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The Red Xs

Original post made by Roger G. Novesky, Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch, on Apr 30, 2007

The Red Xs

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Posted by Steve Toben
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on May 2, 2007 at 11:36 am

As a member of the Portola Valley Town Council, I share Roger Novesky’s regret that the three old walnut trees on the Town Center campus have been lost. However, the arborist for the Town Center project reported that the walnut trees were rotten inside, to the point that the contractor on the Town Center project was concerned that they were a hazard to the construction crews. The architects are going to try to use the beautiful wood from the walnut trees in the interior of the Town Hall or Library.

It bears noting that these were not native walnuts but rather introduced orchard trees related to the old walnut grove that can still be seen just west of the parcel. When the parcel was originally sold to the school district in the 1940s, a large number of orchard trees were removed. The three that remained were apparently left because they sat between two use areas. They were a modest echo of the former orchard rows.

The design team has worked throughout this project to protect and preserve all the trees we could. Some non-native trees were removed because they were very old and likely to fail soon, e.g. the large pines and poplars. Others were taken down because they were right in the middle of area needed for another use, or because they had grown in a planter box above grade which was to be removed. We particularly tried to preserve native trees. We have saved a significant majority of the desirable trees and will be replacing a large number of trees with new stock. And we are even preserving the trunks of some of the removed trees for interior columns and play structures in the playground.

We are truly sorry about the loss of the walnut trees. But we are also proud of how "green" the remainder of the project is turning out to be, and how sustainably we are accomplishing this project.


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