Rain chances possible this week

‘It looks like hell:’ Tree trimming infuriates local man

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HARRAH, Okla. -- He knew there was rain in the forecast, but Mike Kupczynski never expected the kind of storm that hit his property Wednesday.

"It looks like hell," he told NewsChannel 4, pointing toward broken branches. "It's pretty ugly. The tornado already hit me."

Returning home from work, Kupczynski couldn't believe what he found. County crews had chopped into his beloved red cedar trees, which he had planted 30 years ago.

No permission. No heads up. No explanation.

"I was very pissed," he said. "I'm already a tree lover. I planted these 30 years ago [when] they were one foot tall."

Now branches lay strewn on the ground, victims of what Oklahoma County calls a standard tree-trimming operation, completed in the name of safety.

District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan told NewsChannel 4 it's the county's duty to clear the easement, which had become so obstructed by branches, trucks couldn't pass without making contact. Visibility, he said was obstructed.

Further, Maughan said, red cedar trees cause problems for water drainage, fires and overall safety.

County crews say they trimmed trees to keep the road clear in Harrah. The property owner disagrees.

Kupczynski doesn't buy it.

"It wasn't blocking anybody's view in the road," he said. "There's no reason for this."

The county apologized to Kupczynski Wednesday, but told NewsChannel 4 it didn't do anything wrong. The Harrah man wants more for the 37 damaged trees that provided privacy and blocked dust.

"I think they should have to pay for the trees, just to be punished," he said. "There was nothing wrong, they didn't hurt anything. I just can't believe they would do that to these trees."