Today I got an excellent comment on my blog post, "U.S. Bank kills large downtown trees. Don't bank with them."
It's the best explanation that I've seen so far about how this (one of five trees that has been, or will be, needlessly cut down by U.S. Bank)...
The story of how this happened is disturbing. I'll talk more about what this sorry tale says about Salem politics and Chamber of Commerce influence-peddling in a following post.
Here's the comment from Cherry City Blogger, with a few misspellings, typos, and links cleaned up for easier reading. If you care about downtown Salem, read on. And seriously consider taking the actions suggested at the end of the comment.
The City requested the State Street trees be removed in 2010 as part of the road/sidewalk repaving. The City's Urban Forester reported to the Shade Tree Committee the roots could be trimmed and the trees would not need removal.The Shade Tree Committee denied the City's request for removal.
In July 2012, US Bank requested permission to remove the 5 State Street Trees. Again the Shade Tree Committee denied their request. In Jan 2013, US Bank again requested the 5 State Street trees be removed. The Shade Tree Committee asked for public input.
Several people testified, 5 emails were entered into testimony, along with a petition signed by 22 downtown employees and business owners, and the CAN-DO Neighborhood Association -- asking for the trees to remain. The Shade Tree Committee, again, denied US Bank's request.
US Bank "verbally appealed" the decision to the City's Director of Public Works. A decision was finalized on March 13, which went into effect on March 19th, and a cutting permit was issued. US Bank is paying the full cost of removing the trees, stumps and planting replacement trees. The City did not contact the people, who testified at the last Shade Tree Committee, that the decision had been overturned until Friday, April 5.
Before you blame all businesses in Salem (for getting what they want at the expense of citizens), please focus in. The businesses getting what they want are the business elite in the Salem Chamber of Commerce. Yes, Ryan Allbritton is incoming President of the Salem Chamber.
Just as important, where are our city councilors? They are elected to represent us -- the citizens. They were contacted and chose to take no action. Several of our City Councilors were voted into their council seats by public support of the Chamber Board and by the voting membership of the Salem Chamber of Commerce. The other councilors know, to keep their seats, they need to play along with the Chamber.
This is very bad for Salem as a community. It is time to take a stand. Remove your money from US Bank and ask US Bank to transfer Ryan Allbritten to another branch - give us a bank manager with a better moral compass - and greater allegiance to US Bank's Code of Ethics, it's customers and our community.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: To place a complaint about Ryan Allbritton's violations of US Banks Ethics, visit https://www2.usbank.com/cgi_w2/cfm/about/ethics/ethics_feedback.cfm Be sure to read the "Code of Ethics & Business Conduct" so you can quote the ethics violations Mr. Allbritton has committed.
If you want to contact your city council, they can all be reached at this email address: [email protected] Please request the City Council re-write SRC 86 (Trees and Shubs Ordinance) so this will never happen again!