On behalf of all those who were concerned about the monkey puzzle tree on airport property, we want to extend special thanks and words of gratitude to the volunteers who gave their time, services and equipment to successfully move it to the Bay Area Hospital grounds on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Lon Clark helped recruit the volunteers and spent the entire day as the project foreman. Benny Hempstead, of Hempstead Excavating, worked four hours digging and loading the tree. Mark Villers, of Blue Ridge Timber Cutting Inc. and his assistant, Mike Lavender, helped dig, load, transport via truck and direct the replant. They were on the job for a full 10 hours, as was Kent Dirkson, who gave technical support, physical labor and the use of personal equipment. Tim Rodenkirk, of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Kim Simpson Griffin spent hours as general assistants helping wherever needed. Before work could begin, Marilyn Baie, of Locating, Inc., evaluated the site for hidden utilities.
Lex Johnson, of Johnson Rock, dug the replant site at Bay Area Hospital; and Len Farr, of Farr's True Value Hardware, donated stabilizing cables. Bonnie Barron and Sam Rudder selected the location on the hospital grounds. Karl Delzotti and his staff helped prepare the site and will continue to care for the tree.
The North Bend Fire Department assisted during the entire day by providing irrigation at both sites and making sure the exposed root structure was kept moist. Representing the department were Joe Henry, John Klynman, Lt. Brian Waddington and volunteers Travis Erickson and Kellen Bonham.
Officer Josh Young, of the North Bend Police Department, was the escort during transport. Also assisting with utility lines were Rocky McVay, of Verizon, and Mike Smith, of Pacific Power.
Many interested and involved sideline observers stopped by at both the airport and hospital. Among them were North Bend Mayor Rick Wetherell, Steve Yount, Pat Choat Pierce, Adela Villers and children Teddy and Leif.
We appreciate the news media coverage given by Carl Mickelson and Lou Sennick, of The World; Tim Novotny, of KCBY; and Ben McKee, of KEZI.
The monkey puzzle tree began its life in the Pacific Street rose garden of the Sukurski family in the 1930s. It was transplanted near the entrance to the School District No. 13 offices in 1977, when the airport was owned by the city of North Bend.
Although we cannot be sure the tree will survive a second move, we are extremely grateful to all who so generously cooperated to give it the best chance possible.
Barbara Simpson Griffin
and horticultural advisor