Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Dangerous fir trees removed from cemetery in Falls City

FALLS CITY — Two large and potentially dangerous trees growing near Falls City Road were removed from Falls City's Lower Cemetery last week.

The remains of two large firs are scattered on the ground in Falls City’s Lower Cemetery  Thursday. Potentially dangerous, they were removed to prevent damage to headstones and visitor injuries.

Photo by Jolene Guzman

The remains of two large firs are scattered on the ground in Falls City’s Lower Cemetery Thursday. Potentially dangerous, they were removed to prevent damage to headstones and visitor injuries.

February 04, 2014

FALLS CITY — Two large and potentially dangerous trees growing near Falls City Road were removed from Falls City's Lower Cemetery last week.

A tree maintenance crew first stripped the trees of limbs — climbing high into the trees — and then took down the trunks over the course of three days last week.

The majority of the work was completed Thursday. However, some large limbs and portions of the trees' trunks were still on the ground Thursday. Clean-up continued through the weekend.

City Manager Amber Mathiesen said one of the trees was damaged in a past storm and in danger of dropping limbs or falling completely on headstones in the cemetery. Also, if the tree fell in the opposite direction, it could have damaged power lines running along Falls City Road.

The second tree would have been more exposed to storm damage or tumbling down once the first tree was taken down, so it was also removed as a safety measure. Another tree in the center of the cemetery also had several large limbs removed.

City officials were also concerned that if the trees didn't topple, they could drop limbs that could damage headstones or injure people visiting the cemetery.

The potential danger was discovered last summer when the city's Parks and Recreation Board — which also oversees the cemeteries — conducted a survey of burial plots in the city's two cemeteries, Mathiesen said.

A tree removal crew member cuts off branches on one of the  trees taken down last week.

Amber Mathison/for the Itemizer-Observer

A tree removal crew member cuts off branches on one of the trees taken down last week.

There are several other problem trees in the cemetery; however, due to budget limitations, the two trees will be the only ones removed this fiscal year.

The city also had to prioritize the tree safety project over other needs, such as new maintenance equipment, Mathiesen said.

"This will protect family heritage, avoiding damage to headstones, as well as danger to people visiting or holding funerals," she said.

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