Cleaning Up After Winter Storm Damage

Nearly three weeks have passed since Eugene’s last big winter storm, but NCU is still recovering from the damage caused by the now-melted snow and ice. Kent Willocks, NCU’s groundkeeper, said that the recent severe weather caused approximately $1,200 of damage, some of which is yet to be remedied.

With the diligent aid of several student employees, Kent has been working tirelessly to restore the campus to its normal order and beauty. On February 10th, the Monday following Eugene’s heavy snowfall and freezing rain, a local arborist, who had 67 other incidents to respond to, assisted Kent and his staff in removing the large tree limb that was broken off and hanging over the roof of the library building.

Kent said that the major problems have already been fixed, but he also noted that the damaged sustained by some of the other trees on campus will need to be addressed later this spring. While the small cherry tree in the quad has already been removed due to loss of all but two of its limbs, the larger one neighboring it will require future trimming. Furthermore, at least one the birch trees behind the SPS building will need to be removed. Kent said that as these trees try to repair themselves, their root systems cause a lot of fast new sucker growth which will be poorly attached and easily broken off, making them unstable when future winter storms hit Eugene.

Apart from the damage it caused, Kent said that he enjoyed the snow. “I’m from snow country,” he said, “so I enjoy being able to get on the plow to do some work.” Kent also said that he appreciated the igloo students constructed in the quad.

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With Kent and his staff working hard to clean up the campus, every NCU student can help maintain its beauty by taking (or not taking) some simple steps. Kent said that students should avoid taking shortcuts out of the MEC parking lot via the planters because, while people don’t think they’re stepping on the flowers, they are actually compressing the soil around the root systems, effectively killing the plants. In addition to this, students should stick to walking along the concrete paths in the quad. While it might not be a big deal for a single student to cut through the grass, dozens of students continually trekking through the quad on the same path kills the grass, leaving unsightly mud trails in the winter and silverish-brown grass in the summer.

As we patiently await the new life of spring and summer, take time to appreciate the handiwork of Kent and his student employees, and be sure to do your part in maintaining the beauty of our campus.

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