Kingston reacts to tree vandals

KINGSTON — There were a lot of sad and upset souls in Kingston after the second round of trees were vandalized last weekend.

Neighbor Margaret Moore was heartbroken when she first saw the trees.

“My heart just sank. I thought, ‘They did it again,’” Moore said, referring to the incident on First Avenue last month, when the first round of trees where vandalized.

Moore, who resides at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Iowa Avenue adjacent to where three trees were damaged, had been away at baseball games over the weekend and didn’t come home until Sunday evening. That’s when she walked up the street to her home and saw the three trees in her side yard were down, splintered at their trunks.

She said a neighbor informed her of what happened and had already called the Sheriff’s office.

Now, Moore is waiting to see what happens next.

The property in question is a county right-of-way. According to the Declaration of Covenant Regarding Maintenance of Landscaping in Kitsap County Right of Way, the county notes that, “All landscaping materials placed within the county right-of-way will be maintained at a height not exceeding two feet above the existing roadway shoulder elevation.”

Steve Johnson, traffic investigator for Traffic Operations for the County said he didn’t have a problem with Moore’s trees though, because they weren’t obstructing the view.

“We’re responsible for anything on the right-of-way,” Johnson said. “We must be diligent about what must be placed on the right-of-way.”

But according to Design Standards for the Community of Kingston, businesses should “plant street trees along all project frontages where feasible” with the tree selections recommended in the design plan.

On Lindvog Road, at the new development Kingston Meadows, five Washington hawthorn trees and one Washington rain tree were vandalized over the same time period of late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The rain tree was destroyed, because the leaves are starting to wither and die, said Joseph Devita, job superintendent for Central Sound Construction. Devita called in the report to the sheriff.

Devita’s initial reaction to the fallen trees was that a strong wind had knocked them over but then he saw the stripped bark and tire tracks.

“It’s the damage to the bark that’s dangerous,” he said.

The trees are currently supported by metal stakes in hopes that they can be salvaged but the rain tree scarcely has any leaves or branches on it. Several other trees have withered and dry leaves.

“They have root bulbs but I don’t know if they’ll survive,” Devita said, noting that the trees had only been in the ground two weeks.

Devita said if the vandals are caught, the company will consider prosecuting.

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