A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why these street trees have to go

Written November 28th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

You can see how these trees on Washington Street have been trimmed over the years to clear the power lines.

The day before Thanksgiving, a couple of signs caught my eye. They were attached to two trees in the 500 block of Washington Street.

I got off the bike for a closer look. This is what the signs said:


This section of Washington Street is in the heart of the Monteith Historic District, and many of the street trees there are pretty old. Seems like a shame to remove mature trees that add to the visual character of that part of town, I thought.

As the signs suggest, I contacted Rick Barnett, the city’s park facilities and maintenance manager who runs Albany’s urban forestry program.

The trees in this case are black walnuts, and Barnett thinks they are somewhat less than 100 years old. But he’s guessing and says they might be older. The house they stand in front of dates from 1867.

The layman might not be able to tell, but Barnett says these two trees are in very bad shape. Time and again they have been trimmed to keep the upper limbs from interfering with the overhead power lines.

Pacific Power and the homeowner asked for the trees to be removed, Barnett told me. The power company plans to do the removing and is working with the city to replace them with trees better suited to the location under the wires.

“Over time we will likely see more issues on Washington as there are some really large street trees,” Barnett wrote in an email. ” Several have been badly impacted by power lines.”

It’s too bad that mature but weakened trees on Albany streets sometimes have to be cut down. But it can’t be helped, for the alternative is to wait until a massive limb comes crashing down on somebody’s car. (hh)

4 responses to “Why these street trees have to go”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I used to live on Washington Street in a previous life.

    One day the city came by and asked if they could plant a tree in the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and street in front of my historical home.

    My response? Are you f______g kidding me?

    You say “But it can’t be helped…”

    I say, yes it can.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      “F_________g kidding” you?

      FRICKING right?!?! I fill in blanks.

      Now back to G U N S …….

  2. Mike Ely says:

    Definitely the wrong type of tree for that space. Too bad they’ve been chopped for years by the power company. Black walnut is wonderful wood.

  3. Bob Zybach says:

    Those trees look a lot younger than 100 years, and yes, they have been grotesquely deformed by bad placement and worse pruning. Same problems in most western Oregon towns, cities, roads, and highways. More trees is not better, and poorly located and maintained trees should be put out of their misery. I suggest native flowering prairie plants and grasses, or vine maple if people are adamant about needing trees in these locations.


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