$1,000 reward offered leading to arrest of tree cutter

HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. - All Bill Gander wanted to do was make a piece of property pretty: clean up the graffiti and tear down an abandoned house.

"You know, make it look like a mini farm," he said.

The property already had a row of six poplar trees - some nearly 150 feet tall. But somebody did a hatchet job on them.

"They had very little experience operating chain saws or even how to cut a tree," Gander said about the vandals. "The cuts - some were low, some were real high. It did not look like anybody had a real plan."

Near as Gander and the crew he hired to clear the land can figure, the only plan may have been to let the wind finish the job.

"I could understand it if it was a fir tree or an oak tree or something of value, but I think that was more of somebody wanting to make a better view for their house," said Chris Martinez of I & E Construction.

One of the trees fell onto a two-story barn, putting a hole in the roof.

"The tallest of those six could have easily hit the neighbor's house," Gander said. "If there were kids playing in the yard, it could do some very serious physical harm."

The crew got the other trees down before they fell.

Gander, the owner of Standard TV and Appliance, has put up a $1,000 reward for an arrest.

At the very least, whoever cut the trees is guilty of trespassing and vandalism.

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