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Rotten trees come down at Pacific

Re-planting plans on Forest Grove campus include Oregon white oaks

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: NANCY TOWNSLEY - A worker with City Wide Tree Services takes a chain saw to the trunk of a birch tree near Warner Hall at Pacific University July 3.Forty-one dead or diseased trees — mostly birches but including other varieties — came down in various locations around Forest Grove’s Pacific University campus last month as a safety precaution, officials said.

Some of the trees were 20 feet tall, while others towered as high as 70 feet. The oldest were planted more than 66 years ago.

The birch trees “had significant root rot, were well beyond their expected life span and were not healthy,” said university spokesman Joe Lang.

During an annual inspection of the school’s trees, a licensed arborist recommended that specific trees be taken down “to avoid any potential injuries,” Lang said. “Over the past year we have had parts of two birch trees fall.”

Removal began June 3. The last of the trees — including 40 on the pathway between Jefferson Hall and Warner Hall near Pacific Avenue — came down Thursday, July 3, when workers from Oak Grove-based City Wide Tree Services pulled them to the ground using ropes.

Other trees came down near the driveway north of Scott Hall and around University Center. “About 10 of them grew together and [we] are removing five of those to promote healthy growth,” noted Lang.

Stump-grinding will follow last week’s tree work, and plans are under way to re-landscape the affected areas, possibly as early as late August.

John Hayes, director of Pacific’s Center for a Sustainable Society, said Tuesday he had recommended planting Oregon white oaks to replace the “columnar birch canopy” along the walkway perpendicular to Pacific Avenue. by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KATE STRINGER - Pieces of about 70 birch trees removed from Pacific Universitys Forest Grove campus last week lay on the ground ready for chipping. Officials said most were dead or diseased.

“Because the university’s identity is bound up with white oaks, it makes sense,” said Hayes, who favors native species on campus. He added the white oaks have a wider canopy and would live to be 150 years old, while birches typically begin failing after 50 years.

         “Pacific is committed to replacing the lost canopy, especially along the Alpha Zeta walk,” a portion of campus dedicated to Pacific alumni who served in World War II, said Hayes.

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