and dark with rotten food? Can't expect people to be cheery.

I agree about the miracle that nobody died. Have talked to several with near misses. Almost like the Pagans were right and the spirit of trees protect us. :-)

Laurie said...

And no, blog trolls, I am NOT comparing this to 911!

Trish said...

Glad power is coming back for some. I find it ironic that the Altos power is mostly underground and yet, still had major issues. Decades ago we were told that power would be maintained easier because of the underground wiring. Guess restoring it isn't as easy as just stringing a new line...oh, wait, it really is.

Haven't read the Patch stuff, sounds like I'd rather steer clear. From reports I've heard, it sounds like info just isn't being conveyed to customers (well, let's see, no power, wonder how folks will get the info after days and days). I know there aren't 80-100mph winds often, and this incident was abnormal. However, it was NOT unexpected (we were warned 5 days in advance here in NorCal that this was coming), so unlike a quake, SCE could have called in personnel to be staged before the event, rather than, as it seems, waiting until afterwards and being so vastly overwhelmed, then taking days to get some crews in. Not knocking the crews for getting miracles done, am knocking the lack of preparedness and forethought---ironically, by the folks who warn you to be prepared. Not saying it is easy, but seems to be another expression of a weak link in SCE's preparedness.

btw, eucalyptus trees are not native to CA, despite how many of them we have. They are the bane of some folks existence, including power companies.

Mister Earl said...

Neither SCE, nor anybody else, had any idea of what the extent of the damage would be. Yes, we knew there would be winds, but we had no idea tree would come down. If that was the case, we should have been warned to evacuate areas with tall trees.

It is not realistic for SCE to stage crews before they know what's going to happen and where. Even in hurricane country we don't know exactly where they will hit or how hard. There are certain things that are just going to happen, and we can prepare only so much.

Laurie said...

Texas hurricanes and tornafoes have caused far more widespread power outages than this, as have east coast nor'easters and blizzards. Usually the power is restored more quickly with lots and lots of press presence by power company officials. SCE's website was not sufficient as MANY people do not have smart phones, including my elderly neighbor with cancer who asked me if I knew anything because there were no reports on the radio.

I applaud the efforts of all the SCE workers going full steam to fix problems but there was a live, arcing downed line on Columbia for 2 days. People should have been told what to do and not just by an interactive web map that mostly said "currently being determined."

Many people who fled to hotels would have appreciated more long view estimates to help plan how long to stay. Also, people like my elderly neighbor must be considered in emergencies, with outlets like KNX radio kept in the loop for power restoration estimates. Of course this was a big, unexpected mess. But I've seen storms far mor damaging in other places handled far better do I know there is room for vast improvement.

We know that we sit on the edge of a great earthquake here. Any utility company should have a better alert and information system in place in my opinion. I hope SCE will learn from this, just as we all have discovered that emergency preparedness is trickier than we thought.

Laurie said...

Btw: I got a battery powered 300 Lumen lantern at OSH today. We found the darkness to be particularly daunting with most small lanterns and flashlights barely giving light. Since candles, oil lamps and torches are no-nos in wind and earthquake situations, it's nice to find a strong light source that runs on plain batteries and not a rechargeable that would be useless in another major power outage.

Also, ThinkGeek has solar cell phone chargers. If a car is damaged, we couldn't use it to plug on the iPhone.

Anyone else with nifty gadgets, feel free to post.

dbdubya said...

I purchased a 3500 watt generator from Cabela's for $319. It sits on the back deck and is powerful enough to run the pellet stove (or FAU), a couple of lights and refrigerator. We haven't had to use it yet, but if we get a multi-day power outage in the middle of a blizzard, it will definitely be worth every bit of what I paid for it.

Jason said...

I agree, Laurie. The lack of information was ridiculous. I'm from Florida. I've seen thousands upon thousands of homes restored in a few days, with many crews from neighboring utilities pitching in and officials checking door to door. No excuse here. Sorry. We are earthquake country here.

Jason

Michelle said...

I purchased a solar charging flashlight from OSH. I always manage to use the batteries in my earthquake kit!

Mister Earl said...

Good idea about strong battery-powered lamps. Living with flashlights, just didn't quite cut it.

TheChieftess said...

So sorry you all have had to experience such a long period without power...interesting that wind is now one of the alternative sources of power...yet look at the loss of power in it's wake...