Illegal tree cutters on Vancouver’s radar

Trees were cut down between this housing development and the Columbia River in Vancouver. May 28, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Trees were cut down between this housing development and the Columbia River in Vancouver. May 28, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) — Jon Alldritt has been coming to a public park on the Columbia River for more than 30 years. The shoreline used to be covered with trees.

Now tree stumps fill the area.

He blames it on the new housing development in the area, and said homeowners are looking for that perfect view of the river.

Since the area between the river and the development is public property, he’s fighting back.

“The problem is, is you call the city and report it, you call parks department and report it, you call code enforcement and report it and none of them do anything,” Alldritt told KOIN 6 News.

Charles Ray withe Urban Forestry Department said the City of Vancouver is aware of illegal tree cutting in that area. Some residents have been issued warnings.

“The city is not allowing anybody to cut down trees,” he said.

Under the Shoreline Management Act, the city is first required to issue a warning and allow for restoration. If they do it again, they could be issued a criminal trespassing citation.

“We can move forward with trespassing issue against the property owner,” Ray said. “Here in Washington state it is triple damage, so restoration costs could be triple.”

The city gets about 50 complaints each year but only issues about 14 citations, KOIN 6 News learned. It’s hard to enforce because there are few witnesses and there is a lack of resources.

Alldritt is one resident who is going to make sure the city sticks to their word.

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