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Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry News and Activities 

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Tree History in Roseway on 1/9/16

Join us Saturday, January 9

Learn more about the history of trees in our neighborhood on Saturday January 9th, 2016

Grace Lutheran Church, 7610 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR, 97213

Join Portland historian Dave Hedberg and the Roseway Tree Team to learn about the trees in your community and how history shaped our urban forest. Understanding and valuing trees historically leaves us better equipped to make future decisions and avoid unexpected consequences inherited from our past.

12:30pm–1:00pm: Registration and sign-in
1:00pm–2:00pm: Presentation by Dave Hedberg, Environmental Historian and Urban Forestry workshop instructor
2:00pm–3:00pm: Coffee and discussion of Roseway tree history with newcomers and longtime residents


Contact Patrick Key at Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry

Golden DBH Tape Recipient Highlight

Meet Kyle Lempinen, Inventory volunteer of the year

Meet Kyle Lempinen, Inventory volunteer of the year!
In 2010, PP&R Urban Forestry began the Tree Inventory Project to empower neighborhood groups to care for their urban canopy.  This year, 20 neighborhoods partnered with Urban Forestry to inventory their street tree and create action-oriented management plans.  Since 2010, more than 157,000 trees have been identified, measured, and mapped!

Each year, Urban Forestry honors the inventory volunteers with an end of season celebration, and selects one volunteer in particular who has gone above and beyond to support the project to receive the Golden Diameter Tape Award. This year’s recipient is Kyle Lempinen from the Montavilla neighborhood. UF staff interviewed him to find out more about him and his love of trees. 

Tell us a little about yourself

I’ve lived in Portland for eight years.  I grew up in the greater Chicago area, and lived on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before relocating to Portland.  In my years here, I’ve lived in several Portland neighborhoods.  I am studying Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) at PSU, and am in the final year of my program. 

How did you become interested in trees/what inspired you to work with trees?

Growing up in the Midwest, I was always enthralled by the large deciduous broadleaf trees in the older neighborhoods in many of the towns in the region.  More recently, I’ve become concerned about many of these trees being lost to pests and pathogens.  Growing up, I witnessed some of the effects of the Asian Long-horned beetle on maples and other species.  When I visit my hometown (Lake Forest, Il, a Tree City USA town), I am dismayed to see the decimation of ashes and elms that have occurred over the past decade from Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease. 

How did you become involved with the Street Tree Inventory?

I learned about an opportunity to do GIS data entry of the inventory data from a classmate who had volunteered during a previous summer.  I was looking to get involved because I knew I would have some extra time this summer (2015).  I contacted Angie DiSalvo and learned of the volunteer-based data collection portion of the Inventory Program from her.  I ended up being trained as a volunteer team leader, and contributed to both the data collection and data entry this summer.  I typically volunteered at the Wednesday afternoon workdays, and came out to Urban Forestry another day each week to help with the data entry.  I also inventoried several areas around my own home on my own as homework assignments.  In addition to my own neighborhood (Montavilla), several nearby neighborhoods (Tabor, North Tabor), as well as ones I had lived in previously (such as Roseway) were also being inventoried this summer.  I was excited to help with the inventory in all of them.

How have you benefitted from volunteering in the Street Tree Inventory? 

Overall, it’s been a great learning experience in several ways!  First, I’ve learned so much about tree identification.  Prior to volunteering on the street tree inventory, I hadn’t thought about the many benefits of trees, aside from their aesthetic benefits.  It was an awakening of sorts for me to understand more of their environmental and social benefits.  Also, I was unfamiliar with Urban Forestry and their efforts to educate residents about the benefits of street trees and expanding the urban canopy. 

What were your favorite trees you discovered this summer? 

All of the trees I inventoried!  I particularly enjoyed ultimately identifying the trees that initially stumped me and others collecting data.  I think mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) and monkey puzzle (Arcaucaria araucana) are really neat and beautiful, and was happy to find a few of them as street trees.  I particularly enjoy the fall colors of ashes (Fraxinus spp).  My favorite tree I encountered was the mature Sassafras across the street from where I live.

What were your favorite tree-related events this past year?

I enjoyed a few of the Wednesday inventory workdays  in particular that were in neighborhoods with a lot of mature, large trees – my first workday in Tabor, and one in Irvington come to mind.  I enjoyed working on a homework section that included the block I live on.  On another homework section in Roseway, I bumped into Nik Desai (a staff neighborhood volunteer coordinator) and his son.  In general I enjoyed interacting with my neighbors and other people I encountered while identifying trees and collecting data.  I also really enjoyed attending the volunteer appreciation dinner held at the Portland Mercado at the end of the season.   I really did not expect to receive the Golden Diameter Tape Award!

What would you like to say to other volunteers, or to anyone interested in the Street Tree Inventory program?

It’s a great way to learn more about the nature that exists within the city.  It caused me to shift the way I think about street trees, and all the work that goes in to developing and maintaining this resource.  I’ve learned more about the city, met many great neighbors, and feel like I’ve built community.

Now that the inventory in your neighborhood is complete, how will you remain involved with street trees around where you live?

I may be moving to a different neighborhood before next summer.  Wherever I am, I hope to work with my immediate neighbors to educate them about tree care, and to encourage them to plant street trees wherever possible.  I think it is especially important to do this with redeveloped properties within the city.  Often trees are planted on these properties by developers, and the residents may not know how to help them get established and properly maintain them. 

What are your other tree-related plans for 2016 and beyond?

I hope to continue volunteering with data collection and data entry in the Street Tree Inventory next summer.  Beyond that, I hope to be trained in the Neighborhood Tree Steward Program in 2016.  I should have the time to do this after finishing up my degree.

2015 Tree Inventory Volunteers of the Year

 The 2015 Portland street tree inventory season is complete.  There is no way we could have collected data on over 50,000 trees without the help of over 340 volunteers who dedicated 3,500 hours of their time to this project.  Urban Forestry held a Volunteer Celebration night on Thursday October 13, 2015 at Portland Mercado on SE Foster Road. We enjoyed delicious food, and recognized and thanked all the many project volunteers for their efforts.  Several volunteers were acknowledged with awards for their contributions. 

 2015 Tree Inventory Volunteers of the Year  
Catherine Clarke, a.k.a the Tree Champion of Roseway, earned the Best Team Leader award for the enormous amount of work she put into keeping her team organized.  Not only did Catherine attend inventory days and complete homework sections, she made buttons for her team, posted events on Next Door, and even made flyers in three different languages!  Following a busy inventory season, Catherine opted to enroll in the Neighborhood Tree Stewards program and is already hard at work planning a major improvement project for the Roseway Parks Blocks along NE 72nd Avenue.
Jonathan Brandt’s natural talent as a community organizer won him the Community “Inspirator” award, inspiring community members to get involved every step of the way. At every Mt. Scott-Arleta work day Jonathan could be found welcoming new volunteers, whether long-time residents of the community or individuals new to the neighborhood. He is active in his community and was always sharing resources with attendees, letting them know about upcoming events and available community resources.
Rookie of the Year went to JoAnne DiCarlo. She came into the project with very little background in tree ID, but she studied, took samples, and asked a lot of questions, and became an expert by the end! JoAnne, along with her husband Greg, came to all four Buckman workdays and completed 8 homework sections – together that’s about 20% of the entire neighborhood! We really could not have completed Buckman’s street tree inventory without JoAnne. Not only was she a dedicated data collector, she also entered 485 trees into the GIS database.
This year’s Diligence Award goes to Peggy Donovan.  Tree ID experts are so useful to the tree inventory project, but it’s important to remember everyone who knows something about trees at one point in their lives started out as a novice.  With a bit of encouragement and diligence, one volunteer can make significant accomplishments for our community and urban forest. Peggy started out as apprehensive team leader always responding to feedback whether it was about overhead powerlines, or maple ID.  Returning to work days in different neighborhoods bringing new samples to confirm tree ID, she displayed so much dedication to the inventory project and learning about trees!
Jeff King won the Go With The Flow Award. If we needed an additional hand at a workday, Jeff was always willing to show up and help out. Volunteer that might need some extra help had successful and fun work day experiences when paired with Jeff. He did a great job of making them feel welcome and helping them learn the ropes. Returning for his fourth year as a street tree inventory volunteer, Jeff was willing to help out in neighborhoods throughout the entire city, excited to learn trees in different parts of the city. Jeff really knew how to go with the flow, which is a great quality in a volunteer.
Volunteers who attended the King-Sabin work days may know that Legibility Award winner Maureen Raad is a committed member of the King-Sabin Tree Team. She attended all work days for her neighborhood, and accepted homework sections, and even hosted a work day at her home. She was great at tree ID, putting her landscape architecture and natural sciences skills to good use for the project. But with all she contributed, the award she earned is for her uncommonly tidy handwriting and exceptionally legible data sheets.  Data entry volunteers so much appreciate how easy Maureen made their job with her attention to detail!
Finally the 2015 Street Tree Inventory Golden DBH Tape Award went to the volunteer who best embodied the community spirit of the project.  Kyle Lempinen was one of this season’s most persistent GIS volunteers, though he also appeared in most of this year’s field inventory neighborhoods, always bringing his upbeat enthusiasm and positive energy to each work day. He consistently offered his time toward homework sections across the city, and even acted as the sole registrant in a couple of our ultimately canceled work days.  Kyle has acted in every role available to the project, from collection to entry, and up until the end dedicated his time and efforts toward this year’s intense inventory season.  Read our interview with Kyle for more information on what his drive to volunteer and what he loves about the street tree inventory project.






2015 Tree Summit November 7

Inventory results revealed!

2015 Tree Summit
November 7, 2015
8:30 am - 4 pm
Mt. Scott Community Center 5530 SE 72nd Ave. Register online here by October 31

Street tree inventory volunteers spent the summer sporting yellow safety vests, working a diameter tape, and seeking the answer to the neverending "opposite or alternate?" leaf arrangement question. Undeterred by heat, rain, curious bystanders, and shrubs posing as trees, volunteers and staff collected data on over 50,0000 trees in Buckman, Hazelwood, Irvington, King, Montavilla, Mt. Scott Arleta, Mt. Tabor, N. Tabor, Old Town - Chinatown, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Roseway, Sabin, and Woodlawn neighborhoods. Now it's time for the fun part - unveiling the results! Answers to all of your questions on stocking level, species diversity, and tree health will be revealed at the 2015 Tree Inventory Summit.

Explore the results of the 2015 inventories and compare findings among neighborhoods. We will also share the largest trees and most unusual finds. And most importantly, we will begin creating neighborhood tree plans with your guidance and vision. Tree teams, volunteers, neighborhood association members, tree stewards, Friends of Trees coordinators, and neighbors are encouraged to attend, along with anyone interested in crafting a plan and taking action to improve the urban forest. 

Agenda 8:30 – 9 am: Registration 

9 am - noon: Presentations

    • Inventory Results Revealed - Findings, Analysis, and Recommendations. Angie DiSalvo, Carrie Black, Julie Fukuda, and Maya Rommwatt, PP&R Urban Forestry
    • Species Diversity for Resilient Forests - Jim Gersbach, PP&R Urban Forestry
    • Caring for Trees from Seedling to Replacement - Tree Inspector TBD, PP&R Urban Forestry
    • Portland’s Tree Canopy Present and Future - Jeff Ramsey, PP&R Urban Forestry
    • From Stumptown to Tree Town: Interpreting neighborhood history through its trees – David-Paul Hedberg, Portland State University

12:15  - 1 pm: Lunch 

1 - 4 pm: Tree Plan work session: setting goals and priorities, working with partners, and gearing for action

Registration appreciated by October 31 at:

Inventory Reports: Inventory reports will be available on the tree inventory website and distributed via email prior to the summit. Urban Forestry is working hard to complete data entry and analysis, and as soon as results are ready they will be distributed.

Portland State of Mind: From Stumptown to Treetown

History and Heritage Trees - join us October 28!

What: From Stumptown to Treetown - Interpreting Portland's History through its Heritage Trees

When: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Where: Smith Memorial Student Union (SMSU), Browsing Lounge, room 238, 1825 SW Broadway Ave.

Portland's urban forest is rooted in the city's history, and as the landscape of Portland changes, Heritage Trees remain some of our city’s oldest living artifacts. Join historian David-Paul B. Hedberg as he uses historic photographs, archival collections, and living trees to explore the stories of Portland’s past. An introduction will be given by PSU Assistant Professor of History Catherine McNeur.

David-Paul B. Hedberg is the author of From Stumptown to Treetown: A Field Guide for Interpreting Portland’s History through its Heritage Trees, a booklet he published during an internship for Urban Forestry in 2014. He has a background in environmental history and cultural resource management. He is the 2014-2016 Caroline P. Stoel Editorial Fellow for the Pacific Historical Review. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter

Catherine McNeur​, Ph.D. ​is Assistant Professor of Environmental History and Public History at Portland State University.​ ​She is the author of Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum Cit​y​, a book that has received numerous awards, including the American Society of Environmental Historians' George Perkins Marsh prize for best book in environmental history, and the New York Society Library's Hornblower Award for a First Book. She teaches courses on urban environments, global environmental history, American environmental history, the history of food, American history, historic preservation, and heritage trees.

Cost: Free and open to the public

Contact: Chelsea Bailey,, 503-725-2232