Trees and other things

There’s more tree turmoil in Bremerton.

Last week, city crews cut down two large trees on Highland Avenue. When passersby noticed, a member of the city’s tree committee got a phone call.

Unfortunately, he knew nothing about what was going on. It seems the city’s tree committee isn’t on the “need to know” list.

It was last year when the Bremerton city council approved the formation of a tree committee to advise the city and Mayor Patty Lent on “all things tree.”

The subject surfaced when the city made plans to remove all the trees along Fourth Street from Pacific Avenue to Washington. There was a public outcry to save the trees, although some, including merchants along Fourth Street, wanted them to go.

They said the trees had overstayed their welcome, grew too big, and were making it difficult to walk down the sidewalks where roots were pushing up the concrete. To date, those trees remain in place.

But a year prior to that, a few blocks to the west, about 30 trees on Fourth Street were cut down without ever being discussed by elected city officials or department heads.

Regarding the most recent adventures along Highland Avenue, it became known that those two trees were interfering with electrical lines in the area, and were buckling the sidewalks. Homeowners there called the city to request that they be removed.

It’s true that no city can operate reasonably without seasoned employees making decisions in the field. But with the “tree history” in Bremerton, it would have made sense for someone in the city to call the tree committee chairman and let them in on what was going on. There’s nothing worse that recruiting volunteers to give of their time on a project, and then leaving them out of the loop.

Keeping the public informed

And while we’re speaking of leaving the public out, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue is making sure that no one in Tracyton feels left out of its decision-making process on whether to close Tracyton Station 44. A public meeting and open house is set for March 24 at 3:30 p.m. at Station 44.

A few months back, CK District officials learned the hard way that residents are paying attention. It happened when they altered staffing levels at the Chico Station without getting public opinion. Due to a reduction in staffing, that station has days when there are no professional firefighters on duty. It’s been a subject of some discontent.

But this time around, they’re taking every measure to make sure the public has its say. And that’s the way it should be.

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