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Parker again seeks OK to remove trees

A request by developer Jeff Parker to remove trees on his lakeside property has rekindled a battle that neighbors thought they had already won.

Earlier this month Parker submitted a tree-removal application with the city of Lake Oswego for his home, under construction at 1500 North Shore Road.

Parker wants to take down 14 Douglas fir and madrone trees, to clear a path for a 16-foot-wide driveway. The driveway would be for off-street parking.

In addition to the 14 trees for the driveway, a 15th tree would be removed to make way for lawn area. A 16th tree is 'much closer to the home than originally anticipated, given the location that was shown on surveys and plans,' according to Teragan and Associates, an arboricultural consulting firm that filed the tree-removal request on behalf of Parker.

The home is within 14 to 16 inches of the tree, and that gap will be narrowed when the gutters are installed, according to Terrence Flanagan of Teragan and Associates.

On Monday, the Country Club/North Shore Neighbor-hood Association submitted to the city its written objection to Parker's request.

'We've crossed this bridge already and have a settlement agreement saying he would remove only 14 trees,' said Shelley Lorenzen, vice chairwoman of the neighborhood association. 'We've been fighting this battle for years and years.'

Those original 14 trees already have been removed; Parker is seeking to cut down 16 more.

Lorenzen said her group argued successfully in 2006 to allow Parker to cut down just 14 trees, instead of his original request for 37 trees. She said he then illegally severed the roots of the largest Douglas fir tree on the site and was fined by the city. The tree had to be removed.

With the recent tree removal application, she said, Parker is 'trying to achieve what he always wanted to do,' by cutting down an additional 16 trees.

Parker could not be reached for comment.

Lorenzen said her association is frustrated by the fact that it must do battle with Parker on an issue that the city had already decided.

City Attorney David Powell said a decision by the city is expected in the next few days.

In the application, Flanagan wrote that removing the trees will not cause problems with erosion.

He said the driveway 'will be constructed in a manner to ensure that the slope above the driveway will not erode.'

He added that there will not be a significant negative impact on the neighborhood character or aestheics.

'The improvement of the property with the construction of the high quality new home and the installation of a landscape should increase the property values of the neighborhood,' he wrote.

In addition, he said Parker will plant 16 six-foot-tall Douglas firs along the north and west side of the property.

'The treed character will be retained and enhanced for the long-term future,' he said.

Lorenzen said removing the trees would have significant impacts on wind breaks provided by the trees, as well as erosion problems.

'If you remove these big trees and their roots, you're going to have erosion and surface runoff issues which will mean more water running into Oswego Lake.'

She added that there would be significant impact on the character of the neighborhood if the additional trees are cut down.

George Van Ginhoven, chair of the Country Club/North Shore Neighborhood Assoc-iation, said Parker's request is an abuse of the city planning system.

'To ask again for removal of the same (and more) trees for the same purpose makes a mockery of the public process that went before and should be treated by the city as an abuse of public process by Mr. Parker,' he wrote. 'He could have re-designed the house before it was built to provide more parking at the east end of the house, but he did not do so.'