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Construction crews work to remove trees Thursday in front of Roosevelt Elementary School in preparation for construction of a new school. - Jamie Lusch

Queen Anne maples come down

MEDFORD — Crews on Thursday cut down 50-year-old silver maple trees along Queen Anne Avenue on Roosevelt Elementary School's campus as an audience of sad neighbors watched from across the street.

Some of the branches that tumbled to the ground as crew hacked away at the big trees were hollow inside, a sign of interior decay.

"It's sad to see them go, but after seeing some are rotten inside I can see why they cut them down," said Bob Trimmer, who has lived on Queen Anne since 1962.

The Medford School District's plans to remove the trees to make way for construction of a replacement school spurred a flood of calls asking the city of Medford to save the trees.

But the city concurred with a district-commissioned arborist that the trees had some interior decay and were hazardous.

"It's a sad day," said resident Margaret Brown, who grew up next to Roosevelt and moved to a house on Queen Anne after her marriage in 1956. "That's why I'm mowing the lawn. I need something to do."

Queen Anne has long been distinguished by its continuous tree canopy down the avenue.

Trimmer said last year the city ordered him to cut down a silver maple in his yard because it was in danger of falling.

He said he was reluctant to comply but saw the sense in it when the tree came down.

"It was more hollow inside than these trees and infested with ants," he said.

Brown said she and other neighbors late Wednesday snapped photos of each other in front of the maples, knowing the trees would be gone by the next day.

"It looks dead without them," Brown said.

The school district plans to plant new trees on the avenue after the school reopens Roosevelt's new building in 2010.

The old building, constructed in 1911, will be demolished in August.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.

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