Nearly 200 concerned residents arrived before dawn Monday as a standoff between locals and Pacific Gas and Electric Company over trees slated for removal.
Organizers called out the cavalry, bringing in a crowd to Oroville Cemetery as activists struggle to save a condemned stand of mature street trees. The trees, about a century and a quarter old, are set to be removed by PG&E as part of a pipeline safety projected prompted by a deadly natural gas transmission line explosion in San Bruno in 2010.
PG&E has embarked on an ambitious program involving identifying and removing trees believed to present a safety risk, but activists say it's an over-reaction by a company responding to potential liability.
The morning proved anti-climactic. Tree crews expected to appear and take down the last nine of 240 Oroville trees never appeared.
Bill Bynum, a spokesman for the group, Save Oroville Trees, said the trees were already 80 years old when the pipeline was installed in 1969. He said the shade and beauty of the mature trees shouldn't be lost because of bad decisions made decades ago. PG&E maintains that the trees are a safety issue.