A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

More housing: Before the trees are cut

Written January 15th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The development site at 840 Airport Road, as seen from Franklin Avenue on Jan. 8.

If they haven’t been already, most of the Oregon white oaks on this acreage off Airport Road in Albany’s Santiam Neighborhood will be felled to make room for a planned-unit development of 44 apartments and 11 single-family homes.

But some of the trees are to be saved, and orange plastic fencing marked them off or surrounded them last week.

The Albany Planning Commission approved the development on Aug. 3, 2020. In November, the city issued a conditional permit for tree removal. When I went past there on a bike ride last week, the trees were still standing, some of them were marked off with the orange fencing.

The plan approved by the city says the 6.4-acre site contained 329 trees bigger than 25 inches around, 309 of them Oregon white oaks. The developer planned to cut down 251 of the Oregon white oaks and preserve 58. The trees to be saved are mostly on the east side fronting Airport Road, and others are elsewhere on the site.

The tree-removal permit says it expires on May 18. So chances are that come spring, part of that wooded area off Franklin Avenue will be gone.

According to all the projections, Albany will need plenty of new housing in the next few years. The projections don’t say anything about how the wooded landscape of the city will change as a result. (hh)

The view from Frankin Avenue on Jan. 8.


4 responses to “More housing: Before the trees are cut”

  1. John Klock says:

    This is staggering! Oaks in the Willamette Valley are protected to some degree as a sensitive species at the local, state, and federal level. Quercus garryanna is in steep decline and down to less than 5% of its native range due to cutting. Oaks are significant for their bird habitat in the valley. The city of Albany has an oaks preservation clause in its ordinances somewhere but does not enforce.

  2. Kathryn says:

    Is the wood going to be given to schools for wood class.

  3. Cindy Hodges says:

    With so many people coming to Albany that need housing… where will these people work? We don’t have any new businesses needing that many employees. How will all the new housing developments impact the school system?

  4. Royce Oden says:

    All those people bearing down on us in that caravan coming from south of the border will need some place to live. Why not right here in Albany. It’s not like our local businesses aren’t shutting down or laying off people already. More apartments are exactly what Albany needs right now. Build it and they will come, right! HUD can handle ot I guess.


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