Phinney’s Troubled Trees

You may have noticed the bright yellow notices on the sweetgum trees on N 75th Street, at the southwest corner of our building. They are there to notify the neighborhood that we’ve applied for a permit to have two trees removed.

We at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church love our tall and stately sweetgum trees. They’re a special treasure in a neighborhood that’s short on green space. These particular trees, though, have shown themselves to pose a real danger, dropping extremely heavy limbs without warning on two occasions in the last few years. It’s sheer luck that no one has been hurt, or even killed, so far.

After the second “sudden limb fall” event (which mangled the iron fence beneath it), we consulted with a private arborist, who recommended removal. We then applied for a permit to act on this expert’s recommendation. A city arborist is currently reviewing our permit application, and has not yet made a ruling. If the arborist determines that selective pruning would be enough to ensure safety and preserve the trees, we will gladly follow that recommendation. If removal is deemed necessary, we will replant with trees better suited to this site. Either way, the decision rests with the city.

We recognize that these trees are citizens of the neighborhood, having provided shade, air quality, and beauty for all the decades they’ve been in place. We know that the loss of them would grieve our friends and neighbors. We take our responsibility as stewards of these grounds seriously, and will do our best to keep them both safe and green.

You may contact Parish Administrator Kirsten Olshausen for more information.

The most recent limb fall event, November 2017.

Logs cut from the fallen limbs. They range in size up to 6″ diameter.

The iron fence that was damaged by the limb fall and subsequently removed.