Beaverton neighbors question tree removal
When the Beaverton City Council meets Tuesday night (Sept. 4), Terry Glickman and some of her neighbors plan to ask whether new sidewalks on Southwest Menlo Drive will mean an end to old trees.
The city is about to embark on construction of sidewalks and planting strips on Menlo between Allen Boulevard and Fairmount Drive. The current city budget includes $1 million for the project, which has nearly completed design and right-of-way acquisition.
But that's news to Glickman, who has lived on 3rd Street nearby for 26 years. She said she finally noticed when several trees on Menlo Drive bore an "X" mark indicating their likely removal.
"Everybody is unhappy. There has been no notification for a year and a half," since a neighborhood meeting back in April 2017, she said.
"We support a sidewalk and a safe passageway for pedestrians. But we have not been involved in the process, and there are huge issues related to the removal of trees and what they do for the environment. We would like to be educated in the process and have a voice."
The council accepts public comments, limited to a few minutes per person, at the start of each business meeting. It is in addition to any public hearings that may be on the agenda.
About two dozen older trees, including oaks and Douglas firs, are in the city right of way, although the city had to acquire additional property for the planting strips. The trees are on the east side of Menlo Drive.
Beaverton does not have a formal heritage tree program, but it does have an urban forestry maintenance program within its public works department.
City officials have not yet offered a public response.
Glickman and Jennie Bricker, a Portland lawyer who specializes in environmental law, met Monday with some city staffers.
"We asked them to consider other options that would not completely raze the trees on that side of the street," Bricker said. "The trees would be replaced with concrete sediment catchers and tiny trees that will take 80 years to reach the size of the trees there now — if they ever do."
"It is impossible to make everybody happy. But the neighbors are unified in not wanting all the big trees to go."
Earlier this year, the council adopted an Active Transportation Plan — and its annual priorities — both of which envision greater spending on sidewalk construction, although there is no specific timetable for implementation.
"The city has been responsive to our request for a meeting. They heard us out and asked us questions," Bricker said. "But as to whether this train can be derailed, I do not know the answer. I know nobody has broken ground yet, but they plan to do it."