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Parks & Recreation

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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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

Invasive Trees Workshop

A Sunnyside Tree Team Event

Ailanthus and Robinia got you down? Join the Sunnyside Tree Team and Urban Forestry instructor Jim Gersbach for a slideshow and walk to learn about invasive trees, their impacts, and how to control them. Topics include How to identify invasive trees, what problems they cause, and how to control them. This workshop is presented by Sunnyside Street Tree Team and City of Portland Urban Forestry. Refreshments provided.

Saturday, October 10 form 1:00-4:00 pm 

Belmont Regional Library 1038 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd Portland OR 97214 503-988-5382

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a common invasive tree that spreads by seed and root suckers throughout urban areas.


From Stumptown to Treetown Tree #5 Lincoln HS Black Walnut

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David-Paul B. Hedberg

Black Walnut

Imagine all the sounds these trees have witnessed. As you stand under these Black Walnuts in front of Lincoln High School you’ll likely hear the roar of the nearby I-405 freeway, the laughter of students, and the wisping brakes of school-buses. However, in the 1870s, when these trees were planted, you would have only heard the clip-clop of horse hoofs and singing birds. You see, these trees marked the entrance to the mansion of Jacob and Caroline Kamm. The Kamm’s lived on the edge of Portland in a large estate full of extensive gardens, orchards, vineyards, and stables. A country home on the edge of Portland. The Kamm estate backed up into Tanner Creek Gulch, which was the home to many Chinese vegetable peddlers and laborers. Jacob Kamm made a fortune in steam transportation, and no doubt benefited from the local Chinese laborers living in his backyard. Over the years the city grew and consumed the Kamm estate. By the 1950s, the Kamm house was relocated and Lincoln High School built in its place. The three trees in front of the school are now the only tangible link back to when this neighborhood was far more country than city. It also makes you wonder, if trees could talk what stories would they tell?

Download your free copy of my book "From Stumptown to Treetown" and get outside to explore Portland's oldest living features! #outdoorhistory

PDF of Stumptown to Tree Town

Lower image courtesy of City of Portland Archives A2004-002.3180