HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

At Takena Landing, checking out a theft of burls

Written July 29th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

On the Eagle Trail at Takena Landing on Saturday afternoon: The wounds left by burl thieves.

City Manager Peter Troedsson told the Albany City Council in his weekly “Friday Report” about a case of tree vandalism and theft in Takena Landing Park. Saturday I took a ride along the park’s Eagle Trail to see for myself.

On two trunks of what I think is a great old cluster of big-leaf maples, someone had used a chainsaw to cut off four burls and make off with them.

The same kind of vandalism has recently been reported in parks in Corvallis.

Burls? From the website TreeNewal: “A burl is defined as a rounded outgrowth on a tree that is usually woody and deformed. Burls can be small or large, and they often have an irregular shape. While they may look similar to tumors, they are actually benign growths that occur in response to different environmental stresses. Burls are typically found on the trunk or branches of trees, but they can also occur on the roots.”

Maples are among the species that commonly develop burls. And because of their intricate patterns when sliced into boards, burls may be valuable to woodworkers.

But what happens when they’re cut off living trees? Again, from TreeNewal.com: “Occasionally, burls can be harvested from trees without harming them, but not if it will make a large wound on the tree.”

On the Eagle Trail trees, it’s clear that the wounds are very large. Two of them are on a living tree.

Troedsson told the council: “City Forester Jay Sharpe estimates total damages of $9,200.  Illegal removal of burls from healthy, living trees makes them more susceptible to damage from insects and disease, eventually killing the tree in many cases.  Community members are urged to call the [police department] non-emergency line at 541-917-7680 if they hear chainsaws in Albany parks after 3 PM on a weekday or at any time during the weekend.”

The trail runs from the Takena Landing parking lot east for 1.5 miles on the north side of the Willamette River. About one-third of the way in, you see where the burls where sawn off.

With a surface of packed dirt and only occasional roots sticking up, this wooded trail along the river is great for runners, walkers and people on fat-tire bikes. If you see one of them with a chainsaw, call the cops. (hh)

Two burls were cut off the trunk of a live tree in this cluster.

 





11 responses to “At Takena Landing, checking out a theft of burls”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    The world is full of complete jerks!

  2. chris j says:

    With the increasing focus on cutting trees down in the city, it is not surprising that people will take advantage of this trend. When you show disrespect for anything it becomes less protected and open to acts of abuse. The city has made it very clear that nothing is safe here anymore. Your home, your way of life and your trees are all up for grabs to anyone who chooses to take it.

  3. CHEZZ says:

    Perhaps some outdoor cameras can be set up to catch this chain saw massacre person.
    If not, he will just move on to another off the beat location.

  4. Randall Harris says:

    I saw those same cuts on a bike ride on June 23. Damn thieves!!!

  5. Hartman says:

    We could blame it on the homeless, but typically they don’t carry chain saws – too bulky and messy.

    We could blame shiftless graffiti artists, but they are more into compressed cans.

    Or, we could simply blame it on Burl Thieves – greed-filled wood carvers determined to enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense – particularly the affected trees.

    If you read Hasso’s adventures with any regularity, it seems he continually finds one problem or another as he meanders Albany’s wooded paths. Perhaps the City should close all paths until such time as behavior improves. Otherwise, we honorable citizens will be forced to pay for continuing difficulties such as burl theft.

  6. Connie says:

    Save your photos. A nice varnished/polished burl with a clock face or painting and identical outline may show up at an art fair (think Art and Air or the Christmas event at the fairgrounds). It would be like a fingerprint…

  7. David Cross says:

    Albany’s Burcham’s Metals has been recognized numerous times for their efforts to combat metal theft, perhaps the local exotic hardwood buyer(s) in the Albany area could be persuaded to step forward and end their complicity with the dirty end of what they refer to as “sustainability”. Theft of merchantable resources does not occur unless there is a willing local buyer.

  8. Randall Harris says:

    David Cross, what makes you think the thieves are selling the burl to ‘exotic hardwood buyers’? Do you have some inside information we should know about? I can’t even think of any one who calls themselves an exotic wood buyer. But what do I know.

    Normal everyday craftsmen could be the crooks. (round up the usual suspects) :-)

  9. Tami Wood says:

    I was on the trail today (8/24/2023 4 pm) and a person looking like a transient passed me on a John Deere Gator type vehicle that was red – possibly Kabota or Honda? He didn’t seem like a city of Albany parks employee as he forced my dog and I to yield to him on the trail and was speeding. He was more than 1 mile in – we hadn’t made it to the end but was east of the irrigation road. Thought it was odd someone was operating a farm type motorized vehicle on the trail. I called Albany Police but they didn’t care because he “wasn’t breaking any laws”. I told them it was odd someone looking like a transient was operating a motor vehicle on a walking trail that has had recent thefts. I guess not suspicious enough to warrant a response. Plus they would have had to walk a ways to investigate on an 82 degree day.

 

 
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