I just put this good news update on last night's blog post, "City of Salem kills more downtown trees for no good reason."
UPDATE: After emailing Steve Ross (one of the property owners) this morning, I got a reply that he is open to trimming the trees if this can be worked out with everyone's approval. Steve said, "I love trees also." Great news. I asked to be kept informed as this approach to saving the trees moves forward. Many thanks to Steve. And to Elwood Newhouse of Elwood's Tree Service, who offered up his professional opinion of the trees' condition.
Elwood said the High Street trees could and should be saved, since they are healthy, structurally sound, and not causing any problems to the sidewalk that require their removal.
Like Steve Ross said, trimming of branches and maybe some roots is all that is needed, along with sidewalk grinding. (This recently was done to the sidewalk in front of Andaluz, just up the street from these trees, where minor sidewalk lift was evident.)
Hopefully this means that the trees will be saved, as several independent professional arborists have advised.
I don't blame the property owners for wanting to have the trees removed, since the City of Salem erroneously told them that the trees were diseased.
I do blame Urban Forester Jan Staszewski and Public Works Director Peter Fernandez for not getting a second or third opinion on the condition of the Upright European Hornbeams.
Cutting down beautiful mature downtown street trees that are 40 to 50 years old, 35 to 40 feet high, and 12 to 19 inches in diameter shouldn't be done lightly. Very good reasons for doing so have to be supported by solid arborist evidence.
Which raises a question for me: if the City of Salem Public Works Department was wrong when it decided these trees should be cut down rather than pruned, what else is the Department wrong about?
Meaning, if solid facts and expert advice aren't guiding Public Works decision-making, then what else is?