We Will Miss You, Tree

If you’ve ever made your way to the northern end of Broadway you’re sure to have noticed the notorious “leaning tree.” For those who haven’t (and now, will never) experience it’s delightfully obtrusive beauty, just picture Iggy Azalea in plant form, itty-bitty on top and thick on bottom.

As one of the street’s most cherished landmarks, this 30-year-old Raywood ash was nature’s ode to the hill’s trademark eccentricity.

As of last Saturday, however, the leaning tree is no longer with us. The Seattle Department of Transportation Urban Forestry was forced to chop it down after years of concern over its “increasingly unnatural lean,” says a city official.

The tree was planted back in 1982 as part of the city’s beautification project. Noted for its unique growth pattern and expansive size, it earned itself the title of “Heritage Tree” in 2010 and gave character to the otherwise ordinary northern block.

As the years went on, however, the liability to the city of smacking one’s head on the protruding trunk continued to worsen. After a particularly devastating wind storm last winter, the tree developed an additional 1-2 degree lean towards unsuspecting pedestrians. Though experts say it stabilized itself briefly after the shift, the city decided that the tree could not live through another growing season and had to come down after March.

SDOT announced the trees impending death to the public through a notice taped around its mighty trunk. Starting on Saturday and working through Sunday, a crew of eight worked full time to remove the landmark and clean its sawdust guts from the mourning streets.

It appears that those missing the tree most are the riders of the Rt. 49 bus who relied on its many branches for shelter on the rainiest of Seattle days.

In response to its removal, BB, reader of Capitol Hill Seattle’s blog wrote, “Lord knows I will miss that tree. Perhaps the neighborhood can have a farewell ceremony in its honor. I will miss doing a little dance each time I passed it.”

DJ Alan shares in BB’s memorial with his comment, “Bummed to see

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the old gal go. Tragic for sure, but not as tragic as it would be if it fell on someone, or took out a car in the lot next to it. I have actually slammed my head real good on that tree while walking past it.”

A Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson states that a new tree will soon be planted to replace but we know it won’t be the same. You will forever be home to so many exultations of adoration for mother earth. RIP old friend.