PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hundreds of trees are coming down in Washington Park.
Crews began the process of cutting down more than 200 trees in the park Thursday. They says the trees need to be cut in order to start work on the $190 million project to build an underground reservoir where the old, empty one now stands.
Debra Willenberg lives in the neighborhood. She says she didn't expect to see so many trees cut down.
"I was surprised... I didn't think they would just cut them down," she said. "It's like a clear cutting."
Altogether, the city of Portland plans to cut down 209 trees in the coming days to make room for the equipment that will be brought in to build the new state-of-the-art underground drinking water reservoir.
The new reservoir will be strong enough to not only withstand a major earthquake, but also the creeping landslide that is currently happening in the park.
It's a nearly 8-year-long project that once finished will also be a public park complete with reflecting pools, walkways, and, according to the city, 20 percent more newly planted trees than is required.
Roz Babener walks in the park often. She says, while it is hard to the trees come down, it is for the best.
"I'm happy to see a change because it's been empty for many years and kind of an eyesore and we need the water," she said, "It'll be very functional I'm sure when its finished."
The city maintains about half of the trees that are cut down will be put to good use.
They'll be trucked out to the Sandy River where they will be used to help improve fish habitat there.