|And the Wall Came Tumbling Down|
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost wrote in one of his unforgettable poems. Because the walls stand in the way of their roots growing in that direction, roots are among the things that don’t love walls.
Sometime early in the morning a few days ago, the wall at the northwest corner of Washington and 4th Street collapsed, sending bricks and large cinder blocks on the sidewalk. Because the roots had finally had enough of the tall brick wall, the wall had to make way for the roots that had undermined it. The wall is part of the property at 633 4th Street, which is currently owned by Dr. Asher, the heart surgeon who recently moved to Arizona. The previous owners of the property and the lovely, landmark house on it, had neglected the tree.
If the wall had collapsed during the day, a pedestrian or the elderly man in a motorized wheelchair who passes there almost daily could have been injured. More menacingly, if the towering dying tree shown in the photo above fell in the direction of Washington Ave.—which with its roots exposed on its eastern side is the direction it likely would fall—it will probably hit the utility pole, and the tree and pole could fall on one of the many passing vehicles with such force that anyone in the vehicle could either be killed or seriously injured. Every hour that the tree remains in its current precarious position poses a serious public danger. Until that ancient, dying tree is removed, Washington Street should be cordoned off in that block and traffic detoured.
The situation at the northwest corner of Washington and 4th Street reminds me of the situation that existed in the southwest corner of Tracy Park when the city allowed Kiwanians to build a playground in the southeast corner of the park, near trees that were in danger of falling on the playground because some of their roots would be cut during the construction. In spite of warnings from concerned citizens, the playground was built and within a couple of years a tall tree fell directly on the slide that children often used during the day and on a bench that parents sometimes sat in to keep an eye on their kids. Fortunately, the tree on the southeast corner fell late at night and no one was injured.
The incompetent Jim Kalb was the mayor back when the Kiwanis playground was built, and he is mayor again. The more things change, the more morons end up being mayor of Portsmouth. But we now have a city manager, whom some people believe is not a moron, so maybe something will be done promptly to end the hazardous situation at the northwest corner of Washington and 4th. I will forward this post to his office.
|Kiwanis Playground and Fallen Tree|
Relevant Posts: "Kiwanis Playground: Deathtrap for Tots?" Click here
"The Hole Truth": click here