PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – People in a southwest Portland neighborhood are frustrated with the city for not removing a tree that is now in a family’s front yard after this week’s winter storm.
A Portland family is thankful no one was hurt when a massive part of the giant oak tree collapsed in their front yard near Southwest 16th and Clifton Monday morning.
The mother of the family, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety, told KOIN 6 News “we were all in shock.”
“We were standing in the window looking at the snow this morning when it came down and it missed us by feet,” the mother said. “My youngest daughter was very upset she was screaming and crying, it was very scary.”
She says in January, she told someone with Urban Forestry – the division of Portland Parks and Recreation in charge of tree maintenance — that the tree was a danger to the neighborhood.
“We’ve had a big limb fall on the sidewalk right here where my kids play and people walk everyday,” she explained.
KOIN 6 News found out it wasn’t just the homeowner who voiced concern about the tree. In January, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) filed for a permit to remove the tree, but the request was denied by Urban Forestry.
Details from the permit on portlandmaps.com shows PBOT believed the tree was a safety hazard.
KOIN 6 News reached out to PBOT who said they wanted to remove the tree after getting a complaint about a tripping hazard on the corner.
According to neighbors, the roots of the tree had lifted the sidewalk and caused someone to trip. Instead of granting the removal, PBOT says Urban Forestry told them to work around it. PBOT says they finished fixing the sidewalk on March 10.
Just one month later, this family’s fears of the tree being no match for Mother Nature were realized.
“This is exactly what we’ve been worried about, this is exactly why we wanted them to remove the tree or allow us to remove the tree,” the mother said.
The city has a strict policy about tree removal because they want to maintain canopy. KOIN 6 News asked Urban Forestry about this ordeal and what it takes to deem a tree hazardous and remove it.
They said they are busy cleaning up hundreds of piles of tree debris from the storm this week and will look into it next week.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.