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Parks bureau paves section of Springwater despite ‘clearcut’ concerns

Posted by on May 2nd, 2019 at 12:08 pm

New path without old trees.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Edith Mirante commutes by bike on the Springwater Corridor path right outside the door of her Sellwood neighborhood home. Since she moved there in 2007, the path between Southeast 9th and 11th existed as a goat trail of rocks and dirt alongside rarely used railroad tracks. When Portland Parks & Recreation announced plans to pave the path back in January, Mirante never expected to be the loudest voice in opposition.

(Before/after of the new path near SE 9th using images from Streetview and Edith Mirante)

Mirante, an author and activist, spoke up for the “urban woodland” of mature apple, cherry, walnut, and hemlock trees that dominate her lot*. Or I should say, used to dominate her lot. (*Update, 2:18 pm: None of the trees removed were on Mirante’s lot. They were on Parks and/or Metro-owned right-of-way). That’s because Parks’ paving plans required them to remove the trees to make way for the 16-foot wide path that, despite not being officially open, is already being used by walkers and rollers of all types.

Removal in progress. Note the “Save Me” sign tucked in his hardat.
(Photo: Edith Mirante)

Mirante did all she could to prevent what she calls a “clearcut.” She put up “Save Me” signs in the branches and got an op-ed published in The Oregonian on March 17th. Mirante wanted a retaining wall built and suggested narrowing the path to 10 feet to save the trees. But her suggestions were not heeded by the Parks bureau.

Parks project manager George Lozovoy told Mirante and other neighbors at pre-project meetings that the trees and/or a narrower path would present a crash hazard. Parks Community Engagement Coordinator Ken Rumbaugh told Mirante in a March 6th email that, “We strive to preserve trees in all projects whenever possible, and if they must be removed – as in this instance – we mitigate their loss by planting new ones using the high standards set by Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry.”

On March 20th, three days after her op-ed came out, Mirante awoke to tractors and workers in hardhats. They were cutting branches and pulling the old trees out by their roots. One of them had even grabbed the “Save Me” sign and wore it under his hat as he hacked at the old apple tree. Mirante took notice in a series of live tweets.

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“They just ripped the branches off the maple to cut it. And now the hemlock (native species) is being cut down,” she wrote. “Crew member for @PDXParksandRec* just approached me on my property with piece of wood from the apple tree and said as a joke “These make great picture frames.” They have now cut the apple tree.” (*Note: This was a private contractor, not a City employee.)

By April 18th, the trees were gone and a 16-foot wide paved path was all laid out. I snapped the photos below last weekend…

Asked to respond to Mirante’s concerns, Parks’ Rumbaugh said the City had, “No alternative but to remove the trees.” Among the reasons was that the project scope wouldn’t fund a retaining wall, the width was needed for expected path user volumes, and many of the trees were under power lines. “Additionally,” Rumbaugh wrote in an email to BikePortland, “Most of the trees which had to be removed were not native and those species have shown themselves to be a problem when growing adjacent to natural areas – they tend to spread uncontrollably and outcompete our region’s native species.”

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Removing trees is not a decision PP&R makes lightly,” he continued. “PP&R evaluated many alternatives to try and keep the trees, but the site conditions – such as soil and slope – along with state and federal regulations (like the Americans with Disabilities Act) inform our needed actions. As the Sellwood area has developed, the need for the highly-anticipated Springwater Trail extension has become more and more important to keep cyclists and people on foot safe as they commute and during recreation.”

In total, Rumbaugh said they removed about 38 trees (“many already in poor condition, at the end of their life cycles, or located underneath power lines,” he added). He also pointed out there are still 54 trees along the new segment of path and PP&R will plant 37 new, native trees nearby to mitigate the loss. They’ll also pay into the City of Portland’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund.

Once the landscaping and fence between the path and the railroad tracks are installed and the new path officially opens in July, you won’t see the old trees; but you might see Mirante’s new ones. She and her neighbors have planted six so far.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

107 Comments
  • Avatar
    Q May 2, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    This is not a case of deforestation destroying natural habitats, this is a matter of a NIMBY who doesn’t want people near them despite having chosen to live in an urban environment.

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      BikeRound May 2, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      My sentiments exactly. I have a strong dislike of individuals attempting to disguise their NIMBY-ism as some sort of environmental activism. In the DC area, there was a ridiculous case of this when the a commuter rail line, locally known as the Purple Line, was being planned.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 2, 2019 at 2:11 pm

        And seriously… everyone hates trees. Except NIMBYs, of course, but what else would you expect from people like that?

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          Middle of The Road Guy May 2, 2019 at 3:23 pm

          I know I do – especially Gingko’s.

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          BikeRound May 2, 2019 at 7:53 pm

          I love trees. But if the first time someone starts advocating for not cutting down trees is when there is a commuter rail line being planned behind their house, then their motivation is suspect. And if they up their game to pontificating about the plight of a blind crustacean, then their reasoning starts to fall apart further.

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      q May 2, 2019 at 11:51 pm

      Actually, it is deforestation destroying natural habitat, if you define that (as I would) as cutting down trees that birds, squirrels, etc. live in. You can argue that it was worth doing, but you can’t argue that it isn’t that.

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      q May 3, 2019 at 12:08 am

      I’m disappointed at the venom directed at the neighbor in several of the comments. I hate seeing that many trees, with their value as shade, habitat, etc. removed. I’m not going to second guess Parks–it may have been the best decision. I am glad many other comments were more understanding.

      One thing that I didn’t notice being mentioned is that this situation isn’t a great thing as far as getting future trails built. When building a trail comes with negative consequences, it means greater opposition. Again, this particular decision may (or may not) have been best, but the “It’s not your property, get over it” attitude I get from some comments isn’t the greatest way to view impacts to neighbors, as far as getting future bike infrastructure built. Plenty of public projects have been dramatically improved when neighbors’ concerns haven’t been dismissed by project proponents.

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        rick May 3, 2019 at 8:00 am

        Neighbor concerns ruined the new Portland trails policy (the paper street trails policy).

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          q May 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm

          If that’s true, it supports my point. Neighbors have power. If building bike paths gets associated with cutting down dozens of trees along the route, neighbors of proposed routes have a new reason to oppose them.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 3, 2019 at 9:29 am

        Well said.

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    Chris I May 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    It’s not “her lot”, it’s the railroad ROW. Her lot has no trees there. She was relying on the trees from someone else’s property to create the environment she wanted. The good news is, it looks like there is plenty of space on her lot to plant large trees. Looks like she could get about 5 or so native trees in there with plenty of space to grow to maturity. The trees that were there before didn’t look well-maintained. It seems that the owner was maintaining a sudo-hedge, with a mixture of native and invasive plants.

    I’ve planted 6 trees on my property shortly after I bought it 9 years ago. There now have mature canopies and provide shade and habitat. You can do the same, Edith.

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      JeffP May 2, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Not to mention – based on the ‘before’ – all the scrubby trees were directly beneath the power & communication lines and had been topped numerous times to keep clear of said lines. They were probably as unhealthy as most when treated this way. It ends up being a liability issue for the power companies [and often the neighborhoods when they lose power in a storm due to proximity].
      Find a better clearcut concern – there are tons in the various PDX/metro developments.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 2, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      You’re correct Chris. All the trees that were removed were on Parks and/or Metro property. I have updated the post. I regret the error.

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    Chris I May 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Also, if you look at Portland Maps for the property in question, and compare it to the Google satellite view:
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Portland,+OR/@45.4590764,-122.6566959,83m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x54950b0b7da97427:0x1c36b9e6f6d18591!8m2!3d45.5154586!4d-122.6793461

    It’s clear that the property owners were using the Springwater corridor ROW as a private driveway and parking area. The aerial view on Portland Maps shows vehicles parked in the circle just north of the house, which is not part of the owner’s lot. The “driveway” emerges at a point that would require drivers to drive ON the sidewalk to reach the nearest street:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@45.4592935,-122.6570306,3a,73.9y,123.9h,84.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sukGg2wc5fppf3Mtj7zcsLg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
    Doesn’t seem very safe.

    It seems like this is a case of a property owner losing something that never belonged to them in the first place.

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      donttreadonme May 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

      Another automobile user whose car parking needs are more important than anything else. So much for this person being an “activist”..

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        John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 1:32 pm

        I didn’t see anything in the article indicating that this was a parking or driveway access problem for her.

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          Chris I May 2, 2019 at 1:59 pm

          Of course. She knew that people wouldn’t side with her if the real issue was private vehicle parking, and illegal use of a sidewalk to access said parking. This research only took a few minutes, and I think would have been helpful to include in this blog post.

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            John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 2:22 pm

            I’m assuming that what she’s objecting to the most with the removal is the free privacy and noise screening that the shrubs afforded her — as well as the greenery to look at out her window as opposed to a wall or another dwelling. That would be the reason I would miss the trees if I lived there. And again, it can be replanted — more appropriately.

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              John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 2:23 pm

              You may be right though about her real internal protests. I just am not jumping to that assumption.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 2, 2019 at 2:26 pm

                Or not, as she posted below, and clearly stated she has never owned a car and doesn’t even have a driver’s license.

                But hey… there’s no problem so severe we can’t blame it on cars. Am I right?

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                John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 3:37 pm

                Well, there you go — exactly why making the assumption was wrong.

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                Chris I May 2, 2019 at 4:23 pm

                Cars are parked 4ft away from her home in the aerial photos. She may not drive, but people in her family do.

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                John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 4:27 pm

                ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Still proves nothing about motivations.

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                Chris I May 2, 2019 at 4:57 pm

                I never said anything about motivations, other than the fact that they lost something that never belonged to them. They lost the trees, their house is more exposed to the path, and they might lose a parking area for their ADU AirBnB rental? It’s hard to say, but I think it is obvious that this isn’t just about the trees on park property.

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                John Lascurettes May 3, 2019 at 2:04 pm

                “I never said anything about motivations” and “I think it is obvious that this isn’t just about the trees on park property” are mutually in contention with each other.

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        Middle of The Road Guy May 2, 2019 at 3:25 pm

        That’s the thing with activists – they are usually advocating for things that benefit them.

        We never see that with cyclists, though. Just car users.

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          meh May 3, 2019 at 6:07 am

          What’s the difference between a developer and an environmentalist?
          The environmentalist already has their house in the woods.

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    SERider May 2, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Is this new section of the path still ending at SE 13th?

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      Andrew Kreps May 2, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Linn st, actually. The path has never gone to 13th.

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        Andrew Kreps May 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm

        Oh wait, I see now that they planned to pave all the way to 13th. Interesting, since that puts you at a T intersection. I’ve ridden the rest of the way to 17th, it’s not great even on a fatbike.

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          WestRiver May 2, 2019 at 1:39 pm

          Yeah, the new pavement ends at SE 13th where it turns into SE Andover Pl.

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            SERider May 3, 2019 at 9:15 am

            So is there a plan to have Andover be 2 ways? Or is PPB trying to shuttle more traffic onto Linn?

            It’s still crazy to me they are leaving a 3-4 block gap to truly complete the Springwater.

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              PS May 3, 2019 at 9:54 am

              pretty easy to ride one half block further than needing to cut down a one way through the neighborhood on Andover.

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    rainbike May 2, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you PP&R for replanting new, native trees nearby.

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    Andrew May 2, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Nice job Portland Parks & Recreation! Looks great.

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    gilly May 2, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    I wonder if Mirante and her neighbors planted the new trees on their property or the ROW.

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    catherine feta-cheese May 2, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    OK, guys. Nice NIMBY name-calling and attack.

    First: I have never had a driver’s license nor owned a motor vehicle in my life. How many of you can say that? I have a 7.5 mile each way sun/rain/snow bike commute.

    Many people have parked all along the railway there (SE 9th -11th) on the Metro land and are continuing to do so on the Metro land next to the path at SE 11th. Those ad hoc driveways and parking areas had been there long before I moved in.

    I do have trees in the front and side yards, including pine, birch and dogwood. And there is still a big cedar & fruit trees on adjacent Metro land that was not part of the pavement project.

    The trees (and all other vegetation) that Portland Parks cut were obviously never “mine.” They were everybody’s (public property.) They would have been yours to look at when you biked past on what is presently a detour from SE Linn to SE Linn. They also belonged to nearly 40 species of birds, which are gone now except for crows. Hoping some of the birds will come back.

    I did very much want the paved bike path (and “people near me”) but along with other people who live around here I just wanted it modified somewhat to save some really wonderful mature trees. In Vancouver WA, an old apple tree has a festival; here one was ripped down even though it was not right next to the path. Trees are important. Mature tree canopy. Don’t be so dismissive of that for the love of nice smooth wide pavement for your wheels.

    Yes , currently madly planting trees on the small property line. Parks is “giving” (their contractor’s words) 3 trees (including non-native) to this stretch of the Metro property (from SE 9th to 11th) now. They have planted shrubs on the cut bank this week. Otherwise the blackberries will do what blackberries do. You can stop and pick them when you ride by.

    Edith (aka CFC)

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      Q May 2, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      It’s not an attack if you are stating that you don’t want something that benefits other people in proximity to where you have property. That is the literal definition of NIMBY. Your assertion that the engineers should redesign the path in such a way to be hazardous to its users in order to give in to your demands is aggressive and hostile to the citizens that are in fact your neighbors.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 2, 2019 at 2:30 pm

        >>> I did very much want the paved bike path (and “people near me”) but along with other people who live around here I just wanted it modified somewhat to save some really wonderful mature trees. <<<

        Sounds rabidly anti-path to me, and pretty aggressive and hostile to boot.

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        • Avatar
          Q May 2, 2019 at 2:35 pm

          Since there were clearly too many words in the article for you to understand them all I will help you.

          “Parks project manager George Lozovoy told Mirante and other neighbors at pre-project meetings that the trees and/or a narrower path would present a crash hazard. ”
          “Among the reasons was that the project scope wouldn’t fund a retaining wall, the width was needed for expected path user volumes, and many of the trees were under power lines.

          “Additionally,” Rumbaugh wrote in an email to BikePortland, “Most of the trees which had to be removed were not native and those species have shown themselves to be a problem when growing adjacent to natural areas – they tend to spread uncontrollably and outcompete our region’s native species.””

          ” the site conditions – such as soil and slope – along with state and federal regulations (like the Americans with Disabilities Act) inform our needed actions. “

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 2, 2019 at 3:56 pm

            I’ll admit there were a lot of words up there, and I probably got confused by the long ones.

            But… when ODOT wants to remove trees along Powell, claiming they’re a crash hazard, I might disagree, but I at least understand why they would think so. But along a bike/walking path? Not as much. (And it sounds like they’re replanting at least some non-natives, so I’m not sure how much the native tree argument holds sway.)

            But mostly it’s your characterization of asking to save the trees as hostile and aggressive that I just don’t get. Is there no room for disagreement?

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              John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 4:14 pm

              Pretty sure the issue (based on the PPR statements) with these trees in direct relation to the path itself is that they were the type of trees that might put in some nice root ruts into the soft path before long. Nobody wants to ride or trip over those. And they do become a liability and ADA issue if the get out of hand. My front yard cherry tree has put all kinds of wicked humps into my driveway.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 2, 2019 at 4:23 pm

                I’m open to the possibility that PPR made the right call. But I’m mostly not open to vitriol and name calling.

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                John Lascurettes May 2, 2019 at 4:25 pm

                Same.

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      Chris I May 2, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      So those two vehicles, parked just north of your house in the aerial photo on the PortlandMaps site, don’t belong to anyone that lives in your house, or rents your recently-added ADU AirBnB? We’re supposed to believe that random people are parking 4ft away from your home?

      https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/26717394?s=51

      https://www.portlandmaps.com/detail/property/8824-SE-9TH-AVE-UNIT-A/R268098_did/

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        Buzz May 2, 2019 at 9:30 pm

        careful with this line of inquiry, it might not be taken well by the locals!

        😉

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        catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 9:07 am

        (In case this doesn’t thread properly, this is in response to Chris I.’s adversarial line of questioning about the gravel driveway.)

        Good morning, Chris I.

        At first I wasn’t going to dignify this with a reply, but in the BikePortland comments tradition I have decided after all to go for it and Dignify It With a Reply.

        Since you are so interested in the ADU infill short term rental, you may have noticed that it is marketed to bike riders. The closer the bike path is, the better. Guests have included a mom & her two kids who came here from Seattle with a cargo bike. When it transitions to a long term rental (the plan) the bike path proximity will be a wonderful asset for the renters. You would also have noticed that guests with a motor vehicle are instructed to park on the street.

        If PPR had used the gravel driveway for the entrance of the path, making it a route around/through the trees (it was a possibility but they didn’t do that because of the grade) it would have been better and the path would have been more literally in this backyard than it is now. It would have been a good start to the day for me to be able ride onto that (tree-shaded) path right from the back porch.

        Chris I., we have had a reasonable exchange about the bike path pavement width on a previous comment thread. But this time, perhaps stirred by Q.’s wildly popular opening farrago of “NIMBY” — which also inspired accusations against me of fake activist (haha) and automobile user (ewww) and something about crustaceans (what) — you decided to run with your “few minutes” of research to try repeatedly to prove that I actually cared about the gravel driveway instead of the trees. You really, really don’t know me.

        During the infill ADU construction and after, motor vehicles were sometimes parked on the gravel driveway with the express permission of PPR’s project manager and the complete understanding and agreement that the vestigial driveway would go away for the needed intersection curb improvements once the paving project started. That was no surprise. The surprise was that PPR chose to cut all of the trees along the south side of the tracks from SE 9th to 11th. And that was always the issue. The driveway would have inevitably gone no matter how many trees were or were not cut.

        Oh and yeah regarding your latest comment, I am a lifelong campaigner for trees a few miles away and also thousands of miles away. Let me know if you ever have a tree saving problem that needs support.

        I’ve addressed various other topics raised by the commenters in my 3 other replies here. I don’t really know what to say about the crustaceans thing, though.

        Finally (maybe) I’d suggest you and Q. consider possible impact when you publish personal information about your fellow bike riders or attack them personally. Especially for women who read this blog that can seem unwelcoming or even threatening. BikePortland comments is a notably fractious space and sometime that is invigorating or hilarious but often it is just kind of boringly offensive.

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          Gary B May 3, 2019 at 9:29 am

          Edith,

          I’m sorry you’ve had to defend yourself, but also thank you for the additional information. While I of course, all things considered, would much rather the trees continue to exist, in this particular case I believe the trade-off was probably worth it (te costs to presrve the trees would either prevent the path from happening or tke resources from elsewhere). But rwe should be able to reasonably disagree without being nasty (as Hello, Kitty as duly noted). It absolutely shouldn’t require your exhaustive defense to achieve respect of your view, but undoubtedly it will help.

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          Johnny Bye Carter May 3, 2019 at 9:47 am

          If you have to type that much to defend yourself from a couple simple questions then I think you’re hiding your motives.

          “So those two vehicles, parked just north of your house in the aerial photo on the PortlandMaps site, don’t belong to anyone that lives in your house, or rents your recently-added ADU AirBnB? We’re supposed to believe that random people are parking 4ft away from your home?”

          So you’re telling us that the answer is “yes”, that the white work van and blue Subaru wagon do belong to people you live with and that would mean that people you live with have a reason to want to keep using a private nook of public park land to store their vehicles.

          You’re also telling us that residents of your house have been, and are still, parking illegally on PP&R property that is not designated for parking.

          Perhaps I’m wrong and you have official papers giving you permission, rather than the unenforceable word of somebody that mentioned off-hand that you could do it.

          You may want to prepare yourself for all the complaints that PP&R will be getting as cyclists see vehicles parked on that land.

          You’ll also want to start parking in your garage or on the street (24 hour time limit for unmetered street parking) like you should have been doing all along.

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            catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 10:28 am

            to Johnny Bye Carter (you’re typing quite a lot yourself): “are still, parking illegally” — no. As soon as the paving project commenced only PPR vehicles came up that gravel driveway and the driveway is now history even for them. There is still a fully functioning *parking lot* on the Metro land right next to the path at SE 11th though, if you decide you want to concern yourself with that.

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            Paul H May 7, 2019 at 5:09 pm

            It’s strange to me that bikeportland leaves such unproductive, uninformed, and possibly hostile comments up.

            When men like this direct such misplaced hostility towards women like CFC, it conjures those images from the 2016 presidential debates of Trump hovering over HRC and his absurd ad hominem attacks. (Just a heads up: it’s not a good look)

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          John Lascurettes May 3, 2019 at 11:08 am

          Sorry you were compelled to write that but thanks for doing so, Edith. It just goes to illustrate that folks shouldn’t jump to conclusions about people or paint them with wide brushes. Armchair doxing with reactionary conclusions drawn on such things should not be encouraged on this site’s comments either.

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        X May 3, 2019 at 9:20 am

        Leave it. There’s a name for what you’re (almost) doing.

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        X May 3, 2019 at 9:36 am

        So were the trees a good thing or not? I think the Parks Department was pretty heavy-handed here. Crash hazard? If only local government were so concerned about crash hazards in other respect. Weed trees? I don’t know about you, but I’m traveling through space in a vehicle whose environmental regulation system is fubarred (with 93% probability but whatever.) If a bunch of weed trees want to suck up and store carbon it’s OK with me.

        If I hired a contractor to do some work and they mocked my customers there be some hot and timely repercussions. It’s not like there aren’t any other arborists in town.

        It really bothers me to see anonymous commenters bashing a person who is identifiable. Put yourself out there and we’ll talk about you for a while.

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          Chris I May 3, 2019 at 10:40 am

          She didn’t hire the contractors, as it was not her land, and not her project. I don’t understand your argument here. Yes, the worker sounded like an A-hole, but he was probably annoyed that someone was trying to make his job more difficult, taking pictures of them working, and who knows what else.

          We’re only getting one version of the story here. I’m just providing publicly-available evidence that there may be more going on. Do you always trust everything you read?

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            X May 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm

            In answer to your last question: no, I know that every writer has a distinct point of view and some degree of self interest.

            The tree workers were contractors for the city. Members of the public (you, me, Edith) are customers of the city. We give Portland money, Portland gives us services, sometimes through contractors. I don’t know how your business goes, but if I began to mock my customers my business would be toast in a matter of weeks. I sympathize with Edith because I don’t feel well represented here. And I vote.

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    Todd Boulanger May 2, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Folks do get used to the “opportunities” when their property abuts “shared” public spaces. As others have pointed out the tress removed were less than ideal. But is sounds like the project team missed an opportunity to connect her with Friends of Tress to place better trees on her property post impact. And also sadly, the foreman of the contractor (still semi representing Parks as their hired agent) missed an opportunity to educate his staff on how to work around tense situations with property owners.

    [When I worked state construction – my foreman and his boss would have sent me to the “woodshed” if they had seen similar interactions with a property owner…I know our highway construction firm usually did a bit of horse trading with adjoining property owners just to smooth over any impacts our work might might have before it happened…things the state DOT staff could no longer do. A good foreman / project manager try to do those things ahead of time…assuming the property owner is approachable.]

    Also when this was a working railroad with cost/ wood fuelled engines this whole right of way would have been cleared from burning embers of passing trains…

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    pdx2wheeler May 2, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Easy to cast NIMBY stones when it’s not your actual backyard. You’ll find those stones are much heavier if they are ever laid upon your doorstep.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 2, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    I’m visual and needed to see where this was, so I popped it into a map. I didn’t even know that was a thing- I thought that Linn-to-19th section was the official route.

    And of course there isn’t money to do it right. There never is. Just like PBOT.

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      Buzz May 2, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      LOL, PBOT’s got plenty of money, they just don’t spend it very well!

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        paikiala May 3, 2019 at 9:17 am

        Any evidence to support your subjective comment?

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          Johnny Bye Carter May 3, 2019 at 9:53 am

          $400,000,000 budget, $2,000,000 for Vision Zero. They care .25% about the safety of vulnerable road users.

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      Keviniano May 3, 2019 at 11:42 am

      I just rode this section yesterday, and I think I can predict the next kerfuffle when this project is done: As they proceed eastward and come to the end of the trail, instead of going north on SE 13th and then east on SE Linn, lots of bike riders will naturally want to go through the quasi-gated community accessed by SE Andover Place. At the first intersection into the area, SE Andover turns into a west-bound one-way for no apparent reason (the street is plenty wide, it seems like an attempt to prevent cut-through traffic). My prediction is that lots of east-bound bike riders will (reasonably, I think) ignore the one-way and tick off the residents of the street. I hope PBOT has anticipated this and has a plan of some sort.

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    RD Carleson May 2, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    I gave this site a hard cold look last week not knowing the background of the issue. I just saw the sign on her fence. It looks to me from the photos and my own site visit that it was not necessary to scrape the land clear of all vegetation. They could have been selective and just taken out the ones actually in the way. For Parks to call the trees a hazard is laughable when Springwater from Oaks Park north is lined with cyclone fencing. From what I saw at the site, I’d much prefer a brushy, somewhat wild setting than what will for a short time be planted with expensive nursery stock. It already looks a little raw and we all know Parks will not maintain it. Too late now but I totally see her point.

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    J_R May 2, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Every few years, I have to pay an arborist $600 to $1000 to trim the city’s large, mature maple trees on the public street right of way between the sidewalk and the street adjacent to my house. I don’t expect it will be too many years when the City of Portland requires one or more of them to be removed at my expense. The trees are NOT on my property, but I still have to pay for their maintenance.

    When the city inspected the sidewalk, they REQUIRED replacement of several sections of sidewalk due to the uneven surfaces. As a result, I spent thousands of dollars reconstructing the sidewalk because it was heaved out of alignment by trees that are not on my property.

    Mirante should be thankful that she hasn’t been billed for the removal of the trees. Count me as not sympathetic to her situation.

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      billyjo May 3, 2019 at 7:48 am

      don’t forget that when you replant the trees, they have to go into the same spot (so you need to pay to have the stump ground) and you can only plant a tree on the city’s list of approved trees, plus pay for a permit. Oh and the tree needs to be a minimum size when it is planted……

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      paikiala May 3, 2019 at 9:21 am

      The right of way, and utilities, out to the curb are yours to maintain as the land owner by law. Nobles Oblige and all that. And, contrary to other opinions, trees cannot always be put back where they were.

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      q May 3, 2019 at 12:41 pm

      She still has those same obligations to maintain any sidewalk or street trees that may be abut her property, that you and every other property owner also have, and she’s not complaining about that.

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    catherine feta-cheese May 2, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Gentlemen of BikePortland, am I not allowed to try to protect trees if I live near them? I have a decades-long record of campaigning for trees that were far, far away from this city. So it didn’t occur to me that I should just let all of these trees and other plants get destroyed since they are near my house and therefore someone might consider it “NIMBY.”

    In this case, I was advocating for trees all along the tracks between SE 9th & 11th, not just the ones adjacent to my small property. So were many people around here in Sellwood, certainly not just me. BP focused this story on me because I’m a bike commuter who loves the Springwater and loves trees and I had written the OpEd.

    As it turns out, the 3 token PPR trees for SE 9th – 11th are somehow only being put near my property and PPR is letting the *parking lot* on Metro land further along the tracks at 11th remain. That stupid 20th Century gravel driveway that I used to wheel my Kona step-thru (not visible on Google Earth) down would have been history due to the needed intersection improvements whether or not any of the trees were cut.

    Nobody asked for or expected the trees right next to the path (root/encroachment issues) to be kept. The occasional power line trimming had not previously been considered a problem. Those trees that were non-native were not threatening a natural area with their non-nativeness, they were a natural area, with wildlife. ADU was involved only regarding the SE 9th & Linn intersection curb improvements where 2 street trees were originally going to be cut, but were spared.

    Chris I., thank you for the encouraging words about replanting. I hope our present work may shade your way when you ride “the Gap” in summers to come.

    Edith (aka CFC)

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      dwk May 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      I rode by, I don’t blame you, it could have been done better…
      If they get new trees planted soon, it will look fine in a few years.
      You took a lot of grief here it seems, a lot of assumptions and accusations which has become the pattern here, It was not necessary.

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      catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 12:43 am

      I meant ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) regarding the curb improvements at the SE 9th & Linn intersection, not ADU. Again, those much-needed intersection curb improvements with the totally appropriate blocking of the old gravel driveway (which nobody had ever objected to happening) would have happened whether PPR had cut none of the trees along the south side of the tracks between SE 9th & 11th, a few trees or (as they did) all of them.

      PPR’s project director told a public neighborhood meeting they actually had considered using that gravel driveway for the SE 9th entry pathway, which would have saved trees and been a cooler route, but they decided not to because the grade was too steep.

      Edith (aka CFC)

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    DG May 2, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    I grew up right next to Edith, that swath of green is going to be missed for sure. It really added to the neighborhood, and was dear to all who lived in the vicinity. Lots of good memories of picking blackberries by the tracks and staying cool in the shade. Seeing this clear cut is quite upsetting. Bring back the gravel and trees.

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      rick May 3, 2019 at 8:03 am

      Himalayan blackberry? I wish all were gone from the USA.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 3, 2019 at 9:05 am

        I contribute their eradication by picking and cooking or eating the fruit, thus removing the seeds from the ecosystem. It’s hard duty, but I’m willing to do my part.

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          Chris I May 3, 2019 at 9:55 am

          They are also great in Mead.

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    Fred May 3, 2019 at 4:07 am

    I would just like to say:
    – It’s good when people like Edith are concerned about the spaces around their houses and want to see them taken care of.
    – It’s good that Edith wants trees to shade the bike path – shade is good for cyclists.
    – It’s very upsetting to see construction crews move in and basically destroy a natural environment. Change is hard.
    – It’s not always helpful to accuse well-meaning people of NIMBYism.
    – It’s tough to balance competing needs for space, but we can do it if we work together.

    Thanks.

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    Toby Keith May 3, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Wow so quick throw the NIMBY label around here. I bet if this path didn’t benefit cyclists, the same name callers would be chaining themselves to the trees in protest.

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      Chris I May 3, 2019 at 7:50 am

      Highly doubtful.

      The question could be asked of the homeowner, of course. Would she be raising such a stink about tree removals a few miles away from her house? Or just the ones a few feet from her house.

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        Brian May 3, 2019 at 8:27 am

        I struggle with your thinking here. Is everyone responsible for everything, everywhere? If people focus on keeping the area nearest them in the best shape possible, we all win.

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          Chris I May 3, 2019 at 10:02 am

          Not my thinking. Toby started the “if this didn’t benefit you” line or reasoning. I just pointed out that it cuts both ways. Yes, we care about the bike path. We don’t want tree roots destroying it in a few years (ever ride the 205 path north of Gateway Green?). Due to the grades involved, this hillside had to be cleared. The good news is, trees grow back, and PP&R has planted many of them. Homeowners can also plant trees to improve the condition. In 10 years, this spot will look great.

          And apologies to the homeowner if any of this was too personal. I took issue with the framing of the original post. It was factually incorrect about property ownership of the land in question, and left out key details about the nature of the intersection, and the history of the public land that was used for personal benefit prior to the installation of the trail.

          There are far bigger, more impactful environmental issues even within our city limits that we should be focusing our efforts on (Rose Quarter project, CRC, etc). A few trees cut down and replanted during the construction of an awesome new bike trail is not something I’m concerned with. This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion.

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            John Lascurettes May 3, 2019 at 11:21 am

            Had you stopped with the correction to the factually incorrect information, that would have been great. But you keep making assumptions about Edith’s motivations elsewhere with no factual information to back it up, only conjecture.

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            q May 3, 2019 at 12:05 pm

            “In 10 years, this spot will look great.”

            That’s a long time for something next door to your home.

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          PS May 3, 2019 at 10:23 am

          Meh, this was literally an unpruned grove of trees that somebody illegally planted on land they didn’t own a long time ago. Have you been to this little pocket of Sellwood either? There are unkempt yards and homes everywhere, and this “grove” was far from “in the best shape possible”. Further, her recommendation to narrow the path her is ridiculous, it is in a section that is winding around other obstacles, so the width will be necessary to not have constant future conflict with path users. One mad homeowner is worth a path that works well.

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            catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 10:53 am

            Illegal trees in a slum. Yay, you win this one, PS!

            P.S.: the 2 blocks between SE 9th and 11th where the trees were cut do not wind around anything. It is a dead straight shot next to the railway tracks.

            signed,
            the Mad Homeowner NIMBY Fake Activist Crustacean Sellwood Slumdweller

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              PS May 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm

              LOL, okee dokee Edith. Are there multiple properties in your vicinity with unkempt yards and houses, even by Portland standards? The answer is an unequivocal YES. Does that make it a slum, not really, but I get you’re not a fan of subtlety, hence the very “classy” spray painted sign displaying your displeasure with PPR. Overall how did you think this was going to go? Did you think PPR was going to narrow a path to 10 feet from 16 feet creating a pinch point and guaranteed conflict zone between MUP users purely for your benefit?!? I get you are frustrated, but you literally did not have standing in the issue from the beginning. To also find out your position is unpopular maybe is jarring, but the right thing was done here. The common good (i.e. people safely navigating a MUP through a neighborhood with minimal conflict) trumps your position that you have any say over what happens to trees on land you don’t own.

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                q May 3, 2019 at 1:40 pm

                It’s a public trail on public land. Everyone should be able to have a say.

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                q May 3, 2019 at 1:45 pm

                If the trees had been able to be kept, that would have been beneficial to lots of people for shade, habitat, screening between the houses and trail…

                The neighbor proposed a narrower trail, and keeping the trees. The City decided against that. You can argue that the City made the right decision, and that keeping the trail wider was worth removing the trees, but you can’t legitimately argue that keeping trees would have only benefited the neighbors.

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                catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 2:04 pm

                Hi again, PS. As far as classiness and subtlety, we (the mad slum-dwellers of So-Tac) did earlier make some very classy signs, hand-painted with fruit & so forth and even had a poem/charm by Robert MacFarlane that was sent here for “protection” but I think they might have been too classy and subtle as the trees they were on all got cut down.

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        John Lascurettes May 3, 2019 at 11:18 am

        Chris I., I really call into question your reading comprehension. You keep making the same accusations repeatedly based on pure conjecture and assumption to back it up. Please stop. It’s ugly and unbecoming of the comments section on BP.

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      idlebytes May 3, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Points out other peoples assumptions and name calling then proceeds to make assumptions about said people. Was this comment helpful?

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    mark smith May 3, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    First world, privileged issues? Seriously, Oregon is utterly covered in trees. Apparently it’s covered in people who don’t want disabled people to move about as freely as them.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      To quote president Reagan, “If you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all.”

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    catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Excuse me? The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) factor was regarding the project’s much needed intersection curb improvements which had nothing to do with the tree cutting and which nobody in the neighborhood has ever opposed. The curbs have been redone, they are excellent.

    Now I have to add “don’t want disabled people to move about as freely” to the impressive list of insults hurled at me here. Well done, Mr. Smith.

    greetings from tree-infested Oregon.

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    Carrie May 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    I can’t believe I’m wading in here. But. I’m so irked that we removed green, carbon sequestering plants in the name of safety and fall hazards when the same entity (PBOT) removed A BIKE LANE on SE 26th & Powell because somehow 26th is now safer without one? IOW, it’s ok to have a super narrow, debris filled, pinched place to ride to get to the high school shared with motor vehicles but we can’t compromise and leave some greenery in a place where it is already growing in the name of safety in a location where there are no motor vehicles. In the big picture of how to make our community better for cycling and do our part, however small, to change how we move around the world, this was a poor outcome.

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      catherine feta-cheese May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you, Arya (Carrie.) Did you bring more dragonglass? I’m almost out.

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    DG May 3, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I feel as if Chis I needs a day job

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    catherine feta-cheese May 4, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    A quick correction and tree planting update:

    The 3 trees Portland Parks will plant between SE 9th & 11th are all native species. Landscaper had said “apple” but it is an Oregon crabapple. Plus 1 native cherry and 1 cascara. They should be very pretty next spring.

    2 more trees planted on our limited property line today for a total of 8, which is capacity. Adding smaller plants there too.

    I hope you will all enjoy our beautiful little corner of Portland, “SoTac” (south of Tacoma St.) as well as this amazing bike connection from river to Johnson Creek to countryside. Share-it Square is on 9th. Great coffee and a brewpub on SE 13th.

    Ice water, first aid kit and a bike pump at our house if you’re ever in need.

    Ride well, be thankful for all the trees around you and be kind to each other.

    Edith
    (formerly CFC but I haven’t figured out how to change BP username to my real name yet)

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    mark smith May 4, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    catherine feta-cheese
    Excuse me? The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) factor was regarding the project’s much needed intersection curb improvements which had nothing to do with the tree cutting and which nobody in the neighborhood has ever opposed. The curbs have been redone, they are excellent.Now I have to add “don’t want disabled people to move about as freely” to the impressive list of insults hurled at me here. Well done, Mr. Smith.greetings from tree-infested Oregon.Recommended 7

    well, a buddy of mine has a tracked chair..so I guess he would have been ok on your personal gravel track.

    Let it go. You are a little tree worshipy on this one. If all we have to worry about is asphalt for bikes….well, you know. This was a win for everyone, well not a win for cars. So actually..it’s a real, real win.

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      q May 4, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      Speaking of letting it go….nobody ever proposed not paving the trail, or compromising accessibility, so your “personal gravel track” comment is out of line.

      I appreciate that people were concerned about the trees. Trees have been shortchanged in several recent path projects. It can’t hurt future projects for Parks and other agencies to be reminded how important trees are, and why.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 5, 2019 at 12:10 am

      “Tree worshippy”? Really??

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      catherine feta-cheese May 5, 2019 at 12:30 am

      Mr. Smith, I was never a proponent of a “gravel track” for the Sellwood Gap and I am sorry if Mr. Maus gave you that impression with his “goat track” lede. I am hardly a gravel rider and there are many other older adults + children + differently abled people right here in this neighborhood who will certainly need the pavement to access this extended connection.

      I know there are some bike people who are generally all about the gravel, but that’s not what was happening here.

      Mr. Maus could have spoken with many people in this neighborhood instead of making it a one person story. We were for paving it but with some modified width. More like the Springwater on the Willamette or the nearby new SE 17th Ave. paved path for 2 blocks. Plus some turn out areas for those 2 blocks (SE 9th to 11th.) Or a wider path with some retaining wall segments. Or just a steeper bank cut. We had all been looking forward to the paving finally happening but then had very little warning that all the trees along the south side of the tracks for those 2 blocks were to be cut, so the engineers & construction people among us were trying to come up with alternatives, but then it was too late. We are people who love multi-use paths and love trees. (Yeah, I do worship them, you’re very right there.)

      I hope your friend will have some delightful travels along this segment, and even more when it all connects up past 13th.

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    JJ May 5, 2019 at 6:14 am

    Am I the only one that thinks paving this was a waste of money?

    Leave it gravel. Leave the trees. Easier to maintain and way cheaper. Paths don’t need to be paved. The world doesn’t need to be nerf’d. Geez.

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    X May 5, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    I took another look at the photo at the head at the head of the article. Erosion on an unprotected slope is a real thing but one of the factors is the length of the slope. This one looks to be about 15 feet long with maybe 30″ of drop. On a 200 foot slope that would be a big deal because of the amount of water that accumulates in such a large area and flows over the ground.

    There’s more than one way to manage erosion on steep ground. One way would be to maintain existing vegetation as much as possible. Sigh.

    I guess if we want to have bike highways they have to look as much like an Interstate as possible.

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    paul g May 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Just informational, nothing more, but I think it can be really helpful to get a sense of the overall canopy in Portland when we are having these discussions, particularly since there is a sometimes expressed point of view that every single tree is worth keeping.

    TL&DR version: our canopy is healthy and has increased by nearly 10% since 2000, even while our population is also growing. Portland policy at the time of the presentation was a target canopy of 33%, focusing on specific types and locations.

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/509398

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      q May 6, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      I just read that whole report you referenced, albeit quickly. Can you tell me where it says our tree canopy is healthy? I didn’t see that mentioned. I certainly may have missed it.

      The 10% increase is good, but not great, given that trees grow. If the number of trees had increased by 10%, that would be a lot more impressive.

      There’s some good info in that report, but I didn’t see that it came to any positive conclusions about Portland’s overall tree canopy. If anything, this statement from the top of the report stood out to me:

      “Despite the positives, Portland was rated 4th worst urban heat island in the U.S.” That’s dismal, especially given that Portland isn’t particularly dense.

      I also couldn’t help noticing that the report notes that rights-of-way (the location that’s the subject of this article) are “underperforming” contributors to the tree canopy.

      I’ve also never heard anyone say, “Every single tree is worth keeping”, that you say is a “sometimes expressed” point of view–not that there may be a few people out there somewhere who believe it.

      Also, I understand you referenced the report for what it is–a general overview–but to me overall views aren’t very helpful in discussions of specific projects.

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    Glenn the 2nd May 6, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Cutting trees to pave a bike path certainly produces some cognitive dissonance.

    In 10 years that patch will be a thicket again if not disturbed. In 50, most of us here will be dead, and a Doug fir planted there today might be 100 feet tall.

    Then again, maybe any tree left standing is just fuel for the coming fires. What does climate change look like in Oregon? Fire.

    “Save Me” says the young man. Save him from the disabling or life-ending injury he’s always one mistake away from. Save him from his low wage and grim economic prospects. Save him from the real-estate, education and healthcare Ponzi schemes that benefit early arrivers at his expense.

    Trees provide not only picture frames but whole houses for us, from which to oPINE (get it, get it?) on this thread.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 7, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I am closing the comment section. I regret not monitoring them more closely. I am in the process of moderating and deleting if necessary.

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