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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City removes trees on Grand

Shorter varieties will replace maples after street repaving

Tony Proctor loads up on free firewood from maple trees being removed along South Grand Boulevard and 34th Avenue on Monday. Proctor’s grandmother lives near the maples, which will be replaced with different types of trees. (Jesse Tinsley)
Tony Proctor loads up on free firewood from maple trees being removed along South Grand Boulevard and 34th Avenue on Monday. Proctor’s grandmother lives near the maples, which will be replaced with different types of trees. (Jesse Tinsley)

Work crews on Monday began removing 19 mature trees along Grand Boulevard south of 29th Avenue.

The sound of chain saws may have startled some in the neighborhood, but the work is part of the broader plan to repave Grand and then plant new trees at no cost to homeowners.

The city notified affected residents two months ago in an attempt to quell the sort of uproar that has often developed when majestic old trees shading city streets are suddenly cut down or severely pruned.

Poor pruning by crews cutting away branches from power lines along Grand four years ago angered some.

Tree trimmers in some instances cut the middle out of trees that had grown around power lines, leaving the trees with an unsightly “V” appearance.

Avista Corp. is working closely with the city’s urban forestry program on the current project, sharing the cost of removal and helping select replacement trees that won’t impede power lines.

After the paving work is done, the Spokane County Conservation District will donate 38 new trees at least 2 inches in diameter for replanting, said urban forester Angel Spell.

Most of the trees being removed were Norway maples, she said. The new trees will not achieve such height as they mature. Neighbors will have some small say in what species are planted, Spell said. That may include varieties of hawthorn, dogwood, crabapple, magnolia, serviceberry and ash.

What’s planted will depend on what the conservation district has in stock this fall.

Planting the maples years ago was a poor choice, Spell said. Though leafy and handsome, the trees are tall and grew into power lines strung along the busy city street.

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