March 2018

What it Takes to Move 100-Year-Old Trees

In May 2017, NessCampbell was instrumental in relocating four historic elms on Oregon State Capitol grounds. The four trees were moved so that the Capitol could install new, underground utility vaults. Moving 20 foot tall, century old trees is no walk in the park, however. This required planning, the correct equipment, and a dedicated, expert team.

Thanks to experience and preparation, the relocation went exactly as planned. Before moving day, hundreds of hours went into CAD drawing, engineering plans, as well as forethought into what kind of support and provisions the equipment may need the day of the move.

Communication with the tree experts at Environmental Design was essential from inception of the project to completion, as detailed conversations and countless emails were sent regarding the size and shape of each tree, the rigging and hookup each tree required, the timing of events which was critical to the project as one day to move four massive trees in one day means NessCampbell was up against a ticking clock. Additionally, the location of the trees required precise route planning. Being on State Capitol Grounds meant NessCampbell had to work around a tunnel system, statues and sculptures, as well as other trees, all while the Capitol was open to the public and running normally.

Equipment selection for this project required special consideration. The center of gravity with a load like a tree needs can be quite difficult given their size. On the day of the move two separate cranes were used: a 600 ton, all terrain hydraulic crane was used on the west side as accessibility was limited, making the reach on this crane indispensable. On the east side, 130 ton rough terrain crane was used due to its compact size and mobility. The trees ranged in size from 38,000-55,000 pounds, and the rigging needed to be adjusted individually between each tree. The time it took to move each tree varied based on what equipment was needed to access it, lift it, and whether it needed to be transferred to a truck and trailer to be moved to its new home.

This project was unique in the load that was moved, but for Project Manager Jeff Ross, this is just as important a project as any other. “We care about every lift we make, even the simplest HVAC unit on a roof. We are very aware and concerned with planning in a way that ensures we are doing everything as safely as possible. If planning is in place and you’re running a safe project, everything else takes care of itself.”

If you have a unique project or a run-of-the-mill HVAC install, call our team at NessCampbell. We’re ready to help you with all of your rigging needs.

The expert team that oversaw this historic move:

600 ton operator – Shaun J.

600 ton oiler – Will M.

130 ton operator – Justin K.

130 ton oiler – Ron W.

Rigger – Matt B.

Specialized heavy transport & rigging – Dave S.

Specialized heavy transport & rigging – Gabriel M.

Support transport – Todd M.

Support transport  – Byron B.

Environmental Design Tree Movers

Project management – David and Jacob Cox