Readying for spring: Public works crews remove old trees and prep ground

Crews from Jacobs, Ontario’s public work department, are working on the side of East Idaho Avenue on Friday afternoon using a backhoe to remove the root systems of the old trees.

ONTARIO — Out with the old, in with the new … trees!

On Friday afternoon, work crews from Jacobs, the City of Ontario’s public works department, were seen removing 22 “old and diseased trees.” These will be “replaced with this spring with 10 new trees, specifically chosen for urban street use,” according to an email from Cliff Leeper, public works director.

The work being done is part of the East Idaho Tree Planter Project. This program, which was started three years ago, has been rolling out in phases in response to changes in temperatures. This is because a cold snap or other unplanned or inclement weather could adversely impact the new trees.

One of the most significant players in this project is Meadow Outdoor Advertising, the company, based out of The Dalles, has been instrumental in working with the city in making this project take shape one phase at a time.

In most phases of the project, Meadow Outdoor Advertising has picked up most of the overall tab for the project. The only cost to the city has been for materials, including the grates, rock and irrigation lines. Jacobs has also donated labor not done by the billboard company.

Leeper went into more detail on what the future holds on East Idaho Avenue saying, “new cast iron tree grates, irrigation systems and ground cover will be installed to match the rest of the street.”

Griffin Hewitt is a news reporter at The Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4814 or by emailing To comment on this story, go to

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