City of Albany public works crews are removing 67 trees from the Cascade Heights neighborhood in North Albany after learning their root systems have been affecting the sidewalks there.
Once completed, crews will replace the trees with species better suited for the area.
The trees, which the developer planted 15 years ago, were a city requirement, but city forester Rick Barnett explained that small variances in species can bring negative results, and that it is really easy to get the wrong species.
"Engineers have a terrible time with trees," he said, describing the variable nature of the organic neighborhood components. Not only can a subtle difference in species bring trouble, but if the roots detect poor soil, they will travel in different directions, eventually threatening sidewalks and other structures.
Neighborhood resident Cliff Maier said he was told he would have to remove his two young maple trees as well, but after some discussion he was allowed to keep them, only because they are not large enough to pose a threat. Still, he feels removing the larger trees is a drastic measure.
"In my book, a 20-year-old tree is a beautiful, mature tree," he said. "And maybe if you had to replace a section of sidewalk here and there, that would cost much less than taking out all the trees."
The total cost to remove and replace the trees is $18,000, said Barnett. That cost will be split between the city and the homeowners association in Cascade Heights. Barnett said the total cost would be higher if they had waited and then had to replace the sidewalks as well.
Crews will remove 22 trees this year, and take out and replace the remaining 45 next year.