Ugh! Depressing end-of-year news for Salem tree and nature lovers.
But depressingly familiar in a town whose current City leaders seem to always choose short-term special interest profit over long-term community livability and sustainability.
Over on Bonnie Hull's On the Way blog, she reports in words and photos on "Another Hospital Disaster... Urban Logging."
As long as we’ve lived in Salem the darned hospital has been destroying, burning, and now logging land for more buildings, more parking. The original hospital was in a residential neighborhood, near the university…a neighborhood we aspired to live in BUT, by the time we could buy a house, the neighborhood was gone for parking lots mostly. A few of the oldest houses in Salem were used as practice burns by the fire department. Then the absolutely lovely little Bush School was torn down for parking.
Next the beautiful and graceful 1920’s brick Building that housed the Blind School was razed. The other day I noticed the chain link fence going up and a few days later the ominous blue plastic to hide the activities. The several acre property is now an urban logging site with the plans to remove all but about 5 trees from this beautiful site…next to an historic neighborhood, an historic garden, across from Bush’s Pasture Park. Sigh….if you love historic structures, old trees, history and the continuity of the built environment, Salem can be a disappointing place to live.
Nicely said, Bonnie.
Here's one of her photos, a memorial put up by a neighbor to one of the trees that has been needlessly destroyed by Salem Hospital. You can see the other photos in her blog post.
Salem Hospital, if the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) gives you the ability to kill almost all of the other trees in this irreplaceable urban forest, you will wrongly think that you've won a victory.
Actually, you've lost.
I and many others never will look upon Salem Hospital and your umbrella corporation, Salem Health, in the same way again. What kind of "health" organization kills beautiful living things for no good reason, depriving patients, visitors, neighbors, and others the many benefits of these majestic trees?
Salem Hospital, we now know that you care more about a parking lot and your own incessant drive for more profits and land than the needs of the entire community.
For that, you can't be forgiven.
The trees may die, be cut up, and the remains removed stealthily. But their memory will live on as a monument to City of Salem cluelessness and corporate greed.
(Which also is the theme of my report about the equally needless destruction of the five beautiful, healthy, large State Street trees -- "Outrage: the true story of the U.S. Bank tree killings.")
Thanks to all who remain engaged and vigilant regarding this latest atrocity.
Here’s an optimistic note.
In October I had the pleasure of joining some 75-80 people brought together by Tualatin Riverkeepers and The Intertwine. a regional alliance of 50-60 local governments and NGOs dedicated to urban forestry, access education, watershed conservation etc etc. http://theintertwine.org.
The workshop updated us on progress in writing city code to protect urban forests. The City of Tigard completed a multi-year community effort that drafted an urban forestry code that received a national planning award. It went into effect last March. http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/trees/default.asp
Patricia Farrell spoke at CityWatch several months ago. She is Salem's Natural Resource Specialist and VERY involved in getting folks in Salem involved and engaged in protecting and expanding our urban forest.
I’m glad I signed up for her emails they are “pro-tree” and very informative. Right now she and others are working hard to encourage us to share our ideas and wishes for the Minto Brown Island Park Master Plan. Please visit the site soon and offer your ideas! http://tinyurl.com/kdc6dhl
I hope everyone concerned about our trees will contact Patricia and ask to get on her email list: Patricia Farrell [email protected]
I’m also proud to announce our Salem CityWatch Chair, Kasia Quillinan was recently elected to chair the Salem Parks Board. She and David Engen, Salem CityWatch Treasurer, have been serving Salem parks for several years by serving on the Board, planting trees and much more.
Salem tree code is SRC Chapter 86.005. Let's transmute the outrage into meaningful action. Many would welcome a community task force established to upgrade our tree code.
Posted by: Richard Reid | December 30, 2014 at 08:24 PM
I'm not as worried about the trees as I am about so many historic buildings being demolished in Salem I'm so happy that not everyone is on board. A hearty welcome to Gayle's Italian Market downtown.
Posted by: Londa | January 01, 2015 at 04:03 PM