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Instead of being a lapdog, city should be a watchdog

Gresham's welcome mat for developers looks more like a red carpet … and I regrettably have a close-up view. Across my back fence a once-wooded 1.4 acres with two houses has been clearcut. Twenty-five packed-in condos are the plan.

Twenty of the 88 regulated trees, 8-inch in diameter or more, were planned to be saved, but five of the 20 ended up destroyed/cut down. That's a 25 percent failure in tree protection. This five-tree disaster is just one of the nine violations. (Seven others related to tree protection.) And to me it's five violations, not just one.

Of course, a mitigation plan is in the works, but why does Gresham decide no fine is required? Noting that city code provides for both mitigation and penalties - $500 for each violation, shows Gresham doing only half its job.

Fines help everyone to be more careful next time. But this developer gets only a mitigation - slap on the wrist - no fine to help him avoid such tree destruction in the future.

It's clear to me that Gresham chooses the role of a developer's lapdog, rather than the role of a tree valuing/protecting watchdog.

LINDA SCHALDACH

Portland