ST. LOUIS — A west St. Louis Resident has been fighting for three years to get the St. Louis Forestry Department to cut down a city owned tree in front of her house on Waterman Street.

The City inspected the tree in 2020 said it was dead and would be taken down in six to nine months. The tree is still standing three years later.

“I’m just disheartened and disappointed. I’m at a road block. I’ve talked to everyone that I can from the superintendent on up to the mayor’s office and the buck just keeps getting passed,” said Olivia Pruitt-Payne.

Pruitt-Payne worries about the tree falling on her house in a storm. She’s had some real reminders of the dangers along the way.

“My son is hearing impaired and one day we were walking out the door and a tree fell behind him, and he didn’t know it. I heard it,” said Pruitt-Payne.

Pruitt-Payne told Elliott Davis that wasn’t the only incident, “In the last severe windstorm, it hit the shingles right on the first landing. They came out and removed the tree because it was blocking my stairs. I couldn’t get out. They removed the tree but when I contacted their legal office, they did an assessment, saying they were not liable.”

After she called the You Paid For It Team, Elliott Davis got on the casem calling the Forestry Commissioner.

Elliott got back this email from Forestry Commissioner Alan Jankowski saying:

Mr. Davis,

This tree was on our schedule last week. Let me see where we are on the tree at Watermann Ave.

Thank you,


A week after Elliott got that email the Forestry Department cut down the tree that had been on the waiting list for three years.

Right now, part of the problem is a staff shortage at the Forestry Department. That keeps them from quickly getting to as many of the city’s own trees that need cutting down.

Olivia is just relieved that the tree in front of her home is finally down

“I think the fact that it was brought to the public’s attention; that’s the only thing I can think of. I’ve been contacting numerous people and been at it since 2020. I think having your name, your position, to contact them and have a little bit more accountability. I am relieved. I am ecstatic. I’m grateful literally a huge three-year wait has been lifted,” said Pruitt-Payne.