PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A giant cedar tree not far from Multnomah Village was removed on Tuesday, July 19 in one step toward building 2 homes on the existing lot.
The 80-foot-tall tree in the 7300 block of SW 33rd Avenue had activists trying to save it from being removed.
Neighbors tried to fight the change, even considering raising money to buy the lot from the developer, but like other projects around Portland, they couldn’t fight it fast enough. Neighbors say they were told it would be a while before the tree was cut down, then heard chainsaws Tuesday morning.
“It was a sleazy deal,” said neighbor Sammy Black. “The house was sold under the pretense of saving the tree. And then it was resold and that was eliminated from the contract.”
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Amy Schnell of Renaissance Homes said:
“When we purchased this lot for development, we anticipated having a hard time saving this tree so we explored several options. Renaissance met with the Southwest Neighborhood Association who stressed their desire to try to save the tree. Upon hearing of their wish, we shifted gears and customized our home design and floor plan as well as location of home on the lot to place it as far away from the tree as possible. Renaissance hired a licensed Arborist to be onsite during the excavation of the home. Last week during excavation it was determined, by the arborist, that the tree could not sustain the root loss that would be required. Unfortunately the arborist deemed the tree as a structural hazard due to significant structural root loss.
The construction of these two homes on SW 33rd conform to City of Portland zoning codes. No variances of any kind were granted.”
The Portland Tribune reported in April the lot was sold on Feb. 24, then re-sold 2 weeks later to Renaissance Homes for $450,000. Renaissance President Randy Sebastian told the Portland Tribune his company plans to split the lot, demolish the existing home and build two 2,200- to 2,300-square-foot homes — each selling for around $800,000.