The owners of the pine, Bruce and Linda Baker, see the natural beauty of a rare tree that stands sentinel over the family's backyard patio.
Olerud, a former Seattle Mariner, one-time American League batting champ and three-time Gold Glove winner, has been asking the Bakers for more than two years if he can pay to have the tree cut down.
For two-plus years, the Bakers have refused.
Now the Oleruds want the Clyde Hill Board of Adjustment to order their neighbors to cut down the tree, saying it unreasonably obstructs the view from their $4 million property facing Lake Washington, Seattle and the Olympic Mountains.
The tree, with a 2-foot-thick trunk, was there long before the Oleruds built their home.Maybe they should call in the theologicians;
Olerud doesn't think much of the Chinese pine, shorter and fuller than the towering Douglas firs nearby. Baker has agreed to remove a Colorado spruce behind the pine.
"You guys saw the trees," Olerud said at the board hearing. "They're not attractive trees. I would say they're the kind of tree that only an arborist would love. ...
"I'm just making the point that if you're willing to cut down your own trees to maintain your view and yet you aren't willing to offer that to your neighbor, how is that being a good neighbor?
"The Bible says, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.' That's Jesus' commandment."
To which Baker replied, "I truly believe you're trying to be a good neighbor. That's what's so puzzling about this, that you think it's being a good neighbor to cut down a tree that's important to me that's over 50 years old, and just leave a hole there."
Olerud said he would be willing to buy a replacement tree that wouldn't block his view.