A 130-year-old ponderosa pine tree in Browne’s Addition became the latest casualty of last week’s torrential rains, after a weekend of precipitation and winds destabilized the root system and it crashed into the street.
The tree, which has lay in the street at the corner of Second Avenue and South Chestnut Street for the past few days, was one of three in a stand of ponderosa pine trees across from Coeur d’Alene Park that were seriously damaged by the storm.
City Urban Forester Katie Kosanke said the heavy rains saturated the ground around the tree, which was 50 inches in diameter, loosening the roots’ hold. Once the tree fell over, it tore the roots of the nearby ponderosas. She said the adjacent landowner had hired a tree care company to remove the nearby trees.
Kosanke said the tree was fairly large for its age, and it may have been one of the biggest in that neighborhood.
City Spokeswoman Marlene Feist said the flood left debris across the city, which slowed down work crews’ response to issues on nonarterial streets. She said the city also initially thought the lines the tree caught when it fell may have been live power lines, and didn’t find out they were communication lines until Tuesday. Once the communication company was able to untangle the lines from the tree, the city removed it from the roadway.
Feist said she wasn’t sure what the city will do with the wood from the pine, but in the past it has used fallen trees to make mulch, donated them to a firewood charity or sent them to a biomass plant in Kettle Falls.
There may have been other trees on private property that fell as a result of the storm, Kosanke said, but the only other fallen tree the city tracked was an elm on the South Hill.
“We were fortunate there weren’t many others,” she said.
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