A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Trimming trees to preserve the view

Written May 26th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The view of the Willamette River from the ground floor of the Wheelhouse Building (right) on May 23, 2024.

Let’s catch up with the loose ends left by the May 14 story about trimming the small trees and bushes on the Willamette riverbank in front of Linn County’s Wheelhouse Building.

The operation by a landscape contractor ended up cutting small trees a few feet above the ground, causing onlookers to question why this was being done.

The City of Albany, which owns the steep strip of land between the Wheelhouse and the river, said it had not authorized the cutting. The county understood that the previous owner of the Wheelhouse had the city’s OK to trim the riverside trees.

The county contracted with a Tangent company to do the trimming for $2,490.

“The goal was to trim the trees/shrubs to about the height of the top of the railing, which clearly was exceeded and not what was expected,” Alex Paul, the Linn County communications officer, wrote in an email.

“Linn County paid $6.4 million for what is arguably one of the nicest office buildings in Albany and the goal was to retain a nice view,” he added.

On my usual bike ride along the Dave Clark Path last Thursday, I took another look at the scene. And it looked as though the job was not yet finished. The section of the bank directly in front of the building still needed to be trimmed.

Trees in Oregon are not supposed to be felled or trimmed during times when this might interfere with migratory birds, and from the county came this:

“The Wheelhouse project is on hold until the fall to make sure there are no migratory bird issues.”

Trees and bushes grow fast along the Willamette River. When this Wheelhouse trim job is complete, it will take only a few years before it will have to be done again. (hh)

4 responses to “Trimming trees to preserve the view”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    ““The Wheelhouse project is on hold until the fall to make sure there are no migratory bird issues.””

    Or to hope the public forgets. Why do they need a view? What kind of view did they have in their previous digs IF ANY? They’re suppose to work. They can go outside and look on their lunch period.

  2. Mel Brush says:

    I love trees. We all do. Ten years ago I planted a 10,000-tree orchard. We have a few trees on our farm that were planted in the late 1800s.
    The Wheelhouse building was approved by the city to be built where it is, obviously for the dramatic views. The $6+ million dollar was not built to look at trees. The relatively short span of trees the length of the building, being removed, isn’t an ecological disaster (like draining Green Peter reservoir). Obviously something needs to be there to protect and stabilize the bank. Some shorter vegetation? Or keep pruning the existing trees.

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    If the Wheel House is an office wouldn’t you think that the employees would be busy with their work rather than enjoying the view? In my opinion this is lame reason for “trimming” these trees. If this is a valid reason then how about the views from the two bridges that are obstructed by up and down stream trees?

  4. Mac says:

    Did they have the proper permits from the city for the tree removal? They weren’t trimmed, they were removed and required a permit.


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