We appreciate the dangers of global warming. We understand that trees absorb dangerous carbon dioxide. We are pleased that we live in a city that “thinks globally, acts locally.” But we do not support the proposed tree-cutting ordinance before the South Portland City Council.

The ordinance is a complex mess of rules and punishments, fees and mitigations. Our city government is supposed to do things for us, not to us. Let’s replace this ordinance with incentives and appreciation.

Instead of hiring new staff to manage the ordinance, how about using that money to plant new trees? Wainwright Field could use some wind breaks. Homeowners could offer to have trees added to their properties. Most of the parks and schoolyards have room for a new tree or two.

Why not incentivize the planting of trees with recognition and even a lottery? Homeowners and businesses who voluntarily plant trees could send pictures to be posted to the city website along with entry forms for the lottery. (The prizes: more trees!)

Reward those who sponsor trees in public places with a plaque that names them and the tree, as they do in arboreta. Conduct an annual contest, in which citizens can vote, for “most beautifully treed street.”

We observe that South Portland residents take pride in caring for their properties. We have not observed reckless destruction of trees by individual homeowners nor seen any data that prove this problem exists. Make a fun “more trees” effort citizens can feel pride in. Don’t create an expensive, punitive burden for us.

Robert and Jill Blackwood
South Portland

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