April 2, 2024
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Our view: Two Trees preservation wonderful for Ventura


Concerned citizens, community advocates and one of Ventura County’s emerging power couples has made an impressive effort to preserve the city of Ventura’s iconic “Two Trees” hilltop gathering place.

On Earth Day, Rich and Bonnie Atmore led a volunteer effort to plant a new eucalyptus tree to begin the process of replacing one of the trees that’s visible from the coast and become an integral image of the city for generations of residents. As well documented on social media, about 100 people stopped by for the planting and celebration.

The tree that is being replaced was originally planted in the late 1890s and years ago died from old age, drought and vandalism. The new tree will create a stand of three trees until the trustees of a newly formed land trust can figure out what to do with the dead tree and how to preserve the site for the next century.

Until recently it hasn’t been exactly legal to climb up to the Two Trees site. But all of that changed last fall when the Rancho San Buenaventura Land Trust acquired 860 acres from Lloyd Properties, including one of the trees. The trust is in the process of acquiring an additional 750 acres that will preserve the rest of the site and create open space for future generations of Ventura residents.

Kudos to Rich, a longtime rancher, and his wife Bonnie, whose day job is president and CEO of Ventura County FoodShare. They are the founding trustees of the Rancho San Buenaventura Land Trust and their efforts will pay dividends for generations to come.

Their effort coincidentally comes as the city of Ventura wraps up celebrations for its 150th anniversary. Preservation of Two Trees is a great way for the city of Ventura to enter its 151st year.


Lon Morton had dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball pitcher but he found his best stuff in the field of finance.

Beginning in the early 1980s, his Morton Capital Management pioneered the field of alternative assets, looking for ways to find relatively safe havens for wealthy investors who wanted diversification in a time of falling interest rates.

His Calabasas-based company, which regularly made Barron’s Top Advisor lists and had more than $1.5 billion in assets, flourished as investors looked for real estate and other assets that would provide stable income and preserve capital.

Morton and his wife Rocky were devoted to philanthropy, especially in Ventura County. He was a major donor to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley and was a trustee of the CSU Channel Islands Foundation.

Recently, he secured funding for a Grossman Imaging Center at CI and the university’s baseball diamond will be named for him.  He had been undergoing treatment for a recurrence of cancer prior to his death earlier this month at age 72.

Our condolences to the Morton family and to his colleagues at Morton Capital.