On a calm summer night a few months ago, just after the Fourth of July, a big, century-old tree toppled over, blocking a street and knocking out power to much of the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
Fast forward to today and something cool has come from the tree’s unfortunate demise.
Local chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon has turned part of the big tree — the stump of which remains horizontal in a front yard along the 500 block of N. Lincoln Street — into a sculpture of a two-headed dragon.
The sculpture has captured the neighborhood’s imagination and is clearly an object of fascination for the homeowners’ young son, who was outside admiring it with a caretaker when ARLnow.com stopped by yesterday afternoon.
Mallon, who grew up two blocks from the home, says the family was “disappointed” that the tree fell down, but specifically asked whether it could be kept for posterity, in dragon form.
“They asked if a dragon with a horn was a possibility,” Mallon said. “They wanted a carving the kids could play on that also included a bench for the adults to enjoy. I thought it was a great idea and quickly started thinking of different ways to incorporate all the elements the family wanted.”
“This carving has really been an amazing piece to work on and I couldn’t be happier it is living at a great home, with a fun loving family, in my old neighborhood,” continued Mallon. “I have to be honest the 10 year old in me is a little jealous I didn’t have a dragon to play on as a child.”
Before the carving could begin, Mallon said, a crane had to be brought into remove the four-ton tree from the street. After that, the design was finalized: a dragon with two heads and a kid-friendly saddle.
“To fit the design in the log I had to start the carving by leveling out the bottom and removing about 1,000 pounds from it,” said Mallon. “After being properly leveled, I used my largest saw to block out the heads, body, and tail. Once the general shape was there I was able to switch to a smaller saw to begin working on the details. This includes the playful faces, tail, saddle, etc.”
“I still have some details like the scales to complete, but will be waiting to finish them until we can put the dragon in its permanent location,” he added. “Once the carving is finished I will burn it to add depth and color. This will be followed by a nice sanding, to prevent splinters, and finished with an outdoor sealer to protect the carving from the elements so it lasts for years to come.”
A downed tree that’s resting on power lines along Arlington Ridge Road near S. Lang Street has prompted a temporary road closure.
Arlington Ridge Road is currently blocked between 23rd Street S. and S. Glebe Road while crews evaluate the situation and prepare to remove the tree.
Scanner reports suggest that the tree fell just as a bus of senior citizens was driving by. The bus remained on the scene but no significant damage nor injuries were reported.
Dominion says more than 300 customers, in an area centered around the Metro station, are in the dark as a result of a storm-related outage. Power isn’t expected to be restored until this afternoon.
The outage includes large office buildings and traffic lights up and down Crystal Drive. Police are on scene, setting up cones to direct traffic through the uncontrolled intersections, though generators are being brought in to bring the traffic signals back online.
Last night’s storm is causing other issues around Arlington this morning, as well. On the Custis Trail, a large tree has reportedly fell onto and blocked the trail between N. Quincy and Nelson streets.
— AlliMoe (@AlliMoe21) August 18, 2016
A road is closed in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood due to a downed tree and power lines.
The large tree fell this afternoon during calm weather, taking power and utility lines down with it. Thirty-five Dominion customers are without power in the area, according to the power company.
A Dominion repair crew is on scene, but the intersection of S. Joyce Street and 28th Street S., near Glebe Road, is closed. The tree and numerous wires are down in the intersection.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A downed tree in the Ashton Heights neighborhood is leading to a call to the county ombudsman’s office.
The big tree, said to be more than a century old, fell last night near the intersection of N. Lincoln Street and 5th Street N., knocking out power to the area.
The neighborhood listserv is now abuzz with talk of what might have caused the old tree to fall during calm weather. Paving work on the street, residents are speculating, may have had something to do with it.
“A massive road repaving project brought in heavily vibrating equipment — many thought unnecessarily vibrating — which, according to our neighborhood listserv buzz, may have contributed to the tree’s fall, given very wet soil conditions,” a resident told us. “I lack professional credentials to shed light on that one way or another.”
Whether rooted in fact or not, residents are not content to leave the issue alone. They’re barking up the tree of the county ombudsman, according to a listserv email.
“Scott Sklar is contacting the county ombudsman about this problem today and complaining on behalf of Ashton Heights,” the email says. “The tree was 125 years old. Very sad.”
Sklar, president of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, said residents felt as if there was an “earthquake” when the heavy equipment was in use. One resident even reported that her morning cup of coffee rolled off the kitchen counter and broke as a result of the pervasive vibrations.
There’s “no question” about what caused the tree to fall, he said.
“The County contractors are using percussion rollers to compress the road under-bed — which uses intense weight and sound rather than the usual heavy roller compression approach,” he told ARLnow.com. ” There is no question in my mind, that this new approach is what caused this old tree to fall after the heavy rain we just had.”
“Use of percussion rollers should not be used in areas where there are large trees and old homes (pre-2000),” Sklar said. “Manufacturer’s warnings on percussion rollers explicitly state they should not be used near large trees or old buildings
Meghan McMahon, spokeswoman for the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services, said in a statement that the county is “reviewing the matter.”
DES crews have been performing roadbed reclamation and paving on Lincoln Street over the past week. The roadbed reclamation process, which was completed on June 30, is more disruptive than normal paving or patching. This process uses a machine that churns and mixes the base of the road at a deeper level so more vibrations and disturbance may occur. This process is specifically used for underbuilt, lower volume roads like Lincoln Street. Our paving contractors use vibratory rollers and other heavy machinery during the roadbed reclamation process. These rollers are also used on every street during maintenance and repaving. Rollers are commonly used to gain better compaction in asphalt construction. Yesterday’s work on Lincoln Street was repaving.
We have used these processes for several years in this neighborhood and several others like it that have older trees and houses. This is the first we have heard of such impacts from this type of work. We are reviewing the matter to determine what caused the tree to fall.
As seen in the photos above, some paving equipment was underneath the tree when it fell.
“Two County vehicles were enclosed by the tree canopy when it fell, but neither were impacted or damaged,” said McMahon. “The storm drain was damaged, but we have already put in a work order to fix this. It will be prioritized based on other work we have and safety.”
Photos courtesy Elizabeth Lyon
Big Tree Down on Washington Blvd — A large tree fell across power lines on Washington Blvd just south of Virginia Hospital Center during Saturday night and Sunday morning’s windstorm. Washington Blvd was closed between George Mason Drive and N. Harrison Street for much of the day Sunday while Dominion crews repaired the lines. [Twitter, Twitter]
Photos: DCA Airport Strike — DCist has photos from last week’s 24 hour strike of contract service workers at Reagan National Airport. [DCist]
Arlington Signs on to Amicus Brief — Arlington was among more than 50 counties and cities that signed on to an amicus brief in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants. [Columbia Law School, Twitter]
Capital Improvement Plan Survey — Through April 22, Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents that will help guide decision-making during the upcoming Capital Improvement Plan process. The CIP helps to plan “major investments in parks, libraries, transportation, community centers, facilities, technology, water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure — along with other areas that support the community.” [Arlington County]
‘The Burbs Are Back’ in Office Leasing — Arlington and other suburban D.C. jurisdictions are showing a bit of strength in the office leasing market. “The suburbs accounted for 69.5 percent of Washington region’s leasing activity in the first quarter, up substantially from a 52.9 percent share in 2015, according to JLL’s quarterly market reports.” [Virginia Business]
TSA Move Delayed Until 2020 — The Transportation Security Administration will be staying put at its Pentagon City headquarters until at least 2020. The TSA had planned to move to Alexandria by 2018, but legal wrangling has delayed the move and forced the TSA to redo its leasing process. [Washington Business Journal]
PSA: Don’t Do This — Spotted in Clarendon: a young woman urinating while sitting on a bench along a busy street, at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. [Twitter]
A large tree has fallen across a residential street near Gunston Middle School, bringing down utility lines and damaging a parked car.
The tree fell around noon, amid gusty winds. No injuries were reported.
Currently, 28th Street S. is blocked between S. Lang Street and Arlington Ridge Road.
Numerous crews from Arlington County and Comcast are on scene, preparing to remove the tree and repair the lines and snapped utility poles.
Tree Falls on House During Storm — A big tree fell on a house in Arlington during Friday’s heavy rain. No one was injured. [WJLA]
More Orange Line Woes — Orange and Silver line riders this morning reported relatively long waits between trains and, at Arlington stations, numerous inbound trains too crowded to board. Also this morning, a man suspected of stealing a woman’s purse at the Virginia Square station was taken into custody — reportedly by an off-duty FBI agent — at the Clarendon Metro station, according to scanner traffic. [Twitter, Twitter]
Entrepreneurship Push for Latinas — The Shirlington Employment and Education Center, which runs a day laborer program near Shirlington, is starting a new program intended to provide training to immigrant women who want to start their own business. [InsideNova]
Changes at Blue Virginia — The Arlington-based Democratic state blog Blue Virginia has a new website. The site’s long-time former platform Soapblox, which also hosted dozens of other progressive blogs, is shutting down on Oct. 15. [Blue Virginia]
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Lights are dark along Washington Blvd in Ballston after a tree fell, pulling power lines down.
A large tree fell across N. Stuart Street, bringing power lines down and causing a power outage. N. Stuart Street is currently closed to traffic.
Power is currently out from N. Stafford Street to N. Glebe Road. Police officers are directing traffic at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Washington Blvd.
Dominion is reporting 188 customers out of service, with an estimated restoration time between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Washington-Lee High School is also out of power, according to a police officer working security at the school.
Young Republicans to Rally Against Sanders — The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans will “welcome” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to Ballston tonight with a “rally for limited government and free market ideals.” The rally will be held outside the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association, where Sanders will be speaking. [Facebook]
Tree Down on Custis Trail — A tree is down across the Custis Trail near Cherrydale and the ponds, cyclists report. The tree came down following last night’s heavy rains. [BikeArlington Forum, Twitter]
Head of Ex-Offender Group Stepping Down — Gail Arnall, the head of Arlington-based Offender Aid Restoration, is leaving the group, but staying involved as a consultant. OAR helps ex-offenders readjust to life outside of prison. The group notes that it costs only $650 for them to help ex-cons re-integrate into society, while re-incarcerating them would cost $27,000 per year. [Washington Post]
New Clarendon Office Tenant — HDR Architecture has signed a 30,000 square foot lease for the recently-built office building at 3001 Washington Blvd in Clarendon. “Consolidating two existing regional offices into the new Clarendon facility, HDR will now be able to tap into the highly educated population for which Arlington County is well-reputed as well as avail itself of the well-situated project easily accessible via public transportation and multiple roadways and airports,” building owner Penzance said in a press release.
The storm, which hit just before 1:00 a.m., packed frequent, strobe-like lightning, high sustained winds and very heavy rain.
Several trees were reported down around Arlington, including one blocking Washington Blvd at 2nd Street N. Dominion reported 3,144 customers in Arlington County without power as of 1:30 a.m.
Greenbrier Learning Center Gets New Home — Facing the loss of its lease at the Greenbrier Baptist Church, the Greenbrier Learning Center has found a new home. The center, which provides after school enrichment to children, will be based at the Arlington Mill Community Center, after the Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a partnership with GLC. [Arlington County]
State, County Incentives Lured Lidl — German discount grocery chain Lidl is setting up its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, near Potomac Yard, and creating 500 jobs in the county. The decision was made after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered $7 million in economic development grants and Arlington County offered $7.5 million in infrastructure improvements and tax breaks, including half off Lidl’s Business, Professional and Occupational License tax. [Washington Business Journal]
Australian Restaurant Eyes August Opening — Oz, a new restaurant coming to the former La Tagliatella and Restaurant 3 space in Clarendon, is expected to open by the end of August, according to a help wanted ad on Craigslist. [Patch]
Rescue on GW Parkway — Arlington County’s technical rescue team helped to rescue a person who fell down a steep embankment along the GW Parkway’s second overlook Sunday night. The victim was loaded on to a fire boat and then transported via an Arlington ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. [Twitter]
Drew Students Make Music Video — A group of 10 Drew Elementary students are getting some local media recognition for a music video they made. As part of an extracurricular project on self-image, beauty and bullying, the group made a video set to Selena Gomez song “Who Says.” [WUSA 9]
Tree Down After Storms — A large tree fell in Towers Park during yesterday’s storms. [Twitter]
(Updated at 5:50 p.m.) A strong thunderstorm ripped through Arlington during Monday’s evening rush hour, knocking down trees, knocking out power and injuring two soldiers on Fort Myer.
The soldiers were reportedly struck by lightning on or around Whipple Field on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. They were reported to be conscious and alert — with non-life-threatening injuries — and were being tended to by Arlington firefighters and paramedics.
On N. Glebe Road just south of Ballston, a large tree was uprooted by the storm, bringing down power lines and crushing two parked cars. The power lines were live and one witness said the sparking wires “burned a hole through the pavement” below. No injuries were reported, but emergency crews have closed the southbound lanes of Glebe Road in the area of 4th Street N. as a result.
The lane closures on Glebe will stretch well into the night as repairs take place. The repair work and power pole replacement is expected to take 6-8 hours.
As of 5:50 p.m., Dominion was reporting 5,629 customers without power in Arlington County. The power outages have also impacted numerous traffic signals around the county. Dark traffic signals should be treated as a four-way stop.
Arlington wasn’t immune from problems caused by this week’s heavy rains.
Among other rain-related issues, the water-saturated ground caused a tree to topple over onto power lines in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood Thursday afternoon.
As a result of the felled tree, part of 17th Street S. was closed near S. Joyce Street, and we’re told parts of the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods lost power for a few hours.
Dominion Power cut the tree back off the lines but it’s still partially hanging over the sidewalk, according to neighborhood resident Jim Oliver.
Photos courtesy Jim Oliver
Northbound lanes of the Spout Run Parkway are closed due to a fallen tree.
Traffic heading from Lee Highway toward the GW Parkway is being diverted from Spout Run onto Lorcom Lane.
U.S. Park Police officers are directing traffic while crews work to clear the fallen tree.