50 photos showing the dangers of Detroit’s pervasive dead trees

Tree collapsed on the 4000 block of Pennsylvania on Detroit’s east side. All photos by Steve Neavling.

Tens of thousands of dead and decaying trees are standing or leaning in Detroit, waiting to fall on power lines, cars, streets, garages and houses.

When 60 mph wind gusts tore through the city on March 8, thousands of trees fell; some of them landed on power lines, leading to the largest outbreak of fires since at least 2010.

Dead ash trees are pervasive in Detroit after they were decimated by the emerald ash borer in the early 2000s. Towering dead elm trees also are pervasive.

Until last year, the city largely ignored the dead trees because of budget restraints. But last year, the city began removing 3,000 dead trees and plans to cut down another 3,000 by year’s end.

DTE Energy is responsible for trees within 10 feet of a power line. In many areas, power lines are crowded by dead trees. The energy company insists it doesn’t have enough money to clear the trees.

This week, Motor City Muckraker toured two sections of the east side that were hit hard by the wind-fueled fires. Here’s what we found.

Motor City Muckraker is an independent watchdog funded by donations. To help us cover more stories like this, please consider a small contribution.

8000 block of Goethe
4000 block of Pennsylvania
4000 block of Seyburn
4000 block of Galster
Lambert St.
2000 block of E. Alexandrine.
3000 block of Garland
7000 block of Lambert
5000 block of Canton
5000 block of Sheridan
3000 block of Luden
2000 block of Hendrie
2000 block of Hendrie
A dead piece of wood rests on a power line on the east side.
This is a typical alley where trees crowd power lines.

A downed power line two weeks after the wind storm on Detroit’s east side.
5000 block of Lillibridge
Lillibridge near E. Warren.
9000 block of Sylvester
9000 block of Sylvester
4000 block of Belvidere
3000 block Belvidere
Forest & Townsend
9000 block of Sylvester
9000 block of Sylvester
9000 block of Sylvester
8000 block of E. Canfield
7000 block of E. Canfield
7000 block of Sylvester
6000 block of Pulford
4000 block of Holcomb
4000 block of Holcomb
4000 block of Rohns
4000 block of Belvidere
3000 block of Townsend
3000 block of Sheridan
3000 block of Townsend
3000 block of Townsend
3000 block of Baldwin
3000 block of Harding
3000 block of Pennslyvania
8000 block of E. Warren
7000 block of E. Canfield
5000 block of Cadillac
5000 block of Bewick
5000 block of Bewick
4000 block of Pennsylvania
3000 block of Pennsylvania

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.