GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Metro filed a lawsuit against 2 Gresham couples accused of cutting down dozens of protected trees to improve the view from their homes.
The lawsuit claims David El-Khal, Alyce Hadeed El-Khal and Stephen and Judith Brugh cut down 44 trees in a 400-foot swatch of a protected nature area.
Their homes sit side-by-side on Gresham Butte, overlooking the city.
“I understand about people wanting a view and all of that, but you have to think of the bigger picture,” neighbor Maryann Nicholas said. “You can’t just be selfish.”
Metro is charging the couples with willful timber trespass, among other things. The agency is seeking damages of $530,000 for that charge alone, and $661,000 overall.
David El-Khal tells KOIN 6 News he hasn’t seen the charges.
The Brughs say they were convinced the trees they touched were on their land.
The suit claims the changes increased the value of the El-Khal’s home by more than $79,000 and boosted the value of the Brugh’s home by at least $39,000.
“It’s very necessary for us to have growing, green trees,” Nicholas said. “I felt rather badly that they did that… they cut those trees down.
Metro values the trees themselves at $176,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report