A stand of timber outside Albany: Gone – Hasso Hering

HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A stand of timber outside Albany: Gone

Written December 5th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Looking north from N.W. Palestine Avenue, where a thick stand of timber has been logged.

“Have you been out Palestine Road lately?” Brenda Stevens Herbst asked on Facebook Wednesday. “Logging like crazy. Wonder what’s going on.” I went to take a look on Thursday afternoon, and the photo shows the result.

Our elder son asked me the same thing when he and his wife arrived for Thanksgiving. They had come up Northwest Palestine Avenue, and he was surprised that what he remembered as Otto’s Christmas tree farm was no longer there.

Christmas trees? That was probably 40-some years ago. In the years since, the plantation had grown into a thick forest. The place is just minutes from our neighborhood and once, years ago, I went off the road to explore what looked like a path through those woods, only to hit a root or something and fall off my bike.

What’s been going on now appears to be this. The trees in that stand, totaling about 25 acres according to my measurements on Google Maps, reached a merchantable size and the owners apparently decided the time had come to sell the timber and have it turned into logs to be trucked away.

Benton County records show the timber stood on property that is owned by two people with addresses in Monmouth and in Scottsdale, Ariz. I could not reach them to ask what they intend to do with the acreage once the logs are hauled away.

They two own two parcels there, on the north side of Palestine Avenue, one of 80 acres and the other of 111 acres, according to county records. The land is taxed way below its market value as farm or range land and zoned EFU, for  exclusive farm use. So development of the formerly forested site is impossible or at least highly unlikely. (The property is a couple miles or so outside the Albany urban growth boundary.)

In the Benton County Planning Division, Associate Planner Kristin Anderson checked and sent word that no application for any kind of land use change had been filed on either of the tax lots in question, nor any plans for a barn.

Until I find out differently, the most likely prospect is that until the land is put to some other “exclusive farm use” — maybe trees again, or hazelnuts like much of the rest of the valley — travelers to Palestine will be looking mostly at stumps where green trees used to be. (hh)

N.W. Palestine Avenue on the right, logged-over woodlands on the left on Thursday afternoon.

 

On Google Maps, the site still looks like this.

 

 

 

 



10 responses to “A stand of timber outside Albany: Gone”

  1. centrist says:

    So,
    The landowner made a lawful harvest
    The issue is????

    • Mike says:

      But why now? And why a clear cut? The trees were at about half their productive life. Why not selectively cut to thin and harvest those trees and let the rest grow to 80 years?
      I remember going their for Christmas trees years ago and playing in those woods. It will definitely be a different view when I pass by next time.

      • Ean says:

        I’ve been told in the past that overgrown Christmas tree farms generally don’t make for marketable timber, not sure exactly why though.

  2. Rhea Graham says:

    Hemp farm? It would be very sad if someone cut down a stand of trees to plant Hemp or Hazelnuts… but it happens.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Why?

      • Rhea Graham says:

        Just because the trees were living and cleaning some air for us … makes me sad for something to be killed that doesn’t “have to be” killed. Merry Christmas!
        PS I am a huge Cannabis and Hemp advocate and educator. :)

  3. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    So if my understanding is right this was formally a Christmas tree farm that was let wild? Timber is one of the most renewable resources that we, as a society, consume. They weren’t old oaks or giant sequoias right? I’m glad from what I’ve read, that they can’t build apts or another “gated” community on the property. But by golly if that area is soon “rezoned”

  4. CHEZZ says:

    I live near Palestine, and was so surprised to see the trees being cut and area cleared. I remember Otto on a small vehicle riding through those paths, enjoying his land. He lived just up the hill from the property. He enjoyed his tree heaven; his trees, his land. Yes, it became overgrown and unkept after he passed, but it is still so nice to drive Palestine; the peace and quiet of the rolling hills, farmland, and having remembrance of Otto having his ride!

  5. Wren says:

    Thanks for asking the question Brenda and Hasso for checking into it. I was wondering myself. I stopped and took photos of my own because it is a dramatic change. Stumps are not so pretty. Makes me a little sad.

  6. George Kurtz says:

    According to a local farmer the intent is to replant to trees although any farm crop is possible. The property came into the ownership of the brother of Bob Cook’s wife after first Bob’s death and then his wife’s death. Lots of clean up will be required before any other crop can be planted. Stump removal is labor intensive and expensive.

 

 
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