VANCOUVER – City officials were asking for the public’s help to identify suspects who vandalized trees on the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail in Vancouver.
Officials discovered the vandalism in August after a report of damage to a large cottonwood tree (pictured above), according to Charles Ray, Urban Forester for the City of Vancouver Public Works.
City staff recently found other trees that had been similarly vandalized in a way that kills them, Ray said.
Details of the vandalism were not released by the city due to the investigation, but a neighbor showed KGW one damaged tree that had a ring chopped around it.
Neighbors also said they heard what sounded like someone chopping a tree late at night.
"Maybe it's not just visitors around the area," said neighbor James Stocks. "It might be local residents like us, who don't want the trees blocking their view."
According to Ray, healthy trees reduce storm water runoff, improve air quality and provide wildlife habitat. The trees along the river trail also help protect the trail from erosion and high waters from the Columbia River.
Destroying a tree in Vancouver can lead to a civil fine of up to $1,000 plus restoration costs, Ray said. Anyone with information about the vandalism was asked to contact Urban Forestry at 360-487-8328.