Controversial giant sequoia tree ‘poisoned’ in NE Portland

Multnomah County

Property owners say they found five holes drilled into the tree's trunk

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A controversial giant sequoia tree that stands between two Northeast Portland homes has reportedly been vandalized.

The property owners who have been fighting to save the tree told KOIN 6 News they recently discovered five holes drilled about 12 inches deep into the tree’s trunk. Claire Bollinger said a toxicology report concluded the tree was poisoned.

The city’s Urban Forestry Division declared the tree a nuisance in April of 2020 because the root system is damaging the foundation of a home next door and ordered it to be removed. The owner of the neighboring home said the house has been deemed a hazardous structure that is unlivable and it’s been vacant for more than three years.

KOIN 6 learned the property the giant sequoia is growing on was about to be sold to a developer who was planning to save the tree.

“The worst thing is we had the house pretty much sold — we could have been done with it, we’re happy with the deal, everything was going good, and then this happens,” said Theo Smith.

“We were completely blindsided by this poisoning thing, we have no idea who or why anybody would do this,” said Carole Johnson-Smith.

The couple trying to save the tree have filed several appeals with the city and lost. They are now appealing to Multnomah County Circuit Court.

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