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Ruth Dodson: Lend support in preventing eradication of beautiful and environmentally sustainable urban forest

COURTESY PHOTO: RUTH DODSON - Oregon City's Trailview neighborhood has had issues with cracking sidewalks as the subdivision's trees grew to maturity.Oregon City's Trailview neighborhood has over 40 beautiful red-sunset maples and Japanese katsura trees that are 20 years old lining its residential streets. After the past year of an especially damaging ice storm, it was wonderful to see that these maples were grittily resilient, and they rebounded soundly with little damage compared with so many other varieties of trees in the area. It now appears that the threat to these trees is not from ice or storms but rather from the residents of the neighborhood and from Oregon City — a city with a "Tree City USA" status.

This is a designation by the Arbor Day Foundation that celebrates the importance of an urban canopy and of improving care of these vital street trees.COURTESY PHOTO: RUTH DODSON - As this newspaper has previously reported, an Oregon City citizen made a complaint to the city about cracking sidewalks in Trailview.

As the Oregon City neighborhood trees grew to maturity, some of the sidewalks naturally developed varying degrees of unevenness and cracking, as is common with many sidewalks that have trees reaching this degree of maturity. Consequently, a citizen in the neighborhood who was concerned about the cracking in the walkway made a complaint to the city. In turn, Oregon City agreed that the sidewalks should be fixed and gave citizens permission to cut the street trees down and replant the parking strips with new fledgling trees so further cracking would be avoided and the damaged sidewalk sections could be repaired.

At a time when we are all learning of the real effects of climate change and the value of trees in helping to mitigate the effects of these drastic changes, it seems that we certainly can think of better solutions to sidewalk cracks than destroying 20 years of flourishing urban canopy. These maples and katsura trees are currently tagged with yellow bands indicating that they are scheduled to be cut down within a few short days to weeks. The phrase that has been tossed around in my head from time to time when commuting to work and catching a glance of a solitary bumper sticker comes to the forefront — "Think Globally, Act Locally." Now seems to present such an opportunity.

I would implore those in Oregon City and others who would lend their support in preventing the eradication of more beautiful and environmentally sustainable urban forest to step forward to let their voice be heard — and quickly.

Ruth Dodson is an Oregon City resident.

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