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AUGUST 11, 1997

Local News

tree Woodinville evaluates saving trees destined for the chipper.

Woodinville Weekly photo

Downtown trees may be saved

  by Andrew Walgamott
   Woodinville is studying options to save the London Plane trees blamed for sidewalk and street problems bordering N.E. 175th St. and 140th Avenue N.E. near Seafirst and B.P. Gas Station. "We're seeing what can be done to not cut the trees down," Ron Cameron, public works director said last week.
   Last year, the city had planned on removing dozens of the trees. Their roots have heaved sections of sidewalk and road, leading to safety concerns. According to Cameron, an engineering evaluation will be prepared to determine cost effectiveness of saving the trees. Investigated will be root pruning, installation of root barriers and undergrounding overhead power lines.
   "We've got to have time to put the numbers together," Cameron said. A full report will be presented to the city council in three to four weeks, he added.
   The turn-around was prompted by a Woodinville Tree Board recommendation, according to City Manager Roy Rainey. "It seems like in the long run it's worth saving the trees," Rainey said, even if it meant assuming a risk for citizens safety. In 1993, a woman crossing 140th Ave. N.E. from 7-11 to Seafirst tripped and broke her hip due to root-lifted pavement.
   The trees were planted before Woodinville incorporated. The city had planned on removing the trees this fall. But in a letter from Molly Beck, Woodinville Tree Board member and certified arborist, she states, "Now that the trees are in full leaf once again, their functional and aesthetic values are much more apparent than when we inspected them last fall. The removal of all planes along 175th and most of the planes along 140th would significantly alter the nature of those streets and that of the city core in general."
   "There's a whole lot of heart in those trees," Cameron said. He said the city's original decision to remove the trees was the right call, but had changed now that new information was available.
   Rainey said the key to saving some of the trees would be an agreement with Puget Power to underground their power lines.