Tree cutting began Thursday along Albany’s Willamette Riverfront to prepare for the city’s “Waterfront Project.” Posted signs said the operation would go through Feb. 28.
Several crews with Mountain View Tree Service of Salem were busy in Monteith Riverpark and along the western segment of the Dave Clark Riverfront Path.
The city parks department said trees close to the Community Center would be coming down Saturday and the center would not be accessible then. The work is set for the weekend “to limit the impact on our Monday-Friday programs and patrons.”
Some of the trees to be removed in the park are in the way of planned changes there, including a summertime splash pad for children. Other trees were judged to be weak, a potential danger, or otherwise problematic.
More than 800 trees in the project area were evaluated and 84 were marked for removal, the city said. The riverfront design calls for 3,000 new plantings, including street trees on Water Avenue.
On Wednesday night, a woman spoke to the city council via Zoom and asked that the tree removal be called off in view of what she called a climate crisis. She spoke under “business from the public,” and as is customary, the council didn’t respond.
As for the climate, no crisis has been apparent around here. For what it’s worth, though, the tree cutting Thursday took place in an ice-cold wind with showers that mixed rain, snow and hail.
The riverfront project, a $15 million venture by Albany’s CARA urban renewal district, calls for updating Monteith Park and the Dave Clark Path, along with the western few blocks of Water Avenue.
The city staff has told the council that the project has ignited interest in private development along the riverfront that would yield economic gains for the community and a budget boost for local taxing entities such as the city and county.
The urban renewal program is intended to bring about economic improvement. If and when this result can be shown for the riverfront project, people may forget their dismay at the removal of some trees. (hh)