The Children’s Farm Home will look different — more bare — to drivers on the way to Corvallis on Highway 20. Twenty-six towering black walnuts and one elm along the highway are being cut down.
The work had started when Jenny Brausch drove past on Monday night and noticed that all the trees lining the highway had green ribbons on them. “My heart is heavy for the thought of all of them being cut down,” she wrote when she asked me what I knew about it.
Portland-based Trillium Family Services is the Farm Home’s parent organization, which decided the trees should come down. Its senior vice president for external affairs, John Donovan, gave me the background today.
The trees go back to the beginning of the Farm Home in 1922 and were probably planted around that time. There was a safety concern, Donovan told me, because many of the trees were nearing the end of their natural lives and were threatening to drop heavy branches, posing a risk for the staff and others.
Also there’s a planned project to improve that section of Highway 20. That, according Donovan, will cut 25 feet into the Farm Home property along the length of its frontage, about four-tenths of a mile, in order to improve driveway access and establish a bike lane. Trillium expects this to be done in 2021/22.
Given the pending highway work and the present safety concerns, Donovan said Trillium decided to take down the trees now.
The organization hopes to plant a new row of trees behind the fence line fronting the highway to establish a visual border. But that won’t be done until the highway work is finished.
With that much longtime scenery being altered along a highway with maybe 20,000 vehicles passing by per day, you would expect a flood of calls. Donovan says he’ll be happy to field questions, but mine today was the first call he got. (hh)