On Aug. 29, the city of Oregon City cut down a more than 300-year-old oak tree, possibly one of the oldest in the city. Rumor was that it was sick. I live across the street from the tree, and the neighbors and I are mourning the loss of the oak.
But what makes the matter much worse is that the city also cut down a perfectly healthy 100-year-old walnut tree that was adjacent. I confirmed it was healthy by calling the city and speaking to the parks director. The decision to remove both trees was made by park staff with no notification of neighbors, and no opportunity for comment. The director informed me that he and his staff deemed this activity as "minor landscaping," which does not require neighborhood notice.
This mature walnut tree had a huge canopy and provided much-needed shade to the park and street. It also provided habitat for birds and other wildlife. This was a significant, important tree. It was well placed and should not have been removed. The sidewalk next to it was reasonably intact.
We're appalled that Oregon City appears to not value mature old-growth street trees, and does not make the most basic attempts to communicate with the local citizens. Replanting will not replace trees of this size and age.
Curtis Reesor is a resident of the McLoughlin neighborhood near downtown Oregon City.
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