During Spring Break, a large Northern Red Oak tree on the southwest corner of the Memorial Union Quad will be removed. The tree, known for its striking fall colors, is around 50 years old, but recently suffered a major branch failure, and campus arborists have determined the structure of the tree has been compromised. The existing structural defects along with the potential for future branch failures necessitates the removal of this tree.

While Facilities Staff tries to avoid removing older established trees, safety concerns are always foremost in the decision to remove trees, as was the case for the red oak. In this case, however, the tree will not be replaced in its current location. Additional large canopy trees will be planted in another location on campus. Our intention is to transition the Memorial Union Quad back toward an earlier design, which features an open space layout. This will provide a better view across the space to the adjoining buildings, and an appreciation of the historic architecture. An earlier quad design called for smaller ornamental cherry trees to be placed around the quad, and in 2018, the Landscape Staff planted nine such trees, which will eventually frame the open space and introduce spring color.

Oregon State University is a 11-year recipient of the Tree Campus USA designation, and keeping that status is a priority which includes improving the urban tree canopy. But the university is also trying to honor the intent of some of the campus’s original architects and maintaining the historic flavor that it is known for. Meanwhile, the new cherry trees will soon be in bloom.