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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense
UC Could Try to Remove Redwood Grove in March
UC Berkeley is planning to cut down a grove of 16 redwood trees as soon as March. The redwood trees behind Soda Hall, on Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue are going to be replaced with the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, a privately funded tech design lab paid for by the CEO and Chairperson of the Board of Qualcomm Paul Jacobs. Qualcomm has representation on the UC Regents, through Sherry Lansing, who is both a regent and on the Qualcomm board of directors.
The redwood trees targeted by Qualcomm and the UC are in good health, and are faring well through the California drought. The university has claimed that the trees are "not doing well", but that is not the truth.
The city of Berkeley (Mayor Tom Bates) has issued a statement claiming that the trees are blocking the sidewalk on Ridge Road, but the trees are offset from the sidewalk, and are not leaning into the sidewalk as to cause any obstruction to pedestrians. The branches that overhang the Ridge Road sidewalk are far enough overhead that pedestrians can walk underneath them with ease.
The building is unpopular, with the majority of residents, students and faculty wanting the trees to stay. However the UC regents and Qualcomm are ignoring the majority opinion of preserving the grove.