Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

A tree that might have been a seedling when the first wagon train of emigrants traveled through the Baker Valley on the Oregon Trail came down Tuesday.

The severely rotted cottonwood, which might have been as old as 180 years, stood at the corner of Resort and Campbell streets, next to the Baker County Library’s parking lot.

Ed Adamson, the library district’s facilities maintenance manager, said he had initially hoped to stabilize the tree.

But the techniques he’s used to repair a birch tree, involving concrete and wires, were not suitable for the much taller and thicker cottonwood, Adamson said.

Baker City’s Tree Board, along with two certified arborists, examined the cottonwood in May after Adamson asked the city about the library district’s options, said Jennifer Murphy of the city staff.

Workers inserted metal rebar into a cavity in the tree’s main trunk, and the rebar penetrated at least one foot. In addition, bores made into two of the tree’s other trunks showed significant amounts of rot.

On June 2 the Tree Board approved an order requiring the library district to remove the tree because it posed a hazard to streets, sidewalks and the library itself.

See more in the June 28, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.