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Oakland Scrambles To Clean Up Downed Trees, Debris After Storm

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Visitors take pictures and marvel at a huge eucalyptus tree toppled by the wind at Oakland's Lake Merritt.

Visitors take pictures and marvel at a huge eucalyptus tree toppled by the wind at Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland city officials have received more than 190 calls for assistance with fallen trees and branches and other debris this morning following Thursday night’s wind storm.

Following a night of high winds that knocked out power and felled trees around the Bay Area, especially in the North Bay and East Bay, public works crews are scrambling to assess the damage and prioritize responses, city officials said Friday.

One of the trees the wind took down was a massive 100-year-old eucalyptus outside the Lake Chalet restaurant near Lake Merritt.

“How sad. Just really sad. It’s a little piece of history right here in Oakland,” Oakland resident Faith Reber told KPIX 5.

“It was just amazing to see the roots and just how big it is,” said Craig Retchin, also of Oakland. “I guess that wind was really powerful.”

Onlookers snapped pictures, and children climbed the downed trunk like a jungle gym. Public works officials said the eucalyptus near Lake Merritt will take several days to clean up.

Near Piedmont Avenue, a downed tree came perilously close to falling on Starr Saunders’ home. “I’m just hoping every step of the way that they can fix it… and it doesn’t fall on my house,” she told KPIX 5.

The tree became ensnared in the power lines, where it was cradled for hours. Saunders and her neighbors were stuck without electricity wile PG&E tried to figure out what to do. Crews finally resorted to carefully cutting the tree.

Public works crews will respond to the most urgent calls for help first and work their way through the rest of the requests for service, officials said.

Overtime and standby crews went on duty yesterday and worked through the night, and more staff were called Friday to help with debris cleanup and tree trimming.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to clean up debris promptly and to call the city for assistance where needed. Clearing storm drains of accumulated leaves before the next rain would also be a good idea to help prevent flooding, officials said.

Those requiring city assistance can call (510) 615-5566 or email pwacallcenter@oaklandnet.com, or go online to gismaps.oaklandnet.com/srwebsite/ServiceType.aspx or go to the mobile app seeclickfix.com/Oakland.

Power outages should be reported directly to PG&E.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.)

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