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ATLANTA-3M National Advertising Co. has agreed to replace 22 trees it topped earlier this month to create a clear view of Coca-Cola and Kodak boards downtown.

The topping created a public furor led by Trees Atlanta, an organization that planted the 22 trees plus 60,000 others in the metro area as part of a beautification effort for the 1996 Olympics.

3M District Manager Arnie Roese said the incident was "blown out of proportion."

Trees Atlanta Executive Director Marcia Bansley was "absolutely furious" the trees had been cut in the prime Olympic venue near the CNN Center and the Omni-World Congress Center complex.

Mr. Roese said a professional tree trimmer did the work with the permission of First Union Bank, owner of a parking lot on which some of the trees were located. He said the company later learned a few magnolia trees that were trimmed may have been on city property.

A First Union spokesman said permission was given to trim the trees "slightly," but the cutting was "drastic."

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