Private property owners are removing it because of storm damage

(This corrects an earlier version of a story that the city plans to remove this tree. The removal is being done by private property owners.)

Photo Credit: GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - This 115-year-old Cedar of Lebanon is slated to come down next week due to damage caused by a storm (see missing branch) two years ago. Owners of a home where a 115-year-old Cedar of Lebanon tree resides are expected to remove the tree soon due to past storm damage.

Located at 16001 S.W. Second St. in Sherwood's Old Town, the tree, which a local historian believes was planted most likely in 1897 or 1898, is scheduled to come down beginning July 29. That’s the day a right-of-way permit has been pulled with plans to control traffic on both Pine and Second streets.

“In general, property owners can remove either five trees or 10 percent of the trees on site, whichever is more, without reason,” a posting on the city of Sherwood’s website reads. “In this particular case, the tree has multiple trunks, and during a storm event in 2012, one of the large branches broke off and did some significant damage to private property.”

Plans are to close sidewalks under the tree and branches until the tree is completely removed, which is expected to be the next day, July 30.

“It will be very noticeable when that tree comes down,” City Manager Joe Gall said during a July 15 Sherwood City Council meeting.

Cedar of Lebanon trees are tall evergreens that are the official emblem of the country of Lebanon and were used to build the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Their wood has been prized for centuries.

City officials say the property owners listed by the assessor’s office of the home on Second Street where the tree stands are Dane Emersen and Cowan DuBose.

June Reynolds, a local historian and author of two books about Sherwood, said she believes the tree was planted in 1897 or 1898 based on a tree ordinance that was enforced by the town marshal, who also personally planted the tree.

“There was a big push across America to plant shade trees (in the late 1800s),” said Reynolds.

The home where the tree sits is known as the “Boston House,” having been once owned by John Boston who came from Montreal, Canada, Reynolds explains in the upcoming August edition of the Sherwood Gazette.

“He came to Sherwood in 1853 and married Nancy Beavert,” she writes. “They had seven or eight children who were happy and loved; they were the work force of the farm, though, at this time, we are not sure where this was.”

Reynolds said one day – she’s not sure exactly where the Bostons were living at the time – a knock on the family’s door resulted in the Bostons receiving a baby basket. Inside that basket was a Native American baby boy, who later grew up in the Boston House on Second Street.

Contacted Monday, Reynolds said she’s upset the tree is coming down.

“I think it’s a travesty,” she said. “That is a huge landmark. The question is how many landmarks are they (the city) going to take down in Sherwood?”

Sherwood resident Patti Spreen said she also wants the tree saved and even wrote a poem about the Cedar of Lebanon.

“My goal is to find a well-qualified, inspired, loving, educated arbor(ist) that has a respect for old growth beauty,” she writes in part of her poem. “That has a desire to preserve.”

Spreen said there is only one Cedar of Lebanon tree left in Portland, which has been “respectfully protected” and marked as a Heritage Tree by the city of Portland.

A Facebook page calling for saving the tree Facebook page devoted to its preservation

Meanwhile, Reynolds said for the same price it costs to take down the Cedar of Lebanon tree, the owners could trim it back enough to make it safe.

The former high school librarian said she’s passionate about wanting to preserve a piece of Sherwood’s history, saying that the tree welcomes people into the city.

“And it’s a rare tree. How many Cedar of Lebanon trees have you seen?”

Reynolds goes one step further in stressing her anger that the tree will be removed, saying she would go to great lengths to prevent the tree from coming down next week.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “I’m going to chain myself to the tree.”

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