Blustery storm uproots tree in Creston-Kenilworth

Even though it was sheltered by apartment buildings, see what the wind did to this two-story tall tree – and to the building behind it …

The roots simply gave way, and allowed this tree to fall into the apartments behind it.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The storm on the evening of Wednesday, February 6, kept many people awake, as wind-blown rain pelted their windows, rattled their doors, and swayed trees in their yards.

But the force of the wind did unexpected damage to an apartment building in the 3700 block of SE Francis Street, just south of SE Powell Boulevard, that night.

A resident of those apartments, later watching the cleanup work being done, commented “At first I thought it was just branches brushing against the awning, being blown by the wind. It seemed a little louder and then it was quiet. But then I heard voices outside, came out and took a look, and saw that the tree had fallen over into the apartment building.”

The damage to the structure appeared light; no one was injured in the incident. However several late-sleeping residents nearby came out to see why the noise of chainsaws and a chipper-grinder howled throughout the morning, as crews removed the tree.

Regular care can’t always prevent a tree from falling over, but care can be more cost-effective than simply letting one fall over and damage your building.

Inspection is cheaper than damage repair
We asked Rob Crouch, Urban Forest Coordinator, Portland Parks & Recreation, why an apparently sturdy tree might fall over, even though it was partially sheltered by the wind.

“It could be root rot, or a micro-gust of wind pushed it over,” said Crouch, adding that he hadn’t inspected the tree. “Rain-saturated soil could contribute to it being uprooted. But we have saturated soil every year here.”

Crouch recommended that property owners have a licensed arborist evaluate large trees every two or three years. “They can appropriately prune trees, and spot decaying and dying trees and provide preventative services. It’s a lot less expensive to have your trees evaluated than to removed from a building’s roof or walls after they’ve fallen.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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