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Commission says one Orenco tree must go


The Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday morning approved moving forward with a design process for an urban plaza adjacent to the Orenco MAX station.

The plan includes keeping two of three oak trees in the area and bulldozing a third. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - The Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Commission decided Tuesday that two of three oak trees adjacent to the Orenco MAX station will be saved in the new public plaza. The northern-most one is unhealthy and must come down, though.

One of the trees is considered to be too unhealthy to survive the project safely. The commission’s decision came after some confusion over the condition of another tree — an expert had originally declared it posed a safety risk, but later said the test results were in error and the tree is actually healthy.

The proposed plaza is part of a larger plan by Holland Development to build a new mixed-use community in the Orenco Station area. The company is donating two parcels to the city as part of the project.

One is a four-acre tract at Cornelius Pass Road and 231st Avenue. The other is a half-acre parcel to be acquired from TriMet just north of the MAX station.

That parcel includes three large oak trees. They are grouped together at the northeast corner of the station. Arborists have said the northern one shows sign of root problems and should be taken down. The southern one is considered healthy and should be retained. The commission agreed with both recommendations.

The eastern one, which is the largest, has been the subject of several tests. A recent test conducted with high-tech equipment by N.W. Tree Specialists found the tree was unhealthy and posed a risk to public safety. But then the company realized the results were wrong because of inaccurate equipment settings. Revised results found the tree healthy. The commission recommended it be retained in the plaza.

Holland Development has agreed to fund whatever design the city approves. A public forum has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at Sonrise Church, 6701 N.E. Campus Way, located near the proposed plaza.

The planned development is termed the Platform District. In addition to the plaza and park, it will include three new mixed-use buildings. Construction is expected to start this fall.