Vandal damages community tree in Covington before tree lighting ceremony

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COVINGTON, Wash. - The city of Covington continued its annual tree lighting ceremony Saturday evening after a vandal attempted to saw it down earlier in the morning.

 

Around 5:30 a.m., police responded to a call of a person sawing the city’s community tree in the Don Henning Roundabout on 168th Place between Fred Meyer and Pier 1 Imports.

 

When officers arrived to the location, the person was gone, and a metal wedge and sign were left.

 

"We're going to try to do everything we can to recover evidence from the items," stated Covington police officer Kyle Riches.

 

Crews safely secured the tree for Saturday’s Community Tree Lighting Event, which happened at 5 p.m.

 

Covington Mayor Margaret Harto told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News the community is upset.

 

“It’s truly a community tree. And why would somebody want to harm something that was so special, a gift to our community,” said Harto.

 

Officials said the tree will be cut down after the ceremony due to the damage that was done.

 

"The cut that was made was done with a hand saw through 80 percent of the tree trunk," stated City of Covington Arborist and Maintenance Crew Member Bill Fealy. "That damage is a death sentence for the tree."

 

According to officials, the tree's value is estimated at about $10,000 and other costs, which include time and labor for crews to secure and manage the tree, taking down the tree after the event, planting a new tree and restringing the lights.

 

The city hopes anyone with information about the incident will come forward.