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Hazard trees removed in Gig Harbor near where driver was killed

Two trees marked as hazardous are visible from the sidewalk of Borgen Boulevard in Gig Harbor on the morning of Nov. 2, 2015. The trees were slated for removal later in the day after a tree fell from the Heron's Key development over the weekend. Gig Harbor resident Jamie Fay was killed Aug. 29 when a Douglas fir fell from the property, hitting his car.
Two trees marked as hazardous are visible from the sidewalk of Borgen Boulevard in Gig Harbor on the morning of Nov. 2, 2015. The trees were slated for removal later in the day after a tree fell from the Heron's Key development over the weekend. Gig Harbor resident Jamie Fay was killed Aug. 29 when a Douglas fir fell from the property, hitting his car. Staff writer

Several hazardous trees along Borgen Boulevard in Gig Harbor were cut down Monday after two trees fell during recent windstorms, killing a man in August and closing a stretch of the busy road since Saturday afternoon.

The city reopened the road between Olympus Way and Peacock Hill Avenue Northwest late Monday afternoon. It had been closed around 2 p.m. Saturday after a tree fell for the second time at the Heron’s Key development. The tree fell onto the sidewalk, and no one was injured.

The tree was roughly 50 feet east of where a larger Douglas fir fell Aug. 29, killing Gig Harbor resident Jamie Fay. The 36-year-old Gig Harbor father of two was driving east on Borgen when the tree struck his car.

The Tacoma Narrows Airport recorded sustained winds between 22 and 28 mph Friday and Saturday with gusts between 32 and 35 mph, said meteorologist Josh Smith with the National Weather Service.

A 29-mile-per-hour wind gust was recorded Saturday morning around 11 a.m., which is when city officials think the tree fell. The weather station that recorded the gust is a few blocks south of the Heron’s Key development.

The station also recorded 1.4 inches of rain over the 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday morning, Smith said.

Representatives from a logging company were at City Hall on Monday morning to make sure they had the necessary permits to clear the Heron’s Key site of the hazard trees, City Administrator Ron Williams said.

On Oct. 22, the city granted Emerald Communities approval to remove hazardous trees from the site. The Redmond-based company is the developer of Heron’s Key, a senior-living community that is shaping up as the largest development in city history.

The city gave its approval a day after receiving an arborist report submitted by the developer that stated any tree marked with orange paint “needs to be removed immediately because it is, or will become a hazard tree.”

At least 15 trees bordering Borgen were marked as hazardous by the arborist, according to his report dated Sept. 25.

The city approved the tree removal before conducting a site visit because of the emergency nature of the situation, Williams said last week.

A city employee saw tree protection fences being removed from the construction site Friday. The fences need to be removed for the hazardous trees to be felled.

Williams didn’t know why the developer didn’t remove the trees immediately following the city’s approval.

“I don’t know the logistics, how long it takes to get a logging company,” Williams said.

An attorney representing Emerald Communities was asked Monday morning about the delay between the city’s approval and the tree removal. She said she would have to check with company representatives.

The dangerous trees that border Borgen were scheduled to be removed first, followed by the marked hazard trees deeper inside the site that don’t pose a public safety risk, Williams said.

The trees along Borgen were taken down Monday afternoon, and the road was reopened after the city conducted a site visit, he said.

Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467

brynn.grimley@thenewstribune.com

@bgrimley

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