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Some 1,400 trees by Hwy. 20 due for removal in spring


In late September, we reported on tree removal along a stretch of Hwy 20 west of Sisters.

In the first phase of tree removal earlier this month, ODOT cut down 86 trees that were marked as hazardous. They were marked that way because they were identified to have a potential to fall during the winter storms and pose a danger to drivers along the highway.

The process only took two days, but the trees will be left in the forest along the highway until ODOT can decide what to do with them.

More than one type of tree was cut down.

“There were a variety,” ODOT spokesman Peter Murphy said. “There were some broad-leafed trees, I think cottonwoods, and then there were some pine trees that went down too, so it was kind of a mixed bag. But what they all had in common was they all presented a potential hazard for motorists on the highway.”

Also along Hwy 20, a few years back, ODOT sprayed the base of some trees with an herbicide to kill weeds. Now, about 1,400 trees have died and need to be removed.

Unlike the 86 that were cut down earlier this month the process for removal is different. ODOT told NewsChannel 21 the decision-making process is shared between ODOT and the US Forest Service,

A bulk of the trees are away from the ODOT right-of-way easement, so the U.S. Forest Service decides how to proceed and what to do. But with some of the trees in that right of way, they are involved in the process.

After some discussion, there is a basic idea of when the next phase will begin.

“At this point, it looks like spring will be the point in time where the bigger effort to take out those trees which were harmed will take place,” Murphy said.

Murphy also told us this year there was was not enough time to get the project done, so they have to wait until after the winter snow has melted.

What exactly will happen with the trees has not yet been decided, but the Forest Service will make the decision before the trees are removed.

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