Just as kittens grow up to be cats and puppies grow up to be dogs, saplings grow up to be trees.

And in all three cases, what's cute when it's young won't be so wonderful full grown unless it has been attended to as it grew.

The trees downtown in Pendleton have been allowed to grow until the shade and comfort they cast are in conflict with retail signs. They also provide low-hanging obstacles to shoppers in some places.

Studies indicate shoppers favor tree-lined business districts. They prefer them to enclosed malls.

Instinct indicates shoppers need to be able to see store names from down the block. Today, the trees that make Main Street and downtown so inviting are in the way of much store signage.

For those who have lived here for years, that's not too much of a problem. We all know where things are.

For visitors who have been referred to a store, the lush growth lining the sidewalks is more of a problem.

We can and should have the best of both worlds.

Trimming the trees is one obvious first step. Trimming them up from the street to avoid conflict with pedestrian traffic would require little money or effort.

Pruning the upper branches to narrow the eye-blocking span of the trees could require more investment in both and is a place where the merchants, community and City Hall can come together for the good of all.

Downtown Pendleton is a local gem. It hearkens to another time when downtowns around the country were centers of commerce and social activity.

The trees add to the ambiance of downtown, and with some creative thinking, they don't have to offer any kind of downside.

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