Cheryl Perkins wanted to know why workers were trimming trees along Ruston Way along Tacoma’s waterfront this week.
“It’s not that I have a problem with people who have views, but why did they have to cut them down?” she asked.
As a crew of five workers were at work Thursday along the hillside just east of Ruston, a passing motorist yelled over the din of a chain saw and a wood chipper machine: “Tree killers!”
Turns out the trees on BNSF-owned property are being trimmed, not killed.
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“These trees are actually alive,” said Micah Glastetter of Lakewood-based Rangers Tree Experts Inc., which is doing the work. “We trim the branches down to the stump.”
Trimming the maple trees to their stumps keeps them alive and removes weight from the treetops, relieving pressure from the hillside, Glastetter said.
More importantly, he said, “this is to clear out the view for homeowners up the hill. We do this every 10 years.”
Glastetter said Friday a group of homeowners on North Waterview Street hired his company to do the work, which received the blessing of the railroad.
The city of Tacoma regulates tree-cutting only on private property with wetlands, shorelands or slopes steeper than 40 degrees, said Mike Terry, the city’s Urban Forest Program manager.
Staff photographer David Montesino and staff writer Adam Lynn contributed to this report.