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City arborist says no to Parker plan

A local resident's proposal to remove trees on his property has proven to be unpopular with the city of Lake Oswego, as well as nearby residents.

Developer Jeff Parker's request to remove 16 trees on his property failed to sway David Odom, an arborist and associate planner with the city.

Odom on Friday issued a 10-page response to Parker's request to remove the trees so he could clear a path for a 16-foot-wide driveway at his new home at 1500 North Shore Road.

'There's a reason for each tree (removal) to be denied, but the bottom line is all 16 were denied,' said City Attorney David Powell.

Parker, who did not return a call for comment, has until Dec. 14 to appeal the decision to the city's Development Review Commission.

If there is an appeal, it could be heard before the end of January, Powell said.

'We're very pleased,' said Shelley Lorenzen, vice chairwoman of the Country Club/North Shore Neighborhood Association. 'If he appeals, he can expect another fight.'

The tree removal application was filed last week by Terrence Flanagan of Teragan and Associates. In his application, Flanagan said one of the trees was 'much closer to the home than originally anticipated.'

In response, Odom said Flanagan and Parker did not demonstrate why removing that tree was necessary.

'A mere statement that it is four to six inches from the eave does not, by itself, show that there is a need for tree removal for development,' said Odom.

In another instance, Flanagan asked to remove a tree to make way for a lawn area. But, Odom said, the plans for the property show that mitigation trees would be planted in the same area where the tree is to be taken down.

'It is inconsistent with the stated purpose to remove trees in order to create a lawn and then plant trees within the proposed lawn area,' he wrote.

Removing several other trees could compromise soil stability and allow erosion, because their root systems would not be there to anchor the slope, Odom said.

In addition, Odom said removing some of the trees that create an 'edge' on the property to block wind could hurt trees on the interior portion of the property.

'Removal of these important edge trees might increase the likelihood of interior tree failure due to the interior trees lack of wind firmness,' he said. That could result in a 'significant risk' of interior trees falling down from high winds.

Lastly, Odom pointed out that trees provide scale, shelter, year-round color, habitat value and aesthetic quality.'

'Removal of the proposed trees would have significant negative impact on the character of the neighborhood,' he said.

He also pointed out that Parker, in an earlier land-use application had vowed to preserve a stand of trees along the south side of North Shore. Now, Odom pointed out, he proposes to remove the same trees he earlier had said were valuable.

Lorenzen said she felt the city's response to Parker's application was thorough and well researched.