For several weeks, the city of Woodburn, Oregon Department of Transportation and a local neighborhood group have been occupied with saving two monoliths that stand in the path of the Woodburn Interchange Project.
Why did the sequoias become part of the Woodburn Historic Neighborhoods Associations purview? The trees are not located in a park – they are not in a historic neighborhood. They are not beloved by the community. They are, however, big enough to cause significant damage if they fell in a wind storm.
Now ODOT has come up with a potential solution – leave a 100-foot gap in the wall that would allow the trees to stand and flourish.
While its refreshing to see a large government entity listening to the plight of the people, what they propose isnt only aesthetically absurd, its also providing a disservice to the neighboring property owners.
The value of their homes will be dramatically reduced and they wont have the convenience of the sound wall blocking them from the noisy highway, which is contrary to the contract agreement between them and ODOT.
Imagine being a property owner whose home sits under one of these goliaths. Not only do you get stuck cleaning up needles that are constantly dropping from these trees, but you also remain exposed visually and audibly to the roar of the highway.
No wonder those most closely affected by the trees would rather just see the trees come down.
Additionally, these trees may be healthy now, but they could fall and cause severe damage to neighboring homes. If they need to be removed later on, the process will be significantly more difficult.
At this point, it seems like a no-brainer.
The sequoia decision ultimately comes down to the needs and desires of the neighboring property owners. It will have the most effect on them, and even if we will miss those enormous evergreens as we travel down Newberg Highway, we believe its in everyones best interest that ODOT move forward with its original sound wall plan.
Get on with it.