Supporters to rally Sunday at the ‘Taco Bell’ heritage oak tree

November 16, 2013   // 10 Comments

tacotreeweb

By Bobbie Jean Sawyer

AUSTIN –       Supporters of the historic “Taco Bell” oak tree at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and William Cannon will hold a rally from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, to help save the landmark heritage oak.

The tree, which stands in the way of TxDOT’s street renovations at William Cannon, was temporarily saved by an outpouring of public support. The community was given until Dec. 31 to relocate the tree, if possible.

Andrea Street, an Oak Hill resident who’s been a champion for the tree ever since learning of its shaky fate, is an organizer for the event. Street said volunteers would be handing out flyers, carrying signs and collecting donations for a $3,000 feasibility study to determine whether the tree is able to be transplanted.

Street said the goal of the event is to inform Oak Hill residents that the tree is in danger.

“If people don’t want to donate they’re going to get a flyer to help get the word out,” Street said.

Austin Heritage Tree Foundation received a $59,000 grant from the city to relocate the historic tree, leaving the community with roughly $30,000 to raise. Austin Heritage Tree Foundation director Michael Fossum said the foundation has received about $1,000 toward the $3,000 needed to cover the feasibility study. The foundation has also received a donation in-kind from organic gardener and owner of the Natural Gardener, John Dromgoole, who’s agreed to supply mulch and other supplies needed for the tree’s aftercare.

Fossum said he’s already conducted an excavation of the root crown, the knobby roots located around the trunk of the tree that help maintain a tree’s sturdiness.

Fossum said the root crown contains some fill-in material that was likely used by a previous developer.

“A lot of times the developers or the engineers will go in and put fill-in over dirt, or rocks and debris, in order to build the ground up to the height they need for the road or building,” Fossum said. “We have to do some more investigation to verify that the tree is indeed transplantable. But what we’ve found so far doesn’t rule that out.”

Fossum said the foundation’s goal is to have the feasibility study completed by the end of this week.

It’s still unclear where the tree would be placed if relocated. Clint Small Middle School has requested to have the tree placed on its campus, where it would be cared for as part of curriculum for Green Tech Academy, environmental courses designed to help students develop a connection with nature through hands-on learning. But Fossum said moving the tree 1.8 miles to the middle school could prove to be too great a challenge.

“There are some physical limitations that may preclude that,” said Fossum, referring in part to the power lines and streetlights that make it difficult for the tree to pass under.

Fossum said a more viable location for the tree might be the area near the Shell station on Hwy. 290, just across the highway from where it’s currently located.

To donate to the fund to save the Taco Bell tree:

Send a check to the Austin Parks Foundation at 507 Calles Street, Ste. 116 Austin, TX 78702 (Write Austin Heritage Tree Foundation—Taco Bell Tree on the memo line.)

Donate by phone by calling 512-477-1566 (ext. 1) (Specify that the donation is for the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation—Taco Bell tree, and email Michael Fossum at mfossum@austin.rr.com with the name of the donor and amount of the donation).

Donate online at austinparks.org/adopter-donations.html. Click on the Austin Heritage Tree Foundaiton box and emailmfossum@austin.rr.com with the name of donor and amount of the donation.

For more information on local heritage trees visit austinheritagetreefoundation.com.

To donate to the fund to save the Taco Bell tree:

Send a check to the Austin Parks Foundation at 507 Calles Street, Ste. 116 Austin, TX 78702 (Write Austin Heritage Tree Foundation—Taco Bell Tree on the memo line.)

Donate by phone by calling 512-477-1566 (ext. 1) (Specify that the donation is for the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation—Taco Bell tree and email Michael Fossum at mfossum@austin.rr.com with the name of the donor and amount of the donation).

Or donate online at austinparks.org/adopter-donations.html. Click on the Austin Heritage Tree Foundaiton box and email mfossum@austin.rr.com with the name of donor and amount of the donation.

For more information on local heritage trees visit austinheritagetreefoundation.com.


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10 COMMENTS

  1. By Jeff M., October 21, 2013

    I love the Oak trees of my neighborhood as much as anyone, but BURN DOWN THIS F’ING TREE AND EXPAND 290!!! How much more damage is being done to Oak Hill from all of the idling cars stuck in traffic? Build an overpass already to get the traffic moving.

    Reply
    • By allmaya, November 17, 2013

      Jeff, you obviously didn’t read the story. Whether the tree is moved or cut down has ZERO effect on whether the improvements will be built.

      Reply
      • By Dan, December 17, 2013

        Ummm. You need to read the story! The tree, which stands in the way of TxDOT’s street renovations at William Cannon, was temporarily saved by an outpouring of public support. The community was given until Dec. 31 to relocate the tree, if possible. So, it does play a part in the process of the improvements!!

        Reply
  2. By Frederick Tabares, October 23, 2013

    I teach at Clint Small Middle School not too far from the Legacy Tree and I’m a member of the school’s Green Technology Committee. I have brought this situation up to my peers and we would like to get involved in any way we can and that includes the possibility of relocating this tree to our campus. All of the flora and fauna on the grounds of CSMS have been placed their as a result of our “Green” classes like Introduction to Science, Green Growing, and Texas Native Plants and Animals.

    I know action on this matter will take place in the next three weeks but if we can contribute in anyway and there’s anyone reading this article that can guide us in the right direction please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via our school’s website.

    Reply
    • By michael, November 10, 2013

      Please, go to http://www.austinheritagetreefoundation.com and donate to save this tree. A fund is setup for this tree at the Austin Parks Foundation (specify that it is for the Taco Bell tree/Austin Heritage Tree Foundation). The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation is leading this effort and working with TXDot and the City of Austin to transplant this heritage tree. Even though moving the tree to the school would be great for the tree and the kids, the farther the tree has to travel on a trailer, the more expensive the move is. We will ask for a bid but we think, based on our experience, that it will cost much more to take the tree to the school, if it is possible at all. Regardless of the final location, please help save this tree.

      Reply
  3. By Nate Rosenberg, October 23, 2013

    We are interested in becoming the new location for the “Taco Bell” tree. We have the resources to take care of the tree. We are less than 2 miles away. We have already advertised to try and solicit donations. We are trying to set up an account to receive even more donations. Is there anyone we can get in contact with outside of this article?

    Reply
  4. By jim meadows, October 28, 2013

    Dear folks, go to the Facebook site of SAM [South Austin Memories] and look at “Taco Bell Tree” site and enjoy what your story is causing.

    Reply
  5. By Tree can not go, January 31, 2014

    we don’t need a highway enough to kill a 130 year old tree

    Reply
  6. By kate jones, January 31, 2014

    tree can’t go

    Reply
  7. By Sarah, February 20, 2014

    I agree with Jeff. Get rid of this tree and let road work begin as soon as possible.

    If it can be saved, great. If the necessary money can’t be raised to save it, cut it down.

    Reply

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