> What happened to the trees?
That was a common question to anyone passing along north Madras the past few days.
Approximately 60 trees were recently planted as part of the north Madras entrance improvement project, in the island area south of McDonald's and north of the highway interchange. About a week later, they were all suddenly removed.
The trees planted, a type of juniper, were selected by the project's architects, Walker-Macy, of Portland. However, city of Madras public works employee Sandy Toms knew right away that the specific trees would not thrive in the specific soil conditions, according to Madras City Administrator Mike Morgan.
"We notified Walker-Macy and they came down and did a soil analysis, and they said, 'You're right,'" said Morgan.
Morgan noted the trees planted were susceptible to calcium toxicity. A more hearty evergreen juniper will soon be planted.
Morgan added that Walker-Macy will be paying for the tree changeover, and he estimated that cost to be between $7,000 and $10,000.
"I view it as we are lucky that we had an alert and smart staff member," said Morgan in praise of Toms. "Otherwise, in a few years, we would have had a bunch of dead trees."