Redmond’s Idylwood Park trees will be removed by early November

Many of the trees are older cottonwoods which can pose a threat to park-goers.

The final removal of nearly 30 trees from Idylwood Park has begun more than a year after several branches fell, causing property damage and sending one person to the hospital.

The city of Redmond has already removed 20 trees and eight more trees will be removed by early November, said Redmond communications manager Lisa Maher in an email.

The removed trees will be replaced with more than 60 trees and nearly 400 shrubs along with ground-cover. This will include native conifers like Douglas and Grand firs, as well as spruce and pine trees. Deciduous trees like the western flowering dogwood and cascara will also be planted. These trees will be between four and eight feet tall and the shrubs will be one- and two-gallon container sized.

The city has been planning on removing the trees since at least this spring. Around 10 smaller trees were removed then, but the removal of several larger trees was on hold due to a challenge to the city’s grading and clearing permit filed with a hearings examiner. The city argued that the trees were a threat to public safety and was given the go-ahead to remove the trees.

Some neighbors had concerns about the city’s removal of the trees and questioned whether it was necessary to remove them. Redmond mayor John Marchione said the city’s risk department had identified the cottonwoods as being a danger to public safety. The trees are classified as being weak wooded and are prone to limb drops as they age, especially under the added stress of summer heat. Residents were also worried about the possibility of the trees providing a habitat for local bald eagles, but the city said they did not find any nests in the trees that were slated for removal.

During the summer of 2017, a large branch fell from one of the large cottonwood trees and hit someone beneath it, sending them to the hospital. Another branch fell and smashed a picnic table on an adjacent property.

Some large cottonwoods will remain in natural areas along the waterfront away from high-use areas and permanent fencing will be installed to limit access and protect future restoration plantings, a press release from the city stated. There will be no changes to swimming beach access, Maher said. Some shoreline in the northeast corner of the park will be fenced off, as well as the beach grove cluster of trees.