Alyssa Sutton

The City of La Grande Public Works Department will begin its second year of a tree-trimming project next week.

According to city ordinance, property owners are required to maintain any trees that are in the city’s right-of-way. Clearance standards are 13.5 feet above the street from the curb and 8 feet above sidewalks.

“Trees haven’t been maintained and city garbage trucks and plows are having a hard time getting under trees,” said Teresa Gustafson, tree care educator in the city’s Urban Forestry Division.

The trimming project began last summer. The goal is to work on sections throughout the city for several years until every tree in the city right-of-way has been trimmed once. Gustafson estimates the project will take up to seven years to complete.

“The city will do it one time, then it will be the responsibility of the property owner,” Public Works Director Norm Paullus said.

The city, which budgeted $25,000 a year for the project, with $10,000 allocated through the street and road budget, accepted bids for the work. Last year, Miller’s Tree Service trimmed the trees on Second and Fourth streets between Penn and C avenues. Miller’s will also handle the trimming this year, and Gustafson said it’s likely they will handle the work until the project is complete.

Gustafson said the main concern of Ray Crapo, the city’s streets and storm sewer superintendent, was ambulance access on city streets. For this reason, the first year the tree-trimming project focused on hospital and school bus routes.

See complete story in Friday's Observer