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Parker pleads no contest in tree case

West Linn developer Jeff Parker pleaded no contest in Lake Oswego Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon on charges he damaged four trees on his lot on North Shore Road, killing a mature Douglas fir.

He faced $28,555 in fines in connection with the charges. A decision on those penalties was not available by press time.

The city of Lake Oswego stopped work on development on Parker's lot in May for tree code violations there. He is building his own luxury home on Oswego Lake on the site.

At that time, city officials cited Parker for three violations to four trees on the property. The violations included a failure to maintain proper tree protections, excavation near the roots of trees and removal of roots of protected trees. Four trees were affected by problems, including a 37-inch Douglas fir, which was later removed because of damage and represents the greatest portion of potential penalties.Violation of the city's tree and building code continue to stoke tensions between Parker and neighbors at the Forest Hills Easement to the east of the property. Neighbors from the easement and the Country Club/South Shore Neighborhood Association have steadily fought Parker on his project, aiming to scale down both the size of the home being built there and its impact on neighborhood trees.

The city of Lake Oswego previously released the developer from 10 tree code violations as part of its effort to mediate troubles between Parker and those neighbors. He faced more than $6,000 in fines for the violations, which were set aside in March as part of a settlement between the two groups.

The tree code violations in May emerged after that settlement took hold. The agreement paved the way for construction to begin on the lot. Three years of appeals and negotiations had steadily stalled the process until then.

Additional problems on the site emerged again this month, when city officials also sent letters questioning the scope and scale of retaining walls on the North Shore lot.

In a recent letter to Parker, a city code enforcer asked for detailed plans on how landscaping - which is mandatory between retaining walls - would fit in the narrow space between walls on Parker's site. It also noted one of two walls on the lot is six feet high, two feet higher than the regulated four feet, and that Parker had no building permit for the second retaining wall.

Resolution of those issues is also pending.