EDITORIAL: Stump won't replace tree

Joyce Kilmer: “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

Ogden Nash: “I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree.”

Oak Harbor City Council: “I think that I shall someday see a stump lovely as a tree.”

OK, the city council isn’t comprised of poets. Nevertheless, the council deserves some credit for trying to make the landmark Garry oak tree at the post office lovelier than a hole in the ground. Having long ago acquiesced to alarmists who claim the huge tree is rotten to the core and a threat to the population, the council voted to cut down the city’s favorite tree. The death sentence was suspended, however, while a committee worked on ways to assuage citizens in advance of the predictable outcry that will occur when chainsaw meets oakwood.

What they came up with was spending some $32,000 to cut down all but the stump which will be left to the imagination of Whidbey Island woodcarver Steve Backus, and then create a pocket park to surround the stump/work-of-art. Furthermore, wood from the tree will be milled into planks, which will be turned into more art for display downtown.

It’s probably the best the city could do, having made the ill-advised choice to destroy the tree rather than make a heroic effort to save it. And spending all that money from the city’s reserves is the council’s way of showing it really cares.

Nice try, but it won’t work. People will still be mad when the tree is felled either this month or next. Because islanders are poets at heart, and know they’ll never see a stump lovely as a tree.

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