By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

One tree too many

Developers renovating the historic Taylor Hardware building cut down one tree too many at the corner of Third and Ford streets in McMinnville, and now they’ll have to pay for it.

Just how much remains to be determined.

Katie Jackson, the oldest daughter of late Jackson Family Wines founder Jess Jackson, purchased the building in 2016 with her husband, Shaun Kajiwara, and have since been renovating the space.

They obtained permits late last year to remove three trees, but Associate Planner Jamie Fleckenstein said they actually removed four.

The planning department was notified Dec. 17 that the California developers chopped down one tree too many. “It was a 10-inch tree, so it was pretty mature at the time,” said Planning Director Heather Richards.

Developers felled most of the trees at the corner of Third and Ford, Planning Director Heather Richards said. The only one they didn’t touch had decorative lights on it. “They didn’t want to deal with that one,” she said.

However, there is no animosity toward the developers, Fleckenstein said.

“They said it was an unintentional accident and have taken ownership of their actions,” he said.

Representatives from the business were not available for comment.

Fleckenstein said removing a publicly owned tree without a permit initiates a specific process.

“The city code outlines the process when that happens,” he said. “When a tree is removed without the permission of the city, the individuals will be subject to basically pay a penalty that is the value of the tree that is removed.”

That includes the cost of replanting it. Fleckenstein said planners have not yet decided the value of the tree. “There is a process for determining that value,” he said.

That process is contained in the International Society of Arboriculture’s Guide for Establishing Values of Trees and Other Plants.

Planner have signed a contract with Portland arborist Stephen F. Goetz to conduct the assessment, Fleckenstein said. “We’re working through the schedule of that work right now,” he said.

Goetz will do more work for the city than assessing the value of a single tree, Fleckenstein said. Planners are about to conduct a thorough inventory of trees downtown as part of the Northeast Third Street Streetscape Project.

The long-range planning project begins next month with the first stages of inventory along the street.

“This will help inform the streetscape redesign of Third Street to determine which trees are suitable for retention,” Fleckenstein. “There are construction methods that could help preserve tress.”

Taking stock of trees along Third Street is not as easy as it sounds, said Richards. Some of the reasons are purely sentimental, she added.

“Some of the trees are lifting sidewalks and things of that nature, but people love them,” she said.



Is this what government has come to? This city is more worried about one tree than spending the time to come up with a plan to rid the community of derelict’s and crime. The garbage and filth on Dustin Court and Marsh Lane continue to amaze me. Can’t wait to take my grandson to baseball at Joe Dancer and have to explain that mess again this spring.


Jim if you don't wish to view the people who are affected by poverty you can enter Joe Dancer Park via SE Brooks St, next to Kiwanis Marine Park.


Oregon1 I’m not driving around an extra 1 1/2 miles to avoid what the City has been avoiding for three years. Even people in poverty can pick up their own garbage,human waste and needles. It’s time for our city to get their heads out of the sand and do something to clean that mess up permanently.


Sorry, one tree is a big deal.

I come from a family of California land developers — arguably the most hated group of people in this state. But the structures my family built in Oregon are gorgeous buildings, making rich use of native materials and never losing sight of natural settings. They’ve appreciated the beauty of this state from the time they first arrived and worked to preserve or enhance it, never diminish it.

A key part of our downtown’s aesthetic is its visual appeal — a chief element of that appeal is the canopy of beautiful mature trees. Lighted year-round and densely leafed in summer months, I could argue those trees are crucial to our community identity. We’re known and loved for our picturesque downtown.

Apparently, our able planning staff have never heard of that age-old developer’s trick when dealing with unwanted landscape features, namely trees: get the permits for whatever they’ll let you cut then go ahead and cut everything you want to cut anyway — whatever paltry fine they levy will be well worth it in the end. This used to occur with mind-numbing regularity but has waned as planners have wised up. Apparently not in McMinnville — no hard feelings, thank you very much. Just pay the tiny cost of planting a tiny new tree that won’t reach maturity until I’m long dead.

In my opinion, the Jackson family should bear the cost of planting a mature tree. Yes, it can be done, albeit at considerable expense and effort. Essentially, require them to replace exactly what they destroyed. The Jacksons are welcome to make money off our downtown but not at our expense.

And to our planning staff, please remember the importance of our downtown trees. Don’t allow developers to remove city trees in the name of convenience. And consider mitigation efforts when examining the effects trees have on surrounding sidewalks and buildings — the cheapest option is not always the best option.


Jim, I bring food to the residents of Dustin Court and Marsh Lane 1-2 times per week. I have never seen human waste or needles. Garbage? Yes there is garbage. Unfortunately I don't think the Recology rates are within reach of anyone who is living in a tent, RV, or vehicle. Have you stepped up and offered to help solve their garbage problem by hauling some away?


Oregon1, in the winter that's the only way to enter Joe Dancer Park. The hill past light & power is closed.


Trafik, you make a great point. I had an opportunity to talk with the wine maker at one of the Jackson family’s early winery purchases a few years ago. It was very interesting to listen to him speak about the Jackson family as a real estate development company as much as they were in the wine business. It’s pretty hard to swallow the line about it being ‘mistake’. They will say they are ‘sorry’ and pay the petty ‘fine’ the city comes up with. It’s just a minor business expense for them. I watched California land developers move some pretty massive trees to help sell their developments in the past. Why not make the people involved experence some consequences for their actions rather than letting them off with a minor ‘business expense’?


The longer I ponder this, the more irritated I get. Sure, it’s just one tree but it’s always “just something.”

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the wine industry — indeed, my livelihood depends on it. But I have watched several times now as our city government has fallen all over itself to court certain wine / hospitality / tourism entities, letting them do whatever they want just so we can get them to establish a presence here. In at least one case, the city effectively gave away significant money to people who already have money so they can make more money. While the desirability of many businesses and amenities is not in question, the star-struck nature of city officials when they’re handing out freebies is embarrassing at best but more accurately described as inept stewardship of public resources.

I realize the city is unlikely to levy an appropriate fine against the Jackson family for their “mistake” — Associate Planner Jamie Fleckenstein is already on record enthusiastically defending their lame mea culpa. But Katie Jackson should do the right thing and replace the tree with a fully grown transplant. Yes, it’ll be expensive but she’ll demonstrate her family’s commitment to this community as genuine participating members, not absentee out-of-staters who just want to milk the McMinnville cash cow.


Trafik I can see you are passionate about the community and it’s well being. I applaud that. My point is we need so many more things done in this community and making a point to get it in the news seems short sighted to me. Our parks aren’t all being maintained,our streets in certain neighborhoods need some care,our schools need more money and programs for kids can always be better. But I feel the major issue is cleaning up the petty crimes and the garbage left all over town by the derelict’s that live on the streets. One tree isn’t the biggest problem the city of McMinnville faces.


Intriguing comments--particularly the "star-struck nature of our city officials." That foolish agape reaction played a major--and embarrassing--role years ago in several dealings with Waste Management. But Jim has a valid point also referring to trash and filth. What percentage of time do the "campers" spend on their hineys? Driving by, I notice a great deal of advanced physical reclining while simultaneously bemoaning to the newspaper all the slings and arrows of their misfortunes. Yes, the Jackson Family must replace the tree--its falling obviously made a huge sound everyone could hear. Please let it be a mature, august variety; they will pay by the foot and they can afford it. Maybe they could find a species that won't buckle the sidewalks like the rest along Third Street. I wonder how many headers people have taken over the years because somebody decreed they would class up this city without investigating whether their roots would rise from the underworld.


Oregon1 I would encourage you to visit YCAP and ask them where the human waste is being deposited on their property because I do know there is more to the waste story.

Also I would encourage you to visit Dustin Court about 1am and experience the culture and smell at that time of day. I have and it tells you where the sewage is being deposited.


You might also ask YCAP what their plan might be, aside from counting people--while taking forever and a day to produce the final document--
and how their street view appears below their cozy offices. Check out some of the salaries these people make and ask yourself what exactly are they doing? What a bureaucratic joke.

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