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Worryingly, heavy limbs are falling off trees next to McLoughlin -- even when there is little wind or stress

RITA A. LEONARD - The latest large oak limb to break off along McLoughlin Boulevard fell in late June - but onto the margin of Westmoreland Park this time, and not again across the highway. Another large Oak limb split from a tree along S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard beside Westmoreland Park at the end of June – and it wasn't even during particularly stormy weather. Inner Southeast Portland ended June with only slightly more than one half inch of rain for the entire month. Although at least one recent limb-break alongside the park fell across the highway, this time the broken limb fell onto the grass verge at the edge of Westmoreland Park, and did not imperil traffic.

The real problem seems to be that when McLoughlin Boulevard – originally called "the Superhighway" – was completed and opened in the mid-1920s, today's corridor of stately trees all began life as planted seedlings all of the same age, evenly spaced – and all the same species.

It may have seemed a good idea at the time, but the result is that they all have similar lifespans and are likely to start expiring together before long; and, aside from the occasional fallen branches, a handful of the trees have already died and been removed.

It is unclear whether either Portland Parks and Recreation, or the Oregon Department of Transportation (the road is officially State Highway 99E), has a plan for addressing this problem, and perhaps planting any new trees to replace those nearing the end of their lives.

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