Sections of downtown roads will be closed next week as professional arborists and city staff work to remove trees that were severely damaged in the destructive ice storm last February — including a dozen in Wait Park.
The Canby City Council agreed last month to pay Lake Oswego-based ArborPro Tree Experts a sum of $67,500 to remove 30 trees in public spaces and other city-owned property that were deemed unsalvageable and potentially hazardous.
The dollars are pass-through funds awarded to the city by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city has been working for more than a year to deal with debris, damage and other fallout associated with the February 2021 storm.
In the storm’s immediate aftermath, city resources were dedicated to reopening roads, ensuring access for emergency vehicles and reducing hazards on public property. For weeks, Public Works staff collected, received and processed hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of debris at the city shop on Northeast Territorial Road.
Now, more than a year later, the cleanup of the public parks system from the ice storm remains underway.
The city hired three different consultants to identify potentially hazardous trees that would need to be removed, resulting in a list of 30, including 12 in Wait Park, eight at the Canby Adult Center, four at Legacy Park, four at Community Park and one at the Canby Swim Center.
The tree removal work will begin Monday, March 21. As part of these efforts, North Holly Street is planned to be closed between 3rd and 4th Avenues on Tuesday, and Northwest 3rd between Grant and Holly on Thursday — though officials stressed this timeline is tentative and subject to change.
City councilors and staff alike have lamented the need to remove the trees, particularly those in Canby’s beloved Wait Park, but ultimately felt they had no choice.
“It’s unfortunate,” City Administrator Scott Archer said at a meeting last month. “A lot of these trees are ones that are valued greatly by our community members. They’re part of our public spaces and, of course, we hate to have to remove trees, but this is a life and safety issue.
“They have been evaluated as being dangerous, and if they are not removed, we would have serious concerns about the well-being of our community members and liability for the city.”
To mitigate the removal of the damaged trees, the city plans to plant between 500 and 1,000 new trees near Willow Creek, as part of its Urban Forestry Program, which is tasked with replacing trees in areas where infill is needed or where diseased trees have been removed.
The project is part of a larger stormwater project that will eradicate berry briars and bring shade to Willow Creek.
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