$14,000 Idaho Treehouse Slated for the Government Chopping Block

Idaho resident Tremain Albright is slated to have his treehouse torn down today.  His treehouse, which he invested $14,0000 in to convert it into a family guesthouse, is situated in a cottonwood tree that hangs over Idaho’s Kootenai River.

The army engineers who built and monitor a levy below the treehouse say they’re concerned that if the tree fails, the house will damage the levy.  They’ve told the City of Bonner’s Ferry that if they allow the treehouse to stay, they’ll withhold $128,000 in levy maintenance funding.

Interestingly, the reason Tremain sank so much money in his treehouse is because the army engineers officially authorized him to keep it in 2007.  Because they never suggested it was a temporary authorization, he understood his exemption was permanent.  Now, five years later, the engineers are ordering it destroyed.  Same levy, same house.

Tremain and his family have fought tooth and nail to have the engineers honour their agreement, to no avail.  At this very moment the treehouse is probably being torn down.

It doesn’t sound like the engineers have backed up their claims with a professional assessment of the cottonwood’s physical integrity.  Even if they did find there to be some structural weaknesses, I wonder why they didn’t explore other options, like ordering specific structural adjustments that would satisfy them that the treehouse is going to keep its integrity.

Six neigbhouring non-treehouses are also on the chopping block due to their proximity to the levy.  It’s a real shame that authorities haven’t worked to figure out a plan that protects the levy and allows people to keep their homes.  Tremain says of his treehouse, “There’s probably nothing else like it…within the state of Idaho.”