BPA quick to respond to residents angry over tree cutting

BPA quick to respond to residents angry over tree cutting

BEAVERTON, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration is responding to neighbors who are angry over crews coming on to their property and cutting down their trees.

Doug Johnson, a spokesman with BPA, started working with concerned neighbors as soon as KATU brought him out to their neighborhood near Southwest Cornelius Pass Road and TV Highway.

"The very next morning I called Doug over at BPA and we had a wonderful talk," neighbor Sarah Richmond said. "He was genuinely concerned about what was happening out here."

Bonneville Power is clearing out trees near major lines that it believes may damage power lines or are close enough to the lines to attract arcing electricity.

Johnson said the lines running through the neighborhood are the highest voltage lines BPA operates.

Residents in the neighborhood are up in arms over BPA showing up on their property with cutting crews, ready to chop down trees in their back yards.

Some neighbors said they got no notice from BPA that the cutting was going to take place.

Bonneville Power said it sent out notices back in November but couldn't guarantee those notices reached their intended recipients.

Speaking on behalf of a few neighbors, Sarah Richmond said they just wanted BPA to include them in their tree-clearing plan.

Now BPA is setting up a forum to do just that.

Richmond, for now, is satisfied.

"If BPA had not been (made) aware that the situation was going on, it would have just gotten worse and worse," Richmond said.

Because Bonneville owns a rights-of-way easement along the power lines, it can legally access private property to cut down any vegetation that may interfere with the lines.

Some neighbors are still not happy with how BPA initially handled the situation.

"People were just getting very, very upset and still honestly are, but I think the town hall will help quite a bit," Richmond said.

Johnson said BPA is trying to schedule the town hall forum for April.