Sometimes roots can be cumbersome or even dangerous – specifically when they push up the panels of sidewalks. The city of Beaverton, Oregon sent out a newsletter that explains:
Keeping sidewalks in good repair is the property owner’s responsibility… Many uplifted sidewalks are caused by the roots of street trees. The new Sidewalk Repair Grant Program (which may give up to 50% back on the cost of repairing or replacing a sidewalk – JAY) was developed in recognition of the inherent conflict between tree roots and sidewalks, and the accompanying financial burden upon homeowners.
I happen to be a great fan of sidewalks. While in Israel, I ran a one-man campaign against those who parked their vehicles on the sidewalk. My tactics were sometimes rather extreme but always effective. But I am no fan of government requiring us to do something, on the one hand, and then charging us extra fees to comply (in the most practical manner) on the other.
The City of Beaverton categorizes trees into several types. “Street tree” is one type and the city does not like to make our lives easy when it comes to removing such trees:
To request a Removal & Replanting Permit:
- Review the Street Tree Removal & Replanting brochure and Street Tree Removal & Replanting Permit Application. If you believe your street tree is a candidate for removal, complete the application and submit it with the $35 non-refundable processing fee and supporting photos, arborist reports, and other optional materials as necessary to: City Nature Urban Forestry, 10910 N. Denver Ave, Portland, OR 97217.
- Mark the tree(s) under consideration with flagging tape or ribbon. Note that submitting an application does not entitle you to a permit, and that you must have the permit in hand before beginning any work.
- An Urban Forestry Tree Inspector will review your request, conduct a site inspection, and determine if removal is permissible. In many cases, pruning is sufficient to alleviate potential hazards. In these cases, a pruning permit will be issued.
- If the inspection determines that the tree meets removal criteria, a Removal & Replanting Permit will be issued. Tree and stump removal and replanting must be completed within 30 days of permit issuance. In some case, replanting may be deferred until planting season.
In other words, the homeowner might go through all this trouble, pay the $35 and then discover that his tree is not authorized for removal. In this case, he will be required to repair the uplifted sidewalk over and over again, as long as the tree roots keep growing. If he removes the tree without permission, this might result in a $1,000 fine. But not to worry! Through the new program, he may get 50% of his repair money back.