OPB reported on a Portland Urban Forestry tree removal permit denial that ended up endangering the lives of the Joel and Sarah Bond's family and destroying their home.
The Oregonian added:
"Last year, the city refused to issue a removal permit to the Bonds
because the tree 'appears healthy and not dead, dying or dangerous,' the
permit denial letter said.
"A city inspector took less than five minutes to look at the trees and told the family it was perfectly normal for them to lean and sway, Joel Bond said."
. . .
"Bond said he's disappointed the city's tree
permit system didn't keep his family and property safe. He said the
inspection should have been more rigorous – a recent and more thorough
inspection of the fallen tree showed it was rotten inside, he said, even
though it looked outwardly healthy." (emphasis added) (Oregonian, January 28, 2024, page A16)
There were further casualties.
"Falling trees killed an elderly man inside a Lake Oswego home and a woman trapped inside a Southeast Portland motor home, and they injured countless other residents. The trees crushed houses, cars, power lines and power poles, causing millions in property damage and tens of thousands of power outages." (Oregonian, January 28, 2024, page A1)
The Oregonian, which reported on the tree disasters, has only come out with a tepid editorial about the senselessness of requiring those whose trees fell to get a $100 retroactive tree removal permit because the storm removed it. "For the city to demand that they secure a permit and pay a $100 fee seems needlessly aggressive and serves no clear purpose." But the editors give only a nod to the predictive failure of the Urban Forestry Division as to inspected trees they said were safe which fell.
"In addition to dropping the permit requirement, the city could do more to help quell people’s anxieties. As the authority on Portland’s urban forest, City Forester Jenn Cairo should provide greater communication to the public about what the city will do in the coming weeks and months to ensure the health of trees and the safety of the community. Portlanders’ concerns are merited, considering that arborists have noted, as in a recent story by The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Tom Hallman Jr., that trees considered stable just a few months ago were among those that fell. The office should also ensure the diligence of tree inspections, considering that some homeowners were denied permits for removing trees that later fell on their homes, as Wozniacka reported." (emphasis added)
Unfortunately, too many modern "experts" speak as though they know the whole truth, when in fact they are guessing at probabilities. Even worse, as in the case of Joel and Sarah Bond, the City inspections can be so cursory as to not truly evaluate the health of the tree. This is negligence if not incompetence and needs to be addressed.