Public Works to remove trees from Main Street median next week

Sean C. Morgan

After some delays, Sweet Home Public Works will begin removing five trees from the Main Street median strip planters Dec. 30.

The work will continue through Dec. 31 if necessary. During that time, traffic will be restricted to one lane in both directions between 12th and 18th avenues while Public Works staff is working.

The Park and Tree Committee recommended during its meeting on Oct. 23 the removal and replacement of the trees.

“Sometimes our urban trees outgrow the space in which they have been planted,” said Park and Tree Committee Vice Chairwoman Lena Tucker. “Removal of these trees allows for opportunities to plant new trees and shrubs, which can add diversity and beauty to our surroundings.”

Three of the five trees are now pushing up against the concrete planters, said Public Works Director Greg Springman, and they’re going to start cracking the planters.

As trees mature in the parks and along the streets, regular inspections help identify changes in a tree’s health, said Lagea Mull, city communications specialist. Disease, insects and damage from the elements can become serious problems for the tree and the safety of the public.

Street trees have a “life plan” and must be removed before causing damage, Mull said.

The Park and Tree Committee is in the process of determining the best tree species for the median planters and downtown corridor, Mull said.

The city had announced plans in early November to remove the trees late in the month.

“We wanted to be careful,” Springman said. “We knew the median trees are something the community loves. We wanted to be sure that we first got the information out there and let it marinate.”

Other projects then interrupted the plans, he said. One was replacement of a water line.

Operations Manager Dominic Valloni thought it might be better to go ahead and wait until after Christmas, anticipating less traffic than usual at that point.

Trees slated for removal include the easternmost, located in front of Les Schwab Tire Center west of 18th Avenue. The tree is leaning, and branches have been broken by passing truck traffic, Springman said. The city also will take down the next tree to the west, located in front of McCool Millworks and west of the crosswalk.

The next two trees to the west will stay, but the fifth tree, in front of Safeway, is coming out. The next two trees to the west will stay. The next two trees, in front of the Rio Theater and Figaro’s Pizza, are coming out.

Members of the Park and Tree Committee are Chairman Wally Shreves, Tucker, Vice Chairwoman Alice Smith, Nancy Patton, Bob Dalton, Debra Sue Northern, James Curtis and City Councilor Dave Trask.