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Color markings on Greenway trees have no meaning at this point

Hiking on the Bear Creek Greenway, I've noticed that many of the trees are color marked with either red, orange or blue. What do these colors designate?

R.F., Phoenix

Currently? Nothing.

What you’re seeing is evidence of a now-outdated system for potential tree removal following the Almeda fire, according to Jackson County Parks Manager Steve Lambert.

The markings had been utilized by arborists early in the process for trees being considered for removal. At this point, if the trees are still there, they are going to stay there, Lambert said.

“Those markings really have no meaning at this point other than they were trees that were under consideration for possible removal, but aren’t going to be removed now,” Lambert said.

There’s no code to be found among the colors, either.

“They were just different arborists using different colors of paint,” Lambert said. “At the very beginning, I think they were using red paint, and more recently, they had switched to a blue paint.”

The only hazard trees along the Greenway that haven’t been removed yet are ones that could potentially pose a direct threat to neighborhoods that plan to rebuild. Trees deemed threats to trail users have already been dealt with, but the evaluation process for the remaining ones is ongoing.

“We gave kind of a list of sites to the folks that are leading the debris-removal process of some areas that we had further concern with,” Lambert said. “As mobile home parks or nearby communities in some of the areas that are away from the trail rebuild, we don’t want to have these trees adjacent to those mobile home parks be a threat to any new homes or structures that go in.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.