Is This Legal? "Savvy Boutique" Breaks Out a Chainsaw <<<UPDATES>>>

NOB HILL--There is one less tree on Central Ave. this Monday morning.  Why?  Apparently because "Savvy Boutique at Nob Hill"  didn't like it and chopped it down on Sunday.  Savvy Boutique is about to open their store on the corner of Central and Wellesley NE, former site of "Objects of Desire."

The store windows are papered over announcing the store will be opening soon.  However late Sunday morning two workers were cutting down a tree in front of the store with a chainsaw.  The tree was growing in one of the "bulb-outs" that were added to the Central Ave streetscape by the city about ten years ago.  The trees, as well as ornamental grasses and flowers that grow in the bulb-outs, are regularly maintained.

Sunday Lumberjacks
That anybody would be cutting down a street tree on a Sunday morning is suspicious in itself.  In fact, it was my wife who came home after a walk with the news that someone was cutting down a city-owned tree.  And as we all know, those trees belong to ALL of us--the people of Albuquerque.  That a local business would chop one down was inconceivable to me.

However, MaryAnn had pictures.  One showed two men in front of the store.  One man was holding two branches in his arms.  The other, who appeared to be talking to him, had a red-handled chainsaw and was working on the stump.  The stump was all that was left of the tree.  Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

The age of the tree was the same as the one kitty-corner across the street--in front of Gertrude Zachary.  It was of a good size.  By the way, the tree that was cut down was the only tree on the north side of Central Ave. in the whole block.

What Tree?
I had to go down the street and see this for myself.  Well there was no tree in front of Savvy and no sign of one either:  no chips, no stump, no nothing.  I went around to the back of the store.  There was nothing in the dumpsters, nor any other sign of a tree or its removal.  Was there no evidence?  Nothing but a memory?  Nothing to even provoke a question?

I went back to the front of the store and scuffed the dirt away with my foot.  There it was:  The Stump!  It had been cut off level with the ground.  it was about a foot in diameter.

The Stump
That's all that is left of ten years of watering.  A community made a decision to plant and support this tree.  For ten years it withstood heat, cold, drought, and pedestrian abuse.  However, it could not survive the chainsaw attack of this Sunday morning.

Savvy?  Hardly.
Why was it done?  I guess it was going to interfere with a sign for Savvy.  Who knows?  But I will tell you this:  a Sunday morning chop job on a publicly owned tree does not speak well for any business. 

***Update!!!  Neal Copperman reports that Savvy's Facebook account has the following message:  "We apologize to those offended by the cutting of the tree outside of Savvy. We were unaware that the tree was going to be cut down. We will gladly be replanting a new tree!"

***Update!!!  By 2:00AM that message had disappeared from their Facebook page, but a couple of humorous comments referring to it remain.

***Update!!!  Edith Grove reports a new message on the Savvy Facebook page:

I would have never guessed that cutting down a tree would affect so many people but now that I see it does, I would like to offer my sincere apology, I am truly sorry.
The intentions were to help the visibility of a new locally owned store. I am sure that doesn’t make sense to you and I’m pretty sure whatever I say, to help explain my actions, wouldn’t. So again, I apologize for not thinking in depth, before acting.
In leu of restitution and in an attempt to try and make peace, I would like to offer to plant a new tree where ever you would like me to.
I will be honest and state that any message that does not come through a private message will not be taken seriously and will be erased. I do realize that I made a mistake and I hope my offer is sufficient, and I can assure you that this will never happen again, on our behalf.
Savvy Boutique

There are a lot of unanswered how could they have not known.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, a big Congratulations and Thank You are in order for the DCF community.  What an outpouring of concern.  Every tree still standing on a public right-of-way thanks you!  As do the birds and bees, the shade seekers, and those who like a more human-friendly place to live and shop.  Gracias.

Views: 13352

Comment by jesmc on January 21, 2013 at 6:53pm

311 has a Twitter account ( and if anyone has a non-protected acct (unfortunately, not me), tweeting them this story would be a good thing.

Comment by neal copperman on January 21, 2013 at 8:21pm

This showed upon the Savvy Facebook page a few hours ago:

"We apologize to those offended by the cutting of the tree outside of Savvy. We were unaware that the tree was going to be cut down. We will gladly be replanting a new tree!"
I'm still curious about the backstory on the tree removal though....
Comment by hettie on January 21, 2013 at 10:12pm

How do you hire someone with a chainsaw and then claim "we were unaware the tree was going to be cut down"?? Also, why was anyone other the city contacted to do anything to the tree? These people strike me as not at all savvy....

Comment by DancingWren on January 21, 2013 at 10:14pm
I'm thinking a nice memorial would be appropriate. Maybe a candle and a "ghost" tree branch. :)
Comment by happy girl on January 21, 2013 at 11:35pm

If it's illegal, that's one thing... but, please, people. It's a small tree. First world problems, for sure. Need something real to care about?

Comment by Cactus Flower on January 22, 2013 at 3:45am

Please make some noise about whoever did this. Indiscriminate cutting of city trees cannot be tolerated. There has been a huge decline in our urban canopy of trees. It's bad enough there are no ordinances against keeping dead trees standing on private property for years on end. Most urban centers demand basic upkeep of city lots. Personally, I remember looking across the street from Kelly's, admiring that specific tree. Whoever did this should have to pay for the replacement of a new tree as big or bigger than the one chopped down. And they should be held accountable for the survival of the new planting. Throw in some community service, maintaining the "bulb out" plantings for good measure.

Comment by Alex on January 22, 2013 at 7:44am
I emailed your link to the director of parks and rec. they will have to investigate as they are the ones who plant and maintain city trees.
Comment by Chris on January 22, 2013 at 8:07am

I sent the link to Rey Garduno hopefully he will comment soon. What they did was destruction of public property since their lot does not go to the curb I would imagine it only goes to their front door. This is something that a lot of people do not understand.

Comment by Cactus Flower on January 22, 2013 at 9:43am

Happy Girl, yes there are many "world problems" to solve. And maybe in a small way the cutting of this tree is a symptom of the problem. People in this country do whatever in Hell they please, if they get caught they deny first, blame the problem on others and offer a token solution that doesn't even come close to equalling the damage they perpetrated. Mortgage lenders, financial bailout, guns in closets that blast away innocent children. Curious how these world problems occur in our tiny village of Albuquerque.  

Comment by Aly Sanchez on January 22, 2013 at 9:59am

The google street view is from 2007, by the way--so it was much smaller at that point.


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