PORTLAND Mt. Tabor residents are fighting to save a beloved tree from the chopping block.

The 60-foot-tall walnut tree has likely been part of the neighborhood since the 1870s. But a developer who wants to put in three new row houses is threatening to chop it down.

A group of neighbors are banding together to try and save the tree. They say it s integral to the neighborhood.

I ve been on the heritage tree committee for 15 years, said Kevin Hillery, neighbor and arborist. [The tree has] the most amount of wood of any deciduous tree that I can think of in Portland.

The neighbors said they aren t fighting the development. They say they just want the tree saved.

The tree is gorgeous, said neighbor Jean Janzy. We really don t want it to go.

Nearby resident Michael van Kleek joked that he was going to hire people to sit in the tree.

It s the centerpiece of the neighborhood, he said.

When KGW contacted the developer, he declined to comment.

So far, the neighbors have gotten a temporary hold to keep the tree from being torn down. They also plan to talk about the tree at next week s city council meeting.

But for now, the tree s long-term future is uncertain.

KGW Reporter Erica Heartquist contributed to this report.

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