'Originally it was just going to be a couple bears'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The snow and ice storm in February damaged Duane Malloroy's willow tree.

He called the Springfield Utility Board and asked if they could trim it.

They said they could remove it.

"When they got to about 18 feet of a stump," Duane recalled, "I thought of Khory."

Khory Jentzsch started carving wood 4 years ago.

"It was something I just wanted to do, so I got a chainsaw and I practiced on some firewood," he said.

Since then, he's graduated to larger sculptures, even trees.

"A lot of other trees I worked with were straight, hardly any character to them," he said.

Then he met Duane's willow stump.

"This thing is just wicked with character," Khory said.

And characters.

"I think originally it was just going to be a couple bears," Duane said, "and then he came up with the owl, and everything he said, I just said, 'Go for it.'"

Now the tree on the 2000 block of G Street is attracting more attention than Duane and Khory anticipated.

"They're all very positive. They think it's neat," Duane said of the feedback. "We have slowed traffic down real good here."

Khory has spent 276 hours carving the tree since March.

"I've been up there with tarps and staying out of the rain," he said. "As I moved along the tree people kept asking what's next. what's next.

"I do most of my work with a chainsaw, but when I get to the ears and the nose and mouth I'll use little hand tools, and I could spend a week up there just working on a tooth if I had to," he said.

"I'm my toughest critic up there with it," he added, "and the neighborhood and everybody has been just cheering it on and it's been awesome."

"This is my lemonade tree," Duane said. "God gave me a lemon by taking away half a block of shade, so we're giving something back to the neighborhood."

"Really I was intimidated by it, not only was it tall, it's broad," Khory said. "I think it put G street on the map."