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Monday, April 9, 2012

More "green" hypocrisy in Portland

100-year-old elm trees vs. apartment bunkers. Guess who wins.

Comments (24)

"The plan was based on information gathered by a licensed arborist hired by the developer. From tests conducted on the trees, the arborist concluded the trees are in poor health and would live a maximum of 20 more years." Uh huh. I'll BET the developer found a friendly arborist. I'm reminded of how certain big powers in Dallas kept pushing for a subway, even though our local bedrock couldn't handle it, and kept hiring geologists until they found an idiot willing to agree with whatever they wanted.

And note that while the trees are allegedly in poor health and "might last 20 years," the developers are planning to give the elms to a furniture company so they can be recycled. A quick question to any woodworkers reading this. If these trees are in such poor health, how much furniture-ready lumber do you think the unnamed company will get off of them?

Arborist.....schmarborist. Here in Oregon, they just have to have a Contractor's License specifically for the Arboring. Basically a license on how not get sued. So, realistically his opinion, means...What's a legal term for "not much"?
If the trees are there for 20 years, they have an equal or better chance to be
there in 1 year or 100 years, as well. Even when stunted, plants generally don't just perish, even in urban environments. An optimistic sustainable gardener would probably argue against a 20 year lifespan.

All that aside, however, if one is for non violent demonstration, which I am impartial to the suggestion, a nomination for an Oregon Heritage Tree, would be just the ticket.

ORS 377.705
For a tree to be considered for inclusion in the Oregon Heritage Tree Program, it must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
1. The tree (or group of trees) is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad pattern of our history.
2. The tree (or group of trees) is associated with the life of a person or group of historic significance.
3.The tree (or group of trees) represents a significant and distinguishable entity within a community or location.
4.The tree (or group of trees) has age, size, or species significance that contributes to its heritage status.

Only recently, when Mill Creek Residential Trust posed a mitigation plan that included planting new trees in the elms’ place, did the committee approve the project – by a 4-3 margin. Now, project managers hope construction may begin soon.
1. to lessen in force or intensity, as wrath, grief, harshness, or pain; moderate.
2. to make less severe: to mitigate a punishment.
3. to make (a person, one's state of mind, disposition, etc.) milder or more gentle; mollify; appease.
verb (used without object) become milder; lessen in severity.

The word mitigate is often used and I think way overused to get people to cave.
I don't see how anything can mitigate the loss of these 100 year old elms.
Will planting 20 little street trees do?
Will having a building constructed there with a design "approved" do?

In my view, too much has been mitigated away. It is much easier to deal with the words, and illustrations when making such a decision. Looking at the definitions above, I can't foresee any lessening of pain, come the day the chainsaws arrive.

134 units?
Damn, horrible addition to the neighborhood.

134 units, and probably 0 parking. Add parking meters, and you have a living hell for anyone who wants to live a normal life. But a million people are moving here any minute now. Honest.

Only cute young hipster trees will be allowed in Portland from now on.
Old trees are no longer welcome as they create too many problems, cost too much to maintain, and cannot be controlled.
I guess that goes for people too.
Put a bird on it!

Old majestic trees stand in the way of development.
The high density policies of "smart growth" do not allow for the old trees to remain.

Many years ago, people testified to council then to adopt a good tree protection policy. They always seem to be just "working" on it.

The bigger complex would replace a 20,000-square-foot office building that extends down Johnson Street and was deemed by the city incompatible with the historic district because it was built in the 1960s.

That "incompatible" building is 50 years older than whatever they end up slapping up in "the historic district."

Stunning hypocrisy at every turn.

Trees are sacred in Portland -- especially if there's one in your yard you want to get rid of. But street trees are hacked down immediately whenever they get in the way of the apartment developers. Including the latest stupid train that will make money for said developers.

Mill Creek Residential Trust: "We put the stain in sustainable," boasts MCRT Chairman Woody Knott.

As a resident of the block, I don't mind the cutting of the trees and the razing of the office building. The building is pretty ugly and I don’t lose any sleep when a few elm trees have their lives cut short. Much like Park19, a couple blocks to the north, I think the new buildings will be a visual improvement to the neighborhood. Furthermore, additional rental supply in the neighborhood should be beneficial to us renters.

My concern as a neighbor is the parking situation. When Park19 began leasing, parking became noticeably more difficult in an area that already has an inadequate supply. I haven’t looked at the plans yet but if there isn’t enough/any parking, and there probably won’t be, the situation’s going to be a real mess. Now, if Sam Adams’s gets his way and installs parking meters, I’m moving.

If you are planning on moving if parking meters get installed, that might be why the elm tree removal doesn't bother you, as you may not be invested in staying there. The last few apartment plans around the city have had less and less parking and in some cases zero parking provided.

As far as I am concerned the removal of huge trees is not even sustainable, as they provide shade in the heat, less energy needed for air conditioning.

I can't believe there can be any healthy elms in that neighborhood. Come drive my neighborhood (Eastmoreland) with lots of wonderful elms. Not a bud on any of them. We're playing a losing game with the elm trees.

You may be looking for hypocrisy here, Jack, but some trees actually have to go some times.

As many of the buildings in the area are walkup apartments built in the '20s with no onsite parking, the addition of parking meters would be extremely inconvenient. Even if they allow permits for residents, it would be a real hassle for guests. As far as the trees, they are on the north side of the block and really only provide shade in the summertime to the traffic on Johnson Street. Also, Portland has relatively mild weather and most of the housing in the area doesn’t even have AC.

I’m not saying that I advocate the cutting down of trees; I’m just saying that as a resident of the area, it’s not something that personally concerns me. As someone that is required to drive for work and enjoys having guests, the parking issue does. Parking meters may very well be the factor that motivates me to move out of the area that I’ve lived in for several years.

What happens regarding being invested in an area is often one of two things. You wish to be invested and you love the area but the policies just keep pushing you to look for other places to live. Or you are very invested but finally get fed up and sell.

I recall looking into leasing office space in the office building mentioned in this story about 10-12 years ago. While the building itself is nothing special; it did have attractive leasing rates and some onsite parking as well. Nothing like having a dozen or so businesses being forced to relocate and making parking even more difficult in that area just to satisfy some developer schmuck's plans; and those of some overpaid planner dou**bag.

Is there a housing shortage in Portland now?

Or is another new light rail line being secretly planned again?

Oh....the "streetcar" is merely four blocks away? NOW I get it.

EVERYBODY on the train!! THAT'S AN ORDER !

I understand how critical the parking issue is.
I also would be opposed to parking meters, and am concerned that the city is wanting more revenue and will place meters wherever they can.

Jo,...Or you are very invested but finally get fed up and sell.

Some of us have been invested in this city as a livable place, but in my view, not only has livability been downgraded, but I find I am fed up with the insider game and agenda here, benefiting a few at the expense of the public.
It is becoming more difficult to live here.

Dutch elm disease has done a number on a majority of elms in this country since it was identified in 1928. I believe that in North America, only Alberta and BC are free of it. To destroy healthy elms of this age would be truly unfortunate.

But the money is in the buildings so obviously the elms have to go.

The environment is of prime concern, except when it gets in the way of Portland's planners. Then the environment can be changed.

This has always been true for Portland. Most of downtown, and especially N.W. Portland, is all fill. There's a reason Vancouver predates Portland by 100 years. And to think Portlanders have the gall to complain that Vantuckey is the "suburb"...Portland is, in reality, Vancouver's urban sprawl. Vancouver just didn't have the foresight or the desire to fill in Vancouver Lake. Look at all the prime land just sitting there underwater...there's room for probably a good half million residents there, and Vancouver is actually walking away from it so that people can kayak and canoe and ride their bike and have a picnic.

Gawd, those damn Vantuckians...damn environmentalists up there. Good think we have Portland to fill in that native fish and bird habitat. They can always fly somewhere else.

BTW, beginning last evening, some trees-- "an estimated 813" -- are being removed to accommodate the Sellwood Bridge replacement; apparently, some elms, identified as "non-natives," are included:

"Most of the trees are along the river and on the west side of Highway 43. Native species to be removed include Douglas Fir, grand fir, red alder, vine maple, Western hemlock, and yew. Non-natives and invasive species to be removed include English ivy, clematis, elm, English laurel, European white birch, holly, and Norway maple."

The restoration plan is ambitious; for example, for trees selected for preservation:

"Tree protection measures include fencing and other demarcation depending on the location. A certified arborist will inspect the trees each month to monitor their health and recommend additional protection measures if needed. A pre-construction meeting including the arborist and staff from City agencies will be held before each major work phase to confirm the boundaries for fencing and other tree protection measures, and that erosion, sediment and pollution controls are adequate and comply with approved plans."


"A few cedar and yew trees will be made available to the Grand Ronde tribe to use in making traditional items such as bows, arrows, medicines, or baskets."

Is there any reason to expect this effort will be less conscientious than the preview provided by the county's Mike Pullen?

If you are planning on moving if parking meters get installed, that might be why the elm tree removal doesn't bother you, as you may not be invested in staying there.

What part of the neighborhood do you live in, clinamen? Most any shade lost by those elms will be replaced by the building itself, it would seem.

I don't like seeing old trees go away. It is indeed tough to mitigate that kind of loss. Nine women can't make a baby in one month and the replacement trees will take a long time to grow. I think there are creative engineering and design solutions that could be looked into to develop certain sites while retaining trees that otherwise get knocked down out of convenience and economy. But how sincere are you really being here? It only takes a few seconds of Googling to find you complaining about street trees on this very blog...

Really, hedges, street trees and bioswales are not nature. For the most part they are pretty ornaments that can take a long time to build There can be modest environmental benefits to immediate areas but they are usually quite exaggerated. If we really cared about trees we would be working on returning larger swaths of land to a natural, undeveloped state. That said, overall the tree canopy is increasing, not decreasing, in the city.

Erik H, does that really bother you? Do you know what Manhattan Island used to be like? What's done is done and Vancouver is the suburb, has been since you were born. Vera Katz didn't do it. How wold you feel about returning Tanner Creek to the surface?

I am sincere about retaining majestic trees in our city. Yes, I do complain about little street trees as a replacement, as I do not go along with the concept that 12 tiny trees are the same or equal to one huge tree. I simply don't see them in the same category, the visual difference alone of an urban street tree is very different than a huge, fir or cedar, elm, etc.

If we really cared about nature, we wouldn't automatically be allowed to replace some of these areas with the built environment, and be able to do so easily with a lick and promise using that word mitigate! By the way, I happen to also think that creative solutions with design could be done that might help the situation, but these days, money trumps all.

We do not have an adequate tree policy to protect the big trees in our city as these trees stand in the way of development, and "smart growth." The city blazes forward cutting whatever, and as Jack mentioned in individual cases, they clamp down. More hypocrisy. Whatever "works" for increased development and extreme density is the theme.


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