A natural landmark on north Broadway is slated to disappear this weekend when city crews take down one of Capitol Hill’s most prominent street-side trees. City officials say the towering Raywood ash at the northeast corner of Broadway and Mercer has become a danger after it began “exhibiting an increasingly unnatural lean.”
The Seattle Department of Transportation Urban Forestry team announced the city would be removing the tree Saturday. The city says crews had been monitoring it for several years. A public notice was also recently taped on the tree trunk.
The crew will work from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day as needed. The majority of the tree removal work is expected to be completed on Saturday, April 5, followed by debris clean-up on Sunday, April 6.
Saving the tree through supports or other means wasn’t an option given its proximity to the street, sidewalk, and private property, SDOT’s forestry manager Darren Morgan told CHS.
“It added so much to the block there … we monitored it for years but finally we just saw too many signs that it was moving more and more,” Morgan said. “With a leaning tree of this size, there’s not much that can be done.”
The tree likely started leaning after a storm or after being struck by a car, Morgan said. At some point the tree stabilized on its own, but began leaning again. Not wanting to wait another growing season, Morgan said the city decided in March that it would come down.
Many, if not all, of Broadway’s Raywood ashes were planted in the mid-1970s, including the one slated for removal. Morgan said crews would likely take advantage of Metro’s overhead wires being shut off Saturday to prune the other large Raywood ash on the block.
Those who sit on the nearby wall waiting for for the Rt. 49 bus will no doubt miss the cover this massive piece of urban landscape provided on sunny and rainy days. Many of Broadway’s trees are of replaceable scale. The old ash is clearly one of a kind.