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Public Outcry Over Possible Idaho Capitol Mall Tree Removal


In the early morning hours of June 8, a large branch fell from an oak tree near the parking lot at the Borah Building. Soon after, neighbors received notice the tree—which is thought to be between 100 and 130 years old, making it older than the Capitol itself—would be removed, igniting a furor on social media.

- The public was quick to weigh in on the fate of the oak tree over social media. -  - COURTESY MIKE ROGERS/FACEBOOK
  • Courtesy Mike Rogers/Facebook
  • The public was quick to weigh in on the fate of the oak tree over social media.
"We're all pretty bummed about it downtown," wrote downtown jewelry store owner Mike Rogers in a Facebook post. The tree is visible from the front window of his shop.

By noon the next day, there were more than 50 comments on Rogers' post from other users, most expressing their dismay at the tree's impending removal.

The tree could be cut down as early as Monday, June 13, though additional tests are scheduled for the tree to determine if removing it is the best option. Gary Butcher, of Done Rite Tree Co., said he's continuing to examine the tree and will have results soon.

Butcher initially evaluated the tree and removed the fallen branch, determining it was a "hazard tree" with a split trunk that had begun to lean and suffer from decay.

Though no property damage resulted from the falling limb June 8, debris falling from the oak has damaged cars in the past.

"These are significant branches this tree's dropping," said Capitol Mall Facilities Manager Rick Johnston.

He went on to say a second opinion on the tree is set to take place to determine if cutting it down is the best option.