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Trees removed on 4th Street
In a move that took nearly everyone in the neighborhood by surprise, City of Bremerton street crews recently cut down 30 globe locust trees along 4th Street between Naval and Warren.
The crews left the bases of the trees in place, but will eventually cut down the trunks to street level.
Timothy Finch, who lives in the 1400 block of 4th Street, was disappointed by the tree removal.
"It's a shame to see them taking away the trees," Finch said. "It would have been nice to seem them keep them."
Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent said that she and Public Works Director Katy Allen were not briefed about the tree removal prior them being cut down.
"I can't give you a reasonable excuse for the removal of all those trees," Lent said.
Lent said that Allen, who is her third public works director and is leaving at the end of the month, has been working on long-range planning to avoid similar situations in the future.
"It's allowed people have to do work on their own without a work plan or the supervision of a director," Lent said. "We're hoping to change that, but we're still one step behind."
City Council President Jim McDonald said that the tree removal could have been handled better.
"I think, from the presentation I saw, it looks like it was probably the right thing to do, but we should have gone out and done some outreach before the public before we did it," McDonald said.
The city has paid one claim in the amount of $1,621.38 based on damages done by one of the trees on March 5 when a limb fell on a parked car at 4th Street and State Street.
Allen said that some of the trees, which were planted more than 30 years ago, were raising curbs, sidewalks and the street. Many of them were also rotting inside.
"Over the course of time these trees have been problematic," Allen said. "Based on the condition of thee trees and the rotting that had occurred we went ahead with pruning and as we were pruning discovered more and more rot."
While many of the trees do show some signs of rot, many of them do not. It also doesn't appear that many of the trees were interfering with curbs, sidewalks or the street.
Allen said that she has gotten mixed feedback following the tree removal.
"I've had some people tell me, in a very casual manner, 'I'm glad they removed them,' " Allen said. "I will also say that some people are disappointed that the trees are gone."
Allen is not yet sure about when the trunk stumps will be taken down.
"Before we remove those stumps, we're going to work with the property owners so they know what's happening and when haven't scheduled the removal yet," Allen said. "We're holding out until we can get the notification out and our crews have the time to go out and do it."
Allen also said that one tree, near the corner of 4th and Warren where it is leaning into the KPS Building, was too large for city crews to remove and will eventually need to come down.