PORTLAND, Ore. — Feb. 16, 2017 — In the interest of public safety, Multnomah County Library must remove two stately American Elm trees in front of Central Library, at 801 SW 10th Ave. The City of Portland determined the trees to be “dying” and “dangerous” and ordered their removal after a winter weather event in January resulted in the failure of a primary limb on one of the trees.
Tree removal work is scheduled to take place beginning at 7 am until sometime in the afternoon on Sunday, Feb. 26. Due to restricted sidewalk and stair access, Central Library will close to the public that day. The two trees, located on SW 10th Ave., were planted in approximately 1890, predating the construction of Central Library, which opened in 1913. In spite of routine assessments and preventative maintenance, the two elm trees in front of the library pose hazards to pedestrians and library patrons. Traffic and parking will be affected on SW 10th Ave. during the tree work. Additional tree maintenance work will take place on SW Taylor St. Feb. 22 that will affect parking and sidewalk access on that day, but will not require closure of the library.
“We’re saddened to imagine seeing Central Library without these beautiful old trees in front,” said Central Library Director Dave Ratliff. “These trees have offered generations of shade and shelter and have always been part of how our community experiences Central Library. After the recent winter weather impact on these trees, it’s clear that we must remove these trees for the safety of the public and people who use the library.”
The tree trunks will be salvaged and milled for reuse. Arborists will destroy limbs and bark in accordance with special precautions around elm wood disposal to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease. These trees do not have Dutch Elm Disease.
Recent assessments of elm trees near the library on SW Taylor St. and SW Yamhill St. show those trees to be in much better condition than the trees on SW 10th Ave. Additional tree maintenance work will take place on SW Taylor St. Feb. 22 that will affect parking and sidewalk access on that day, but will not require closure of the library.
None of the trees on Central Library property are affected by Dutch Elm Disease. Facilities staff will continue proactive assessments of tree health and a preventative maintenance regimen (including inoculation, trimming and mulching nutrients into the root system) to care for remaining trees on the property. The library will work with city arborists and architects to consider selection and replacement options.