Protesters vs chainsaws over trees in Portland

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Giant century-old trees targeted for takedown in Southeast Portland have a number of people ready and willing to do what may be necessary to save them.

A cluster of trees was already taken down near SE 41st Avenue and Clinton Street, with 2 more set for removal. Residents in the area don’t seem opposed to the development surrounding it, but don’t understand why the trees need to be taken out.

Some protesters have said they are willing to chain themselves to the trees to stop their removal.

Protester Cherie Collins said all they want is for people to respect the trees.

“If they’re 100 years old or greater or close to that 100 year mark, they belong to the community,” Collins said. “I mean this is Portland. We love our trees, we love our canopy.”

One of the protesters, Elizabeth Bennett, climbed the tree in a pre-emptive move to stop its removal.

“We’re just asking looking for an answer to the question ‘How do we change this?'” she said.

Portland’s Bureau of Development Services told KOIN 6 News the developer is allowed to cut these trees down City Ordinance Title 11, the city’s new tree regulations.

The 102-page ordinance took effect in January, but some changes are being considered and public comment will be included later this year.

But neighbors say every tree cut down is an unnecessary loss.

“I think there’s a point where a tree reaches maturity and it belongs to the community,” Collins said.

Another concerned neighbor, John Roberts, said, “If these trees can’t be saved then we hope that the next ones can be, that the laws can be amended and citizens can be more informed as to what they can do to prevent this.”

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