Farm Home downs 27 big roadside trees – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Farm Home downs 27 big roadside trees

Written August 19th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

It looked like this today outside the Children’s Farm on Highway 20 in Corvallis.

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)

Man and machine at work on the downed wood this morning.


The trees are being taken down branch by branch before the trunks are cut.

18 responses to “Farm Home downs 27 big roadside trees”

  1. Rick says:

    Must be nice not to be in the city limits.

  2. Christopher Marston says:

    Hope the trees gets donated to the South Albany High School wood shop project to be dried, milled and shared with other vocational programs.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      You think they need the income more than the “troubled youth” that actually live at the Farm Home?
      The prudent thing is to turn them into income and apply to their operating expenses to require less $$$ from the taxpayers.

      • hj.anony1 says:

        This! Yes I know. Squeeze any $$ out of those cut trees now. AND PUT TOWARS the YOUTH!

        And, of course, plant seedlings!

      • Phil Ayer says:

        I doubt any money sent to Trillium will improve conditions for the children. That is a for-profit institution.

  3. John Klock says:

    I hope that the Children’s Farm Home will plant native trees and shrubs for wildlife including those that benefit birds and bees. It would be a big plus for the community to have a model habitat restoration project for all to see on HW 20. Perhaps the board of the organization will also consider climate change and making the site more biologically diverse.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Where did the wood used to build your house come from?

    Where did the printed pages of the DH & GT & your favorite book come from?

    How did the street that runs in front of your house get constructed?

    It’s a fact of life – for there to be progress, old things have to replaced by new things.

    Except when it comes to buildings in downtown Albany where retrogression is imposed with extreme consequences for non-compliance.

  5. Gordon Steffensmeier says:

    Black walnut is valuable furniture wood. They should make quite a lot of money selling the larger pieces to someone who will turn it into furniture.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      I know local grown walnut is NOT suitable for gun stocks. Not sure about furniture.
      It’s a climate thing.

      • Mac says:

        You are definitely wrong! Ever hear of Goby walnut and Oregon black walnut? Some ofb the nicest gunstocks you’ve ever seen!

  6. PC says:

    Googling ‘black walnut life expectancy” shows 150-400 years. If planted in 1922 are they nearing the end of their natural lives?

    • Arch Mike says:

      May I ask why you are asking? With a little basic math and the numbers you have already established one can easily determine these trees are only about 98 years old. If they have a life expectancy of 150 – 400 years than they would have had at least another 52 to possibly 302 years of life left. So NO is the answer to your question, these trees weren’t anywhere near the end of their life.

      • Dad McKay says:

        I think he was asking because in the text of the story it refers to the trees nearing the end of their natural lives. As you point out, the math doesn’t seem to bear that out.

  7. CHEZZ says:

    Yes, black walnut is a beautiful wood and can be utilized for furniture, or even turned for fine bowls and artist’s creations. I am aware of a local home utilizing this wood for interior beams and a staircase. Hoping the right folks have access to the wood.

  8. Arch Mike says:

    Honestly I find it pretty sad that these gorgeous trees are getting cut down, especially considering it was completely avoidable with a little common sense. As someone who’s property is going to be directly affected by these supposed safety upgrades and as someone who has lived and commuted on highway 20 for 13 years I find it troubling that ODOT hasn’t directly contacted property owners and asked our opinions on what the road needs for safety upgrades since we are the ones who use it the most every day!

    Just like the proposed bike path by public works department, ODOT does not do a good job of informing the public about meetings and what is going on, one has to be actively looking and paying attention, but we can’t pay attention to everything, people are pulled tight with work, family and other issues. Why do you think we have a privately owned central bank that literally steals money from you every day? Too many people just don’t pay attention!

    In my opinion, as someone who has navigated this road safely for 19 years and as someone who has lived on this road for 13 years without incident, I do not think it is the road that is unsafe, it is some of the drivers who don’t pay attention to the speed limit signs and other surroundings. Just come to my house and watch how many drivers come flying around the corner by Waldorf School doing 50-55 mph when they should be at 45, come watch how many people come flying around the same corner jump into the oncoming traffic lane to pass someone doing 55-60 when we should not even have a passing lane in this area at all.

    I think the best “safety upgrades” for the buck would be to delete the passing lanes and reduce the speed limit to 35mph all the way to a little past the farm home where the beautiful trees have already been sacrificed. Similar on the Albany end.

    Not too long ago a car ran off the road and took out a telephone pole, I was out of power and internet for a day. It wasn’t all that late at night so I’m not sure if it was because he fell asleep or was texting or something on the phone, but he just ran off the road, no excuses, he just wasn’t paying attention for whatever reason. It was dark, all I saw was power and cable lines down up my driveway and his car covered in lines on the other side of the road.

    A few years ago I hear this nasty rumble and crunching out front late one night, power goes out, I go out to find a lady laying like a ragdoll in the middle of the road about to get run over by another car flying around the corner, luckily someone else already stopped on the side of the road and was trying to slow this car down in the dark. No other car was involved in the wreck, just the driver and passenger who didn’t get tossed 50 feet from the car. No excuses, for whatever reason they just were not paying attention to the speed limit sign and chose to do something like double the speed limit, car couldn’t handle it so it spun out into the ditch rolled many times, nailed a tree, took out mailboxes and a telephone pole on the way.

    My point is it is not the road that is unsafe it is some of the drivers who use the road, simply people should slow down, enjoy life, and pay attention. Which can be helped out by some of the planned safety upgrades with greatly improved cost effectiveness if the speed limit is decreased in the residential ends and even lights put in.

    Putting in the turning lane will effectively delete the passing areas. But for the expense of putting in the turning lane it doesn’t seem worth the cost and in my opinion, as someone who has turned on and off the road for 13 years with trailers, it will not increase the safety of the road much compared to simply slowing the traffic down! I personally will not feel safe sitting in the turn lane waiting to turn into my driveway with cars doing 50 on either side, I like stopping the traffic with me, maybe I sound like an a**, but it feels the safest.

    I could rant on about this road for a long time, but I won’t. At the very least let’s explore some less expensive and invasive methods first for a number of years and see how they increase the safety of the road.

    Wonderful thing about the Oregon State University is it has a Congressional Library:

    “Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks…
    Some people think the Federal Reserve banks are United States Government institutions. They are not Government institutions. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers… In that dark crew of financial pirates there are those who would cut a man’s throat to get a dollar out of his pocket; there are those who send money into States to buy votes to control our legislation; and there are those who maintain an international propaganda for the purpose of deceiving us and of wheedling us into the granting of new concessions which will permit them to cover up their past misdeeds and set again in motion their gigantic train of crime.
    Those 12 private credit monopolies were deceitfully and disloyally foisted upon this country by bankers who came here from Europe and who repaid us for our hospitality by undermining our American institutions.”
    ~ Congressman McFadden June 10, 1932
    ~ Congressional Record, Proceedings and Debates of the Seventy-Second Congress. Vol. 75, Part II, (p 12595-6), United States Government printing office, Washington, 1932.

    Why do you think Section 284 of Title 12 of the United States Code was deemed obsolete? Simply too many people aren’t paying attention!

    • HowlingCicada says:

      There’s a long-term solution to the speed and safety problem. You (and most govt. “skeptics”) probably won’t like it. Use the same technology going into self-driving cars to:

      1 – Warn and/or wake-up the driver.
      2 – Automatically issue a ticket if #1 is ignored.
      3 – Safely de-power the car if #2 is ignored.

      Of course, many legal and ethical details to work out. But I think it’s just as inevitable as the shift in attitude toward drunk driving the last half century.

      • Arch Mike says:

        First off, We all should be skeptical of government, they do perpetuate an unconstitutional central bank that robs us all blind every day. Have you ever read the President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control from Reagan’s administration? Also known as the Grace Commission.

        Second off, especially with these newer cars equipped with GPS, I agree, automatically issue these people a ticket any time they speed… maybe the DMV can make a little money from it so they don’t have to sell all of our personal private information to increase their profits. You do know they do that right?

        I was going to say to put more cameras up in the critical areas and automatically send people tickets, but with your suggestion and the tech in some of the cars today we don’t really need cameras, except for the older cars… so maybe a mix of both.

        Safely de-powering a car going 60 with other cars behind it could cause some issues, maybe a way could be figured out, but after they get enough tickets maybe they will learn or loose the license if they do it too often.

        But I also think cell phones should automatically shut off at a certain speed so people can’t talk or text while driving. I don’t even think people should be allowed to use Bluetooth… it is still a distraction. But this could cause some issues with passengers in the car who want to use the phone… lol.


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