Destabilized trees threaten several buildings on University Avenue

Updated 8/25/18: This article has been updated to reflect additional information  from city manager Dee Williams-Ridley.

Updated 8/24/18: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from city spokesperson Matthai Chakko.

City staff members are currently responding to an “imminent hazard” at University Avenue and McGee Avenue, according to an email from Berkeley City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley to City Council members.

Several large trees have been destabilized at a construction site on University Avenue, Williams-Ridley said in the email. The trees pose a threat to surrounding buildings, including a preschool and a children’s art camp.

Williams-Ridley said in a later email that the construction manager had confirmed a “tree specialist” to assess the site and plan for the trees’ removal.

Williams-Ridley’s initial email stated that the at-risk buildings were being evacuated to Ohlone Park, and police and fire personnel had shut down the construction site. City spokesperson Matthai Chakko later added that three residential units and seven commercial units had been fully evacuated, and said the evacuation may last up to 48 hours.

Chakko added that the city reached out to those living in neighboring residential units to confirm that they understood the danger and had proper living accommodations.

The North Berkeley Senior Center has been established as an evacuation center, according to Williams-Ridley, and city staff is working with the Red Cross to care and provide shelter for evacuees. No one has been injured, Chakko said.

“Our concern was for the safety for the people who are working there and also for the people who are living or had their businesses nearby,” Chakko said.

All roads that were closed to traffic have since reopened, according to a Nixle alert released at 7:25 p.m. A hotline has been set up for evacuees and affected stakeholders at (510) 981-2489.

Check back for updates.

Anjali Shrivastava is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.