2021 Ice Storm Updates
Dear Barrington Heights Homeowner,
We hope that each owner has now had their power and internet restored, after the recent snow and ice event we experienced a few weekends ago. This was one of, if not the most, devastating storms to ever hit West Linn. Due to the elevation and exposure to wind, the Barrington Heights community was hit especially hard. As a result, the governor issued an emergency order and several counties were operating under disaster response. The City of West Linn responded by first opening all roads within Barrington Heights, to allow at least one lane for emergency vehicles and owners to access homes. In some cases, the city had to use a snow plow to be able to clear a lane through the debris in the street, primarily caused by downed street trees and trees on owners’ properties.
Most homeowners are pleased to have had the community cleared so quickly, and the association is grateful for the city’s response, as this saved many homeowners thousands of dollars in tree and debris removal. We also recognize that some owners did incur expense to have their hazardous street trees removed as quickly as possible, as the street was being blocked. It is important for all homeowners to know that the association was not involved, or notified, of the actions taken by the city in their emergency response efforts that resulted in the removal of street trees and storm debris. Under the circumstances, everyone was operating with the knowledge they had and doing the best that they could, given the conditions.
As we have heard some concerns regarding the removal of the street trees, we forwarded the city’s response to those inquiries in our previous communication. Moving forward, our primary focus will be to make every effort to communicate with all owners as we learn more information from the City of West Linn. To our knowledge, decisions on next steps have not yet been made, as the City is still focusing on the initial clean-up. Our current understanding is that the City of West Linn will be conducting stump removal, planting of street tree replacements, and sidewalk repairs where needed. The Board of Directors and The Management Trust are taking a proactive and communicative approach with the City of West Linn, as we recover from this event. We fully recognize that this storm was shocking and devastating to all of us in Barrington Heights. Many owners suffered damage to landscaping, homes and cars. Thankfully, there were no reported injuries as a result of the damage.
We will get through this, and are absolutely looking forward to stumps being ground out, new trees planted, and sidewalks repaired. If we can be of any assistance, especially by answering specific questions or concerns, please reach out to our community manager, Sara Cole, at The Management Trust by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to stay safe and well.
Barrington Heights Board of Directors
As follow-up to our most recent email update regarding the damage to the trees in the community caused by the snow and ice event, we received some additional information from the City of West Linn and wanted to inform all homeowners. The public right of way including the sidewalk, street trees, and roadway are all the property of the city. By City Code, the adjacent property owner has the responsibility to do routine maintenance of the sidewalk, street tree, and landscaping that fronts their private property. This assignment of regular maintenance responsibility is consistent with other cities throughout the Portland Metro area. By having property owner’s complete adjacent maintenance, taxes are kept low. To clarify further, the street trees are the property of the city, not the homeowner, thus there will be no compensation for property you do not own.
Please understand that this is not a regular event or time of the year. In fact, this event is considered once in a lifetime and will likely be remembered as one of the greatest natural disasters to hit West Linn of all time. Thousands of trees were damaged and uprooted by the ice storm. This damage goes beyond the obvious physical destruction visible to the untrained eye and has impacted trees on a level that are often not immediately visible. The city has contracted with skilled, experienced, and certified arborists to review the condition of every tree as the city goes through our initial sweep of cleaning up damage. Nobody wants to remove healthy trees as this serves no purpose. Only hazard trees are being removed. After this initial cleanup of the city, a more detailed analysis will take place which could result in the removal of more trees. Tree removal is not taken lightly but is often necessary to re-establish a health more resilient street tree canopy. The city’s staff is working to document all tree removals and locations. The staff will also be working in the future on stump removal. This inventory of removals will form the basis for setting policy on replacements and a future restoration plan. No trees will be replaced until a thorough review of the whole city can be completed and policy set on replacements. Additionally, these replacements will likely not begin until late fall or winter.
The city has a staff of 6 full time people in streets dedicated to a city of almost 27,000 residents, so their response will be a little slow in comparison to what you might be accustomed to by private companies. We ask that you alternatively contact our managing agent, The Management Trust, with any questions or concerns so they can be routed to the appropriate party. Our community manager is Madison Castillo and can be reached via email at email@example.com or by calling (503) 670-8111 x5222.
Street trees (those located in the planting strips between the sidewalk and the curb) are required by both City of West Linn ordinance and by the CC&Rs of each phase of Barrington Heights. Originally, certain varieties of large shade trees were planted. For some phases of Barrington Heights, the specific variety is specified by the CC&Rs. In the planning process, the City approved the varieties used.
Over time, it has become clear that our planting strips were too narrow for the variety of trees chosen in many areas, resulting in damage to the sidewalks and some of the curbs. This has been a problem in many parts of West Linn and in many cities across the country. The City came up with a proposed list of new tree varieties a few years ago, but final action was not taken due to the cost implications.
Street Tree List Approved by City of West Linn
After considerable “encouragement” by the Board and the Landscape Committee, the City of West Linn has released a new list of street trees for use in Barrington Heights, as the beginning of their efforts to do this throughout the City. As you recall, the City (and many other cities across the country) has found that the original street tree plan called for tree varieties that were often too large for our narrow planting strips. As a result, an audit of the neighborhood by the City and the Board in May 2010 found 101 locations within Barrington Heights were the sidewalks were cracked or displaced, usually due to street trees. To reduce this issue in the future, the City came up with a new list of trees (one for each street) that are smaller than those on the original list, and are to be used in the future. Here is the list:
- Barrington Dr. — Kousa Dogwood
- Riverknoll Way — Paperbark Maple
- Riverknoll Ct. — Styrax Japonicus
- Beacon Hill Dr. (south of Lorinda) — Amur Maple
- Beacon Hill Dr. (north of Lorinda) — Redmond Linden
- S and N Hampton Ct. — Cleveland Select Pear
- Fairhaven Dr. (west of Tanner Creek) — Redmond Linden
- Fairhaven Dr. (east of Tanner Creek) — Styrax Japonicus
- Wellington Dr. — Redbud
- Edgewood Ct. — Redbud
- Wellington Ct. — Styrax Japonicus
- Imperial Dr. — Paperbark Maple
- Manchester Ct. — Paperbark Maple
- Radcliffe Ct. — Kousa Dogwood
Homeowners who plan to plant or replace street trees should contact Ron Jones, City Arborist [(503) 723-2554] for approval and to verify the variety. The City can also supply the tree and do the planting for $300 for most varieties. Note: This new list does not require anyone to remove existing trees. It merely specifies what varieties are to be planted in the future.
Further details can be found on the City of West Linn Tree Ordinance PDF here.