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Developer defies tree ordinance
Thursday, 31 August 2006

Statesman Journal
Arrogance? Negligence?
An "ought to be" thought was inspired when a front-page piece on felling trees appeared in the SJ on August 26.

Arrogance? Negligence?
Monday, August 28, 2006

An "ought to be" thought was inspired when a front-page piece on felling trees appeared in the SJ on August 26. The "ought to be" would mean a no-tolerance law enacted by the Legislature, signed by the governor and upheld by state courts that applied to all developers for felling trees when it's been required they be spared in a government entity-approved development plan.

A no-tolerance law would invoke a fine much larger than the city of Salem one for violating a city ordinance that "might cost" the developer in this story a mere $10,000. The developer said, "It was accidental," but believe him or not, if I were in a position of authority the first question I'd ask is this: Where were you, Mr. George Suniga, when the city-approved development plan that you had to know the specific details about and sign off on was implemented by a contractor working for YOU who was so reckless in his work at demolishing a house that the roots of five trees were damaged and damaged so badly they had to be cut down?

Saying indifferently and arrogantly afterwards that, "We cautioned them, but heck you get those young guys bulldozing and they don't pay much attention," means that you, Mr. Suniga, or someone who works for you is negligent in supervising employees and that you and your supervisors and your contractors and those who work for you and them simply ignore ordinances and the natural beauty and environmental value trees provide. Maybe the attitude of Mr. Suniga comes from having built too many houses and apartments, resulting in a level of money and perceived power where he thinks he can do whatever he wants to do.

Mr. Suniga now says he plans to fight the proposed penalty in court. That means he doesn't feel at all responsible for what he and his work staff have done. To the contrary, Mr. Suniga is responsible for what happened and, if I were the gatekeeper on this, I'd see to it that he paid $10,000 for every tree and his permit to build anything, anywhere in this state was suspended until he accepted the blame, paid the fine and planted replacement trees for those that were so mindlessly destroyed.

posted by Gene McIntyre

'Shame on you'
Area readers are outraged about the loss of trees in a development under construction by George Suniga.

'Shame on you'
Monday, August 28, 2006

Area readers are outraged about the loss of trees in a development under construction by George Suniga. (For details, check out the news article that was posted Saturday.)

A Salem woman sent this note: "Shame on you, George. Two men, 30 minutes of time and 15 feet of yellow tape would have handled the problem.
"The yellow ribbon would have caught the attention of the "those young guys bulldozing". As a mature developer you were responsible for the job being done according to the city ordinances. It took years for the trees to reach the size mentioned in the paper. Careless thought and supervision wiped the years out."

posted by Dick Hughes

Tomorrow's editorials: Fallen trees, Katrina
For tomorrow, Dick Hughes is the lead writer for an editorial about those trees that were supposed to be saved, but weren’t, at a South Salem subdivision under construction.

Tomorrow's editorials: Fallen trees, Katrina
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For tomorrow, Dick Hughes is the lead writer for an editorial about those trees that were supposed to be saved, but weren’t, at a South Salem subdivision under construction. Barbara Curtin is the lead writer on a piece about what Hurricane Katrina revealed about racism in the US. If you have thoughts on either subject, e-mail us. You’ll help inform our writing.

posted by Barbara Curtin

A puny fine for tearing out trees
Here is a rough draft of one of Wednesday's editorials. Please send your comments or suggestions to Dick Hughes, who is the lead writer on behalf of the Editorial Board.

A puny fine for tearing out trees
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Here is a rough draft of one of Wednesday's editorials. Please send your comments or suggestions to Dick Hughes, who is the lead writer on behalf of the Editorial Board.
***

Salem residents have this funny attitude toward trees. They love them. Trees are part of the Oregon psyche.

So it’s not surprising that the “accidental” demolition of five trees has area residents fuming — about the lost trees, about the developer’s response and about the puny $10,000 fine he faces.

The maple, spruce and fir trees were to be preserved in the Waln Creek Estates subdivision under developer George Suniga’s agreement with the city of Salem. In a story in Saturday’s Statesman Journal, Michael Rose reported that Suniga said a contractor removed the trees by mistake after their roots were damaged.

“We cautioned them, but heck, you get those young guys bulldozing and they don’t pay much attention,” Suniga told Rose.

Hmm. Maybe it’s some developers who don’t pay enough attention. It was Suniga’s responsibility to see that everything went according to plan. If that meant he had to stand on site and make sure no bulldozer came close to a protected tree, so be it. At the least, protected areas needed to be clearly marked and workers thoroughly instructed on how to avoid damaging them.

A proposed $2,000-per-tree fine may sound like a lot. Indeed, it’s the maximum fine under the city ordinance. But it’s not much when spread across the costs of developing a 72-lot subdivision.

Keeping the trees would have built good will with the neighborhood and likely made the subdivision even more attractive for buyers. Adult trees don’t spring up overnight. And Oregonians love their trees.

posted by Dick Hughes

Don't just fine 'em; plant more trees
A reader sent this reaction to today’s editorial on tree cutting and development:

Don't just fine 'em; plant more trees
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A reader sent this reaction to today’s editorial on tree cutting and development:

My thought about developers and anyone else who cuts trees that have been required to be saved, they should not only be charged the maximum fine but be required to transplant a tree of the same variety and as near the same age as possible to safely be transplant in the exact location of the original tree.

Blaming the incompetence of the workers is an out and out lie, believable by the naive and children.

posted by Barbara Curtin

 
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