Neighbors, Bend arborist react to pine tree mystery

Tree was cut down hours after city council vote

Mystery surrounds Bend tree's demise

BEND, Ore. - The mystery behind who cut down a nearly 100-year-old Ponderosa pine tree near Bend's roundabout at NE Eighth Street and Franklin Avenue continued Friday.

The Bend City Council voted 5-1 late Wednesday night to cut down the tree. Within 7 1/2 hours, someone had cut it down.

"We were sitting going they didn't take any time," Jamie Dias, who lives across the street from the tree, said Friday. "They made a decision at 11 p.m., and there they are, first thing in the morning."

At first she thought the tree was cut down by the city to avoid the morning traffic and people walking on the nearby trail.

"It's very surprising," Dias said. "Makes me wonder who wanted it down so quickly."

A city staff arborist said the tree posed a safety hazard and needed to be removed from a garden project site

Another arborist, former city council candidate Wade Fagen, had objected to the tree's removal, saying it was not failing or a hazard.

Fagen also recently appealed to the city to try to save a juniper tree at a road project on the south end of town, saying the road could have been shifted a bit to save it and that junipers are native High Desert plants.

"You can tell right here -- beautiful, very stable wood, it's not even brittle," Fagen said Friday. "It's sickening. Take a good shot at these stumps. None of these trees were a hazard."

As the mystery continues on who cut down the Ponderosa, the city will now move forward with plans for the garden. Organizers say they tree could be cut up as soon as this weekend, with the wood donated to needy families for the winter.

"The idea of planting hopefully a lot more trees to come and filling in the space, that's moving forward," Dias said.

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