Wanna fight city hall?
Maybe the best tool is your car.
Mayor Jim Suttle called a halt Friday to tree cutting along State Street after an Omaha woman used her Nissan to block crews from doing the work.
Suttle visited the site near 65th and State Streets late in the day and was upset by the number of downed trees. The trees were cut down so a house could be moved next week.
The mayor rescinded the contractor's permit application — in effect placing the moving of the house on hold, said Aida Amoura, his spokeswoman.
Suttle concluded that the tree cutting “far exceeded the scope'' of the permit granted to the contractor, Amoura said, and that too many trees had been destroyed.
She said the mayor had not talked to the woman who blocked the tree crew, though she indicated other neighbors had complained, too.
Amoura said she did not know how many trees had been cut down. The city intends to send foresters to the area Monday to assess the situation.
The tree saga began earlier Friday when a woman in her Nissan stopped the workers from cutting down several trees along a picturesque, canopied stretch of State Street.
Carolyn Johnson, 49, said she was driving along State Street between 60th and 72nd Streets when she spotted an AALL About Trees crew cutting down several trees on the north side of the road.
Johnson, who lives in the nearby Raven Oaks neighborhood, said she pulled her Nissan off the road and blocked the crew from taking out additional trees.
“I didn't know what else to do,'' said Johnson, described by her husband, Kurt, as an activist. “So I stopped them. They were cutting down dozens and dozens of trees.
“One of the guys (on the crew) said, ‘Ma'am, please get out of the way or someone will get hurt.' I told him, 'I'm not pulling out of here until the city gets here.' ''
Later, Brook Bench, the city's Parks and Recreation director, told The World-Herald that both the tree contractor and homeowner had the correct permits in hand.
Bench said the contractor was removing trees that were a hazard and posed an obstacle to moving the house.
He said the homeowner apparently underestimated how much room would be needed to swing the 48-foot-wide house onto the street, forcing the contractor to remove some elms and cottonwoods. He said it's possible new trees would be planted in their place.
The ranch house is supposed to be moved on Tuesday by Scrib's Moving & Heavy Hauling of David City, Neb.
The house, headed for the Fort Calhoun area, is situated at about 65th and State Streets. The plan was to move it west on State Street and then north on 72nd Street.
James Richart, the tree contractor, said the crew stopped working at the request of the city's forester, John Wynn, who was called to the scene by Johnson.
Richart said his crew's efforts were praised by some.
“We had probably three or four people stop and say we were doing the right thing by helping move that house,'' he said.
The trees being cut down were mainly on the north side of State Street between 65th and 70th Streets.
The house is to be moved on 18-foot-wide dollies on the 18-foot-wide road.
“Ultimately, the house has to go up that road,'' Richart said. “If we could shrink that house, I wish we could.''
Johnson said she had a better method for solving the dilemma.
“You can cut the house in half to move it'' instead of downing mature trees, she said.
“People move to this part of the city for the trees,'' Johnson added. “It's peaceful and quiet.''
Contact the writer: