What's Up with That? Tree unable to stand in the way of progress
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Some time ago, The Columbian ran a story about the planned improvements along Southeast 164th Avenue. A concern was expressed that adding a right turn lane at Tech Center Drive might harm the large tree at that corner. It was stated then that the new lane could be added without harming the tree. Now the tree is gone. What’s up with that?
— Dick Zeimer, Fairway Village
Simple question, simple answer: In the end, the city couldn’t save the tree. However, a large young evergreen will be planted nearby to take its place.
“We strive to preserve healthy trees when feasible during these types of projects and did not want to lose this tree,” said Vancouver urban forester Charles Ray. “Unfortunately, as the project moved forward, with the construction conditions, this tree couldn’t be saved.”
This particular Douglas fir was beloved of Dr. Todd Berinstein, an ear, nose and throat specialist whose office is on 164th Avenue, one of the city’s most heavily traveled roads.
“We love our tree. They’re telling me this is not going to hurt the tree,” Berinstein told The Columbian in 2010, when plans were under way to add that right turn lane just feet from the tree.
He was skeptical — and he was right. He was also eloquent in defending the tree at the time:
“(T)his tree has been witness to a lot of change in the east county, and not all of it good. There has been a plowing under of our trees on Prune Hill to make way for houses, and the winds now are quite severe due to the lack of trees. Many fields and grassy grazing meadows have been paved to allow for our motor vehicles, and the increase in commuter traffic has led to increased pollution from fossil fuel and litter,” he wrote in an email.
“Lastly, this tree is important to us because it is a sign of what is established and good about our community. We don’t throw out older things because they are in the way of progress.”
Well, alas for the old, and hello to the young: Ray said the site will see several new trees planted, as well as a large evergreen to take the old Doug fir’s place — not literally but a bit to the east, farther from the roadway.
“It is a larger young Douglas fir than we typically plant, to compensate for the loss of the mature Douglas fir,” Ray said.
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