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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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View a calendar of Urban Forestry events

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



From Stumptown to Treetown Tree # 4 Lavalle Hawthorn

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Lavalle Hawthorn

David-Paul B. Hedberg

Lavalle Hawthorn is a hybrid tree that nicely embodies the dynamism between humans and nature. First developed in late nineteenth-century France as a cross of two North American species, Lavalle Hawthorns have now become a robust and popular tree in urban settings. Fifty years ago (1966) Barbara Fealy, a member of Portland's First Unitarian Church, redesigned and planted these four Lavalle Hawthorns in front of her church. Fealy, an important NW landscape architect, often incorporated the use of native plants and landscapes into her designs— the Salishan Lodge on the Oregon Coast is one of her notable works. Though her landscapes were often for private homeowners, her larger projects included: the Catlin Gabel School, Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, Evergreen Aviation, and Sokol Blosser Winery. In 1984 the Portland Garden Club awarded Fealy for her "for sensitive use of plant material and excellence of landscape design.” By considering the natural world, Fealy found beautiful and simple solutions that featured the wet climate of the Pacific Northwest. Her foundational work in incorporating, and working with, the natural world has many parallels to current urban restoration efforts. So it’s fitting that she selected these hybrid trees for her hybrid landscape. It mimics the lines of a formal european garden, but it also considers our local ecology and ways of seeing the world.

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

Pier Park Community Garden Summer Harvest Celebration

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Portland Parks & Recreation Pier Park Community Garden celebrated their first summer harvest festival on July 27. Organized by Portland Parks Urban Forestry AmeriCorps member Danielle Voisin this event gave residents, gardeners and families an opportunity to enjoy freshly harvested food from Pier Park Garden and learn how to grow their own food at Portland Parks & Recreation gardens. The garden harvest was also celebrated by traditional Aztec dances. Led by Jose Luiz, these dances honored the earth and blessed the garden. After the dancing, community members enjoyed free tamales and jicama while exploring beautiful Pier Park and going on a garden tour. For more information about Pier Park Community Garden in North Portland, contact Portland Community Gardens at or 503-823-1612.


Traditional Aztec Dancers at Pier Park Garden


Pier Park gardener shows off the results of his hard work.

From Stumptown to Treetown Tree #2 The Burrell Elm

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By David-Paul Hedberg

Trees are historic landmarks. This American Elm, Portland’s first historic landmark tree, is the last living connection to a neighborhood that was once full of homes and gardens. Rosetta Burrell, one of Portland’s socially minded women, planted it in her lush garden around 1875. Westshore magazine featured Mrs. Burrell’s home and garden in 1888-- a nineteenth-century "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" if you will. An active member of the First Unitarian Church and the League of Women Voters, Mrs. Burrell made many important social contributions to the city. In 1887, she was instrumental in founding the Portland Woman’s Union, and donated $10,000 of her own money to build the Martha Washington Hotel: a boarding house for single mothers that also provided educational training. Over the years the Burrell’s suburban home became part of the downtown core. The gardens, greenhouses, and stables were cleared to make room for more dense development. By 1973, all that remained of the Burrell’s property was the elm tree. That year, a member of the Oregon Historical Society had an idea: If the city of Portland could preserve historic buildings, why not a historic tree? So in 1975 the city’s Historical Landmarks Commission approved the Burrell Elm as the first landmark tree in the city. As a historic landmark, it’s no surprise that this tree was first on the list when the city created the Heritage Tree ordinance in 1993. Now legally protected, any construction or development that could affect the tree requires approval of the City Forester.

Download your free copy of my book "From Stumptown to Treetown" and get outside to explore Portland's oldest living features! Follow me on Instagram  and Twitter to learn more about our shared history.