Damage, age add up to the end for chamber redwood

Sean C. Morgan

For many years, the redwood tree behind the Chamber of Commerce towered above the downtown area and served as the Sweet Home community’s Christmas tree.

Chris Jensen, Joe Horn and Dustin Ferebee of All Around Tree Care finished taking down the tree Sunday afternoon.

It had served as a Christmas tree until it burned some 15 years. The fire torched the south side of the tree. The south side of the trunk remained blackened where touched by fire.

Evidence of its history was plentiful.

“There’s a lot of Christmas lights up there,” Jensen said Sunday, pointing to a large black cable that ran up the side of the tree.

Jensen and his crew found the lights tangled up in the branches, and when they cut the top off, they recovered the star from the tip.

The tree was growing on the southeast corner of the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce property, next to a fence dividing a high school parking lot from the Chamber of Commerce.

To remove the tree, Jensen and his crew had to take care to avoid damaging the fence. They opened up one panel of the fence and partially limbed the tree Friday, feeding the branches through the opening in the fence into a wood chipper in the high school parking lot.

Sunday morning, they cut the top of the tree, cleared away the remaining branches and wood and then cut down the remaining stump, without touching the fences or buildings around it.

“It was showing signs of age,” said chamber Executive Director Katrina Crabtree. It was losing needles and slowly deteriorating.

Jensen said it wasn’t in the worst shape, but it had problems near the top.

At the same time, the tree was ripping up the high school parking lot and the neighbor’s yard, Crabtree said. It had dropped branches into the neighbor’s yard.

“The chamber board decided a couple months back” to remove it, Crabtree said. When the high winds warnings came with October storms, the tree had some crisscrossed branches that worried chamber officials.

The tree “hasn’t been aging well,” she said.

The resulting log will be used for the chainsaw carving event during Sportsman’s Holiday next summer, Crabtree said.

The chamber is planning to remove a smaller tree from behind its auxiliary building as well, Crabtree said.