Portland, Ore. – There’s some good news if you were concerned about the 14 Plum trees that were suddenly cut down at a popular park in Downtown Portland. KXL’s Jacob Dean talked with the federal agency in charge of the park, the General Services Administration. Spokesperson Chad Hutson tells me the trees were about 40 to 45 years old and starting to spilt and crack. They had to come down for safety reasons. I talked with a local tree expert Jim Patterson, who says these types of trees typically have a life span of about 40 to 50 years, so it’s not a surprise. Patterson says the older types of fruit trees like plums, struggle more with things like diseases and bugs. Newer kinds of trees that have been breed and developed are actually stronger and more resistant to diseases. So there’s a good chance the new replacement trees that are being planted in the next few days, will be better and last longer. We’ve also learned the new trees will be Katsuras, which are a smaller flowering tree that’s fairly low maintenance. Also Redbuds will be planted, they are a smaller red colored flowering tree that will actually look a lot like the old plums that were cut down.
Here is the full statement we received from the GSA:
The GSA Northwest/Arctic Region is replacing 14 Plum trees on the Terry Schrunk Plaza in Portland that are old and damaged. The 40-year-old trees were starting to split and crack, creating a possible safety hazard for people using the plaza.
GSA is working with a contractor for the next few days to replace the trees with Redbud and Katsura trees, which are more hearty and will eventually provide more shade.
The new trees should be planted and work completed early next week.
The orange fencing that is currently blocking parts of the plaza are to keep people off newly seeded areas of the park. Grass in these areas was destroyed during an earlier protest.