Jami Heinricher teared up as she described the need to cut down a 150-foot Douglas fir that has literally grown to be part of the tiny Sherwood Press building.
The tree was three-quarters of an inch from the side of the building in Olympia, and the rootball had lifted the building’s toilet so much that it had to be rebuilt on a platform.
“I want people to know I’m sorry,” Heinricher said. But it was the tree or the historic business. Since 1940, the Sherwood Press, a letterpress print shop in a 420-square-foot cottage, has occupied the heavily wooded bluff off of Fifth Avenue, overlooking Capitol Lake. Heinricher has owned the business since 2003.
The tree was removed in a two-day process that began early Tuesday. Parts of the tree will live on in donations and in a bookcase to be built for the press, she said. And some of the sections will be donated to Heinricher’s alma mater, Olympia High School, for woodworking projects.
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Taking out the tree was highly technical. Because of the proximity of buildings, all of the limbs and sections of trunk had to be lowered by rope — nothing could be dropped.
Ron's Stump Removal Tree Service undertook the project. Sherwood Press mounted an Indiegogo campaign to raise approximately $7,000 needed to remove the tree.
As a for-profit business, grants aren’t available, Heinricher said. Part of the same fundraising campaign paid to replace the rotting south wall and window in the beloved business.
Climber Luis Ramirez, who has 15 years of experience, was in the tree more than six hours Tuesday, first scaling the trunk and cutting off the branches, then taking off the very top. From the top, he could see “everything,” he said.
It’s easier on the climber to stay up, rather than climb down for a break, crew members said. Christy Schneider, who owns the tree service with her husband, Ron, said she bought a chicken wrap and sent it up the tree for lunch for Ramirez.
A crane was brought in for the second day of the effort, when the trunk was cut into 10-foot sections.
Dealing with hazard trees such as this are fairly routine for Ron’s, Christy Schneider said. She said they use a crane 20 to 25 times a year.
But the tree removal was far from routine for Heinricher and the neighborhood around the Sherwood Press.
“It’s going to change the feel of the property,” Heinricher said. “There will be a big hole up there.”
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