In mid-January, a subcontractor working for the city of Eugene’s Urban Forestry department chopped down my wonderful, prolific fig tree. When I insisted it must be a mistake, the subcontractor assured me that it wasn’t — and that the city had been removing lots of trees that looked healthy, and that lots of people were angry.

After much delay, the contact person at the city finally admitted it was a mistake by their subcontractor, but he acted as though the mistake had nothing to do with the city. His position was that, since the city “owned” the right-of-way in front of my house, they could legally do whatever they wanted with it.

My position is, it may be legal, but it isn’t fair. My fig tree was beloved by the neighborhood, and by countless passing bike-path users. If the city can do whatever it wants with any homeowner’s right-of-way, without notice or explanation, then no tree in the right-of-way is safe.

And if the city mistakenly removes your tree, that’s just too bad. No reputable business could get away with refusing to take responsibility for its employees’ errors, and Eugene shouldn’t get away with it, either.

Polly Bowman


Comments are closed.