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The city of Brookings has proposed cutting down 60 trees at Azalea Park. This follows the cutting of more than a dozen trees near the park’s KidTown in 2015, and the removal of trees linked to Sudden Oak Death several years before.
That’s a lot of trees in a short amount of time, and it’s caught the attention of many neo-Loraxes (with apologies to Dr. Suess). In fact, about 500 residents signed a petition to save the 60 trees.
The petition’s organizer has accused the city of “piecemeal decisions” and “lack of public notice” regarding Azalea Park.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The city is not the bad guy here. It is not “anti-tree,” as several have claimed.
The city has valid reasons to eliminate trees — a majority of the 60 trees targeted for removal are damaged or dying.
During the past several years, the city has given advance public notice of its actions and discussed proposals in public meetings. The city even sponsored a public forum at the library at which an expert discussed the health of the trees and plants at Azalea Park.
The city has done its part to alert citizens to its plans — and the Pilot has duly reported these efforts.
What we have here is another example of uniformed residents acting at the 11th hour to voice their concerns.
Even so, the city has been courteous enough to delay its decision on the 60 trees in order to hear the concerns.
It also gives the city yet another chance to explain its past and current rehabilitation plans for the park.
We are glad to see citizens taking an interest in what happens at Azalea Park, but let’s set aside the knee-jerk reactions and deal with this issue in a calm and civil manner.