Sunday, March 29, 2015

Treefort 2015: Shredding at Skatefort

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Catching some air at Rhodes Park. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Catching some air at Rhodes Park.

Not far form the Treefort Music Fest Main Stage, children and adults took turns at the Rhodes Skate Park halfpipe and on skateboard-friendly terrain features. By the basketball court, a group of people were listening to a punk rock band, and at a nearby tent, Tom Kilroy and Lori Wright of the Boise Skateboard Association were making the case for re-vamping the park.

"This is going to bring us into the new century," said Kilroy. "It's going to be a living art form."

Plans to renovate the park were discussed at a planning session of the Boise City Council in February. The new park will be built with $1.25 million from the J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation, as well as $138,000 from the city. The new park will include a Parkour course and enhanced skateboard features, with concrete work by skatepark developing firm Gridline. Kilroy said that the skate community has outgrown Rhodes, and the new park would be a destination for touring professionals and skate companies.

"This is our first big stepping stone," Kilroy said.

The new park has critics,too, however: Plans were rolled out about four months after the October beating death of Rusty Bitton; and amid a broader conversation about the encampment of people who have made the area near Rhodes their home. 

"I think the public clearly understands what is happening here. The city of Boise has found a willing partner to renovate an area where the homeless have been living publicly in order to displace them. ... And boy, this project is happening at breakneck speed for City Hall," said ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Greg Morris at the time
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big, sad tree update

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

The big birch tree in my backyard is no more. Earlier today, the tree guy and his huge boom lift felled the tall but sick timber. I'm left with a stump in the ground and some decorative wood that should burn beautifully in the fireplace. Ashes to ashes.


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Tree Man Cometh

Posted By on Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 2:19 PM

a7c6/1248644988-7.jpg Several years ago, a couple of guys with chainsaws showed at my house. If they hadn't been wearing hard hats, I would have called 911, but as soon as they started to chop at the big white birch tree in my backyard, I realized they were there on behalf of the power or phone company, trimming trees whose branches were encroaching on power or phone lines.

As they lopped limbs off, I mourned the loss of the shade the tree had offered us during the years. I thought about how grand the tree stood the day we came to look at the house and how, even subconsciously, it factored in our decision to buy. I thought about how gracefully the leafy branches, now in a messy pile on my lawn, swayed in a welcome mid-summer breeze. I assumed that though the tree had been nearly halved vertically, it would recover and thrive. It never did.

In the years since its mandated pruning, insects have made short work of the trunk, bits of sawdust and white bark litter the ground at its base. A woodpecker peck, peck, pecked herself a home in the tree one year, and the wood around the hole she created reluctantly rots away. Long, willowy branches drop at increasing intervals as the tree seems to die from the ground up. abcd/1248645022-2.jpg

Now, when the weatherman predicts an Idaho thunderstorm, I cower—not for fear of the wind, lightning and rain it may bring, but from the sound emanating from my ailing backyard birch. It creaks like an angry ghost pacing an attic floor and I'm haunted by images of the damage the tree would do if uprooted by a strong gust. The diameter of the tree's trunk is such that I can't get my arms all of the way around it and its height rivals that of any power pole. Regardless of what direction it falls—and that is imminent—it will be catastrophic. In danger are my garage, my deck, my house, neighbors' cars, two neighbors' houses, our shared fences and, of course, any pets or people who might be in its path.

This weekend, we removed a long section of fence, two gates and a railroad-tie enclosed planting area to provide access for a boom truck to get through because on Tuesday, a tree guy is coming to take down my beloved birch. The tree will be gone before I get home from work that evening. But before I leave that morning, I'm going to try one last time to get my arms all of the way around it.





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