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Lorraine Emily Durkin, 81, died July 11, 2016, in Seattle.
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8/14/2014
Expensive tree

From the view of the Tongass National Forest, it's amusing the University of Michigan would spend $400,000 to move a tree.

But, apparently, not just any tree. It's a 300-year-old burr oak, and it weighs 350 tons.

The tree stands in the way of expanding the university's business school.

The Arborlift will involve hoisting the 44-foot-in-diameter root ball from a hole dug around the tree, according to a Fox News article. While it will be a heavy load, it also will be a short trip — just a block away the tree will be replanted and treated with tender loving care in hopes it will survive.

This is a truly amazing undertaking on several levels. First, moving the tree will need to be done delicately with heavy duty equipment. Second, it will cost $400,000 at a time when the university is increasing student tuition.

Finally, the school has raised $135 million for the business school expansion, which when compared to the price of moving the tree, it puts the whole project in better perspective. Not perfect perspective, but perhaps a more understandable one.

The tree might be described as a valuable antique. But from the perspective of a community in the midst of a national forest, the idea of the Arborlift is amusing.