Three disputed Salem trees cut down

David Greysmith (left) and Lorraine Milan stand in quiet protest as a crew from AAA Tree Service and Stump Grinding, work on cutting down the trees along State Street, outside of US Bank, in Salem, Ore, on Thursday, April 11, 2013. The removal of the trees caused a local protest on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Statesman Journal, Timothy J. Gonzalez)
David Greysmith (left) and Lorraine Milan stand in quiet protest as a crew from AAA Tree Service and Stump Grinding, work on cutting down the trees along State Street, outside of US Bank, in Salem, Ore, on Thursday, April 11, 2013. The removal of the trees caused a local protest on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Statesman Journal, Timothy J. Gonzalez)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Three of five disputed trees outside a U.S. Bank branch in downtown Salem were chopped down Thursday evening despite an earlier protest that tried to save them.

About a dozen people protested earlier this week. On Thursday, David Greysmith held a sign that read “Trees help people be cool.” He says when the word came that this was the night, there wasn’t time to organize a large turnout.

According to the Statesman Journal, police Officer Bob Owings said the two remaining Japanese Zelkova trees will be removed within the next few weeks after nesting birds are gone.

Protesters said removing the trees would destroy what makes downtown Salem beautiful and unique.

The city’s Shade Tree Advisory Committee approved a permit for the bank to remove the trees.

The bank says they obscure sight lines of the building and their roots crack the sidewalk and clog storm water lines.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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