Owners of a giant sequoia in the 300 block of Dennis Lane North are seeking a heritage tree designation by city officials. If approved, the tree would be the first of its kind in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Owners of a giant sequoia in the 300 block of Dennis Lane North are seeking a heritage tree designation by city officials. If approved, the tree would be the first of its kind in Keizer.
(KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The fate of a giant sequoia on private property might rest in the hands of the Keizer City Council.

On Monday, Oct. 3, the council will hold a public hearing on whether to extend heritage status to the tree on Dennis Lane North and prevent it from being limbed by a neighbor.

Keizertimes spoke with one of the owners of the tree and they requested we not use their name.

“We’re just trying to protect it,” the owner said. “It’s majestic, that’s the only way to describe it.”

The current owners have lived at the home for six years, but are concerned about a neighbor’s recent desire to cut back a portion of the tree that hangs into their yard.

“The neighbor wanted to cut so much of it, it would have ruined it,” the owner said. “It doesn’t matter where you live, there are annoyances, but you don’t desecrate something because you have to pick up some yard debris.”

The owner said they are not the only ones who have appreciated the tree.

“We’ve had a couple of garage sales and people ask about it and wonder at it,” the owner said.

Trees can be nominated for inclusion in the Oregon Heritage Tree Program for a variety of reasons. Trees associated with significant historical events, those associated with the life of a person or group, trees that represent a significant and distinguishable entity within a community or location, and trees of significant age, size or species are all eligible. Within Keizer, heritage trees can be designated based on their “location, size, age, botanical interest, commemorative plantings or historical significance.”

Nominations for heritage tree designations come from members of the public.

Whatever the council decides on the matter will be a precedent. To date, there are no heritage trees in city limits.

“We really haven’t gone through this process before and that’s why we’re erring on the side of caution by having a public hearing,” said Public Works Director Bill Lawyer.