ODOT Taking Down Burnt Trees to Clear Highways

Oregon Department of Transportation crews are plan to remove hundreds of burnt trees that may be dangerous to crews as they work to open roads and repair utilities across the state.

Many of these dangerous trees are on private property – and normally, it would be the responsibility of the landowner to remove them. To speed up getting communities and roads open, ODOT and contractors are putting these trees down on the ground for the property owner at no cost.

“The danger we’re seeing for crews is truly unprecedented,” said Patti Caswell, Maintenance Environmental Program manager. “We need to get in as quickly and safely as possible to get these trees out of the way.”

Property owners should be aware that crews may come onto their property to take down these trees, without the normal process of reaching out to the owners first regarding the dangerous trees. The sheer number of trees and properties affected make the normal approach not feasible, ODOT officials said.

ODOT Foresters/Certified Arborists are prescribing removal priorities for the districts. Trees will be dropped and left on private property whenever possible. If there are safety concerns, the trees will be hauled to an offsite location.

“These efforts will save people impacted by the fires at least one cost and remove one more problem to face,” Caswell said.

Only trees that are presenting an immediate danger or that will present a near-future danger to the road or utilities will be taken down.

“We’re only clearing what we need to clear so we can reopen the highway or because the tree will be a danger in the next three to six months,” said Caswell. “It’s more cost-effective to get them down now.”

Landowners can contact the ODOT District Office in their area if they have questions or concerns. Officials ask for patience at this time as their staff is focused on recovery.

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