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Trees removed for NE Bend housing a hot topic

Criticism arises after more than 100 trees taken

Trees removed to make room for homes

BEND, Ore. - There’s a new housing development being built in northeast Bend, and one in particular is drawing attention because of all the trees being pulled out of the ground.

The plot of land sits at the end of Courtney Drive, and the area to be developed is north of the street.

The land used to be dotted with more than 100 older trees and lots of sagebrush, but now it's a massive dirt lot, with construction equipment and rock piles.

The project will eventually become an 83-lot townhome subdivision. It will also extend Courtney Drive and Victor Boulevard.

It’s being called Purcell Landing, and because of the street extension and high number of homes, most of the trees had to removed.

Dena Persell works nearby and said watching the trees get pulled out nearly brought her to tears.

"Pretty unexpected. Pretty shocking to see. I don’t think words describe it. Within a couple hours, this whole field was leveled," Persell said Wednesday.

"I think anyone would be pretty stunned and shocked," she added. "Again, I understand development. I get that it’s happening. I just hope as we grow, we can be a little more discriminate about it."

More than 100 trees were pulled out to make way for construction, while about a dozen appear to have been saved

Developers are following city code in tree removal. The city of Bend says preservation of trees shall be considered impractical when it hinders development of public streets or needed housing.

Bend needs housing, but the city, unlike other cities, doesn't require developers to keep a certain number of trees standing, city Senior Planner Karen Swenson said.

"We don’t have any numerical criteria for how many trees to save, like some other cities do," she said. "So it is more of a subjective basis if can they save them or not. But in this case, it’s pretty obvious that it's all developed with streets and townhomes. 

People like Persell say something needs to change.

"Homeowners are often scrutinized if they have a historical building. You know, you can't change a window on it," she said. "But developers can come in and just clear-cut. It just doesn't seem right. Maybe we slow down, we think about it more. I know they're asking for more input from people. This is my input."

The project is still in its early stages and likely won't start full construction until next spring.


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