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City owned tree damages woman's fence, but she won't get help paying for a fix

Colorado Springs Forestry staff get roughly 200 calls a month about tree issues
City owned tree damages woman's fence, but she won't get help paying for a fix
Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 18, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — Trees add to the beauty and character of so many of our neighborhoods in Colorado Springs. City foresters are trying to manage roughly 150,000 street trees across the city. Sometimes these trees can break or fall causing damage at nearby homes and getting the city to help pay for repairs isn’t always an easy request.

In the Old Colorado City neighborhood in Colorado Springs the streets are shaded by a canopy of colorful trees. Some of the trees lining the street belong to the city. One longtime homeowner says she's in a dilemma after a large portion of one of the trees came crashing down near her home.

”I was sitting on my back deck and all of a sudden I heard a crack and I went to the front and there was a tree laying across my fence, which obviously came from the city’s tree. I looked up and you could see where the branch had broken off,” said Colorado Springs homeowner Marie Mueller.

Mueller has lived in this Old Colorado City neighborhood for two decades and says the timing of this disaster couldn’t of come at a worse time.

”My husband passed away about a year ago and suddenly the money stopped, everything stopped. I’m on social security so the funds are limited,” said Mueller.

Once the tree was removed– she was left with this mangled fence– unsure of how to handle the situation she reached out to news5 to find out what to do next.

”I’ve always been a responsible homeowner and I want to continue to be,” said Mueller.

As the fence sits in disarray, News5 helped Mueller file a claim with the city’s risk management office. Unfortunately for her, the city’s tree experts say in this situation the city won’t be providing money for a fix.

”If we don’t know about the tree and we don’t know there’s a risk that needs to be taken care of and a branch like in this particular case fell out of the tree, those darn Siberian Elms will do that, and the tree looks pretty good and it falls and damages a fence or a car or whatever then risk management says no that’s an act of nature that’s not our fault we don’t take care of that,” said Colorado Springs City Forester Dennis Will.

Mueller is not alone in facing the challenges of having a city tree near her property. The 15 employees on staff at the Colorado Springs Forestry Office are always busy with these types of concerns and things will only pick up during the next few months.

”Typically we’ll get 100 to 200 phone calls a month and of course that’s a lot different during the spring and winter storms that we have,” said Will.

Mueller says she’s going to see if she can get help from her insurance company to make the fix and she’s urging neighbors to keep an eye on the city’s trees to try to stay one step ahead of a situation like hers.

”Take care of some of this because the only other option is to remove the trees and that’s not a good option,” said Mueller.

News5 understands some of our other viewers may find themselves in similar situations with city trees near their properties. Here are some important links and contact information to help you out.

Colorado Springs Forestry Office Website:

https://coloradosprings.gov/forestry

Phone Number: (719) 385-5942

Office Address:

1401 Recreation Way

Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Colorado Springs Risk Management 

(To file a damage claim from a city tree)

Phone: 719-385-5960

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