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After a gas explosion destroyed
three buildings and damaged 52 other properties on North Bend Way four years
ago, a lone Japanese Maple tree at the blast site managed to survive. As
construction of the new Phoenix Plaza is underway, many wonder what will happen
to the tree.
City staff has been in contact
with the owner and contractor for the new construction and are happy to report
that they have agreed to make every attempt to save the tree.
“From the beginning of this
process, I’ve been talking with the land owner/ developer, Manoj Dipankar,
about saving the tree and he has always been very agreeable,” City of North
Bend Economic Development Manager and Planner, Lynn Hyde said. “The contractor
really went above and beyond by soaking the tree with water prior to the
relocation and taking extra precautions while working around it.”
City staff has also been working
with Si View Metro Park District to relocate the tree to Torguson Park near
the Pump Track, where it would be protected in a central location for community
members to enjoy. Even though its survival is not guaranteed due to the stress
of moving, Si View is working hard to ensure it has the best chance.
“You might notice when you look at the tree in its present location, that
it has a natural lean to it. I believe this was caused by the blast,” Dave
Dembeck, Si View Metro Park District Operations Manager, said. “I tried to straighten it up, but it
wanted no part of it. The tree wanted to stay the way it has been growing since
the blast. The roots were all intact when moved and to straighten the tree would
have meant the roots on one side would be up in the air. I would say the Mamma
Lynn tree has a 99% chance of survival. This is Lynn’s (Hyde) tree all the way.
She saw the diamond in the rough and saved its life!”
Photo credits from left: Snoqualmie Valley Record, Lynn Hyde, Jill Green