A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

City agrees to try to save this tree

Written August 11th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The sequoia at Teloh Calapooia Park, seen on Aug. 8, will be allowed to stay, at least for a while.

There’s a tree at the back entrance to Teloh Calapooia Park in South Albany, and its roots are causing trouble. But a plan to take it out has been set aside for now after people in the neighborhood asked the parks department to take another look.

The tree, a sequoia, stands next to a concrete path into the park from Tamarack Court, close to the sidewalk and a ramp for wheelchair access. The roots have caused damage, repaired with asphalt patches in the walk.

Signs on the trunk and elsewhere alerted passers-by that the tree would be taken down this month. That prompted a number of emails to the city parks department — and a couple to me. I went to take a look on Saturday.

On Monday, Rick Barnett, the park and facilities maintenance manager, told me that Ray Kopczynski, the former council member who lives in the neighborhood, had been working with the parks crew on possible solutions.

So, the parks department will try to save the tree. It is considering pulling the concrete panels near it and checking the roots, and then replacing the panels or, if they’re broken, using asphalt instead.

“It’s a nice sequoia but it isn’t historic or even particularly old,” Barnett said. “It is certainly worth saving if we can.”

So how old is that tree? You can’t tell exactly unless you cut it and count the rings. By my estimate  — based on the similar size of a sequoia we planted in front of our house — it’s about 20 to 30 years old.

For now, anyway, it may get the chance to keep growing there for a few more years. But, as Barnett put it, “there are no guarantees. It all depends on what we find.” (hh)

The sidewalk, manhole cover and wheelchair ramp near the path into Teloh Calapooia Park.

6 responses to “City agrees to try to save this tree”

  1. Floyd Collins says:

    Suggestion: don’t use a hard surface replacement. Remove existing conflicts and replace with raised pressure treated timbers graded to maintain handicap standards and allow access to existing manholes via access panels.

    We looked at this type of options for the sequoia trees along S Waverly over 20 years ago. We didn’t select that option since there was adequate open space to route a concrete sidewalk around both trees.

    Be creative!

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Thanks Floyd – I passed your idea on to Rick. :-)

    • Patricia Eich says:

      Thanks for that idea Floyd. I live on Looney Lane just up the street from the park. I did email Emily Day at Parks and Rec asking if they could consider alternatives like maybe moving the sidewalk over to the area now covered by blackberry bushes. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    The main issue[s] are the roots of the Sequoia impacting the infrastructure. One of the options is to “prune” the offending roots, but that might simply exacerbate/accelerate the demise of the tree and it will have to come out sooner. Several options being looked at (including asphalt). Any/all of them better then simply taking down the tree IMHO.

  3. John S Klock says:

    What other public input do you need to save this tree? Please let me/other readers know. Worth doing and I’d like to remind everyone to protect your oaks as well. We are losing them in the valley very fast.

  4. Mark Avery says:

    Thank you Hasso, Ray, Patricia & The City of Albany for reviewing the options for this tree. Three Corvallis schools (so far) never received any time frame on their renaming decision.


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