CORVALLIS, Ore. – A large, 50-year-old red oak tree on the Memorial Union Quad at Oregon State University fell about 8:45 a.m. today. No one was injured.
The tree, about 100 feet tall, first dropped a large branch on one side, then fell in the opposite direction, university officials said. Crews are already working to cut up the tree and remove it.
The exact cause of the collapse is not certain and will be investigated, said Joe Majeski, landscape manager for the university. There was no high wind or other, more typical causes. One of the possible causes may be a phenomenon known as “summer branch drop,” he said.
“There are a variety of reasons for tree failure, and we’ll carefully investigate this one,” Majeski said. “There was no visible indication that this tree had any problems, and that’s often the case, these events can’t always be predicted. But we routinely monitor trees all across campus for defects, and that program will continue.”
At the time the tree fell, about 20-30 children were playing nearby on the Quad as part of the Kid Spirit program, a summer program on campus, while being monitored by about 10 counselors. When participating in that program they often had played in the vicinity of the tree that fell, officials said.
“Today, the groups happened to be on the other side of the Quad,” said Kathryn Stroppel, director of communication and alumni relations with the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “Everyone is accounted for, they’re all fine, and we’re very thankful that no one was hurt.”