Letters to the Editor

Oak Harbor city leaders must be held accountable for tree | Letter


The City of Oak Harbor slayed its oldest living citizen this past Sunday.

Without announcement or public comment, the mayor and his cronies cut down the 400-year-old Garry oak tree in front of the post office.

I personally inspected the carnage of the tree and found it structurally uncompromised. Sure, it had a small area of hollow heart and a fungal condition, but it would likely have survived this way beyond our time, our children’s time and generations beyond that.

The city was looking to remove old “Garry” for some time, but they went behind our back to do so.

Public safety? Not likely. Progress? Dubious.

Just like the desecration of the known burial grounds on Pioneer Way, they just did what they pleased. A travesty, a desecration, another indiscriminate act, so senseless, so irreverent.

I am not the crazy “tree-hugger” type, but this was done without respect to nature or the desires of the community.

Wanton destruction. Inexplicable.

For hundreds of years, enduring storms, swampy conditions, roadways, sidewalks, the great tree still lived on, vibrant and fully leaved just last summer, only to be felled because of the fears of perceived liability makes no sense.

Garry oaks are protected by city ordinance and are the namesake of Oak Harbor, but the city appears not to live by its own rules and just does what it wants. This was an act of callousness.

I would like all who loved that old tree to gather in respect from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the sawn stump. Bring family, pictures, flowers and signs of protest. Let’s heap flowers upon the stump to celebrate its life. Help us count the rings on the stump and mark history upon it.

Write and email your friends. Let us shut down the traffic and show our dismay. Let us then walk, in a dignified fashion, to Oak Harbor City Hall in protest. I invite everyone, long-time local families, tree huggers and anyone who will miss our old friend. Let the Mayor and city officials know that it matters.

What’s done, is done. We can’t wish a new 400-year-old oak back into being. We can, however, hold the city officials responsible for their callousness and total disregard toward public sentiments.  Then, vote the fools out of office.

John Cline

Oak Harbor


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