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Downed tree causing problems in east Tulsa

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 19:59:55-04

TULSA, Okla. — Off in the distance in this east Tulsa neighborhood, you'll find Pete Gelhar nearly every morning walking his dog.

"I've lived here 30 years, and I'm going to die here," Gelhar said.

So, when there's a problem in his neighborhood, he takes it personally, like this tree on city property blowing over during a storm almost three weeks ago. It's now blocking the sidewalk and much of the street.

Gelhar said he called the Mayor's Action Line for help removing the tree.

"It's just sitting there in the street," he said. "It's a one-way street. There's only one way in and out. It's hard to get out, and the tree is decomposing."

Neighbors said it causes not only a traffic obstacle but a potential danger too for curious kids who may try to climb on the deteriorating branches that are ready to snap.

That's why a week later, Gelhar said he called the action line again when he was told the city had been hacked, and it was hard to communicate with other city departments.

READ MORE: City of Tulsa working to restore online services after ransomware attack

"They wanted me to call around," he said. "I called the Mayor's Action Line, and they wanted me to start calling around. I said, 'It's the action line, take action. It's you guys, and nobody's been out. Other people have called. Nobody's been out.'"

That's when neighbors called the Problem Solvers and we brought their situation to the city's attention. Within hours, crews were out removing the tree, at least the parts that were blocking the sidewalk and much of the street. For now, neighbors said that's what matters until crews get time to clean up the rest of the tree.

In this east Tulsa case, it was a tree from a city park. So, the city was responsible for cleaning it up. If a property owner's tree falls onto a neighbor's property, the owner would have to remove it. But if that property owner's tree falls onto a sidewalk or street, the city will clean that up since it's a public safety issue.

As far as reporting problems to the city, you can call 311 or use the free Tulsa 311 app. You can report problems online through the City of Tulsa.

But the city warns it's still catching up on requests after the recent ransomware attack that shut down many city systems. If you have difficulty getting through using 311, they ask if it's not an emergency, try to be patient, and keep trying back.

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