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PORTLAND, Ore. As contractors continue to remove trees to make way for the new Sellwood Bridge and interchange, some worry that the timing of the project could lead to landslides.

In all, about 800 trees will be cut down in order to widen Highway 43 near the west end of the bridge. So far, only about a quarter of them have been taken out.

Geologists have warned that the number of trees, combined with the high amount of recent rainfall has increased the threat of landslides.

Locals have also expressed concerns.

It does look like it's about to come down. Luckily, I run on this [other] side of the road but if I was driving, it would definately be a concern, said runner Erik Lorenzen.

The county said it has been taking several steps to help reinforce the hillsides, including laying down mulch and installing safety fences. A retaining wall will also be built this coming summer.

Background: Tree-cutting slows Sellwood Bridge project

County officials also said that most of the trees are in poor condition already and not native to the area. Native species will be re-planted at the completion of the project, including 1,500 trees and 1,700 shrubs.

The reason the county decided to cut the trees down now, instead of waiting, was to get the trees out before migratory birds build nests in them.

(KGW reporter Keely Chalmers contributed to this report.)

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