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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

A blog highlighting Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry news and activities 

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Click here for a calendar of Urban Forestry Events https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/61420


Long-lived shade trees will create signature look into the next century

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Feb 14 2015 Photo of Planting
 

Roseway planting Feb. 14th will beautify park blocks

Urban Forestry is adding to the romance of Roseway’s 72nd Avenue park blocks with a Valentine’s Day tree planting. The planting will help the Roseway Neighborhood Association complete Phase One of a decade-long effort to rejuvenate and beautify the four blocks.  Some 19 trees purchased with money from the City’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund will help fill gaps in a massive planting done back in 2003. That earlier planting was needed because row after row of identical clones of Thundercloud plum planted by civic boosters back in the 1950s were dying out. One of the drawbacks of that uniform planting of a single clone of plum is that all the trees die after about 50 years.

Neighborhood resident Sean Batty envisioned replacing the monoculture on 72nd Avenue with different species of longer-lived trees, namely chestnuts, oaks and hackberries. Supported by the City of Portland and Chad Honl from Friends of Trees, some 80 trees were planted on Nov. 15, 2003. About 75% of those trees survived to become established and are well on their way to becoming magnificent shade trees. The new planting is to fill gaps in the perimeter left by trees that were hit by cars or didn’t survive for one reason or another.  

Because chestnuts and oaks have thrived in the park blocks, the new planting will showcase additional members of Fagaceae, a great family of 600 species that contains oaks, chestnuts and beeches among others. Not only will that add to the botanical education value of the blocks, but the new beeches, oaks and chestnuts will become large trees.  With potential lifespans well over a century, these trees’ spreading canopies will also provide Roseway with significant summer shade, cooling the air on hot summer days, absorbing road noise from nearby Sandy Boulevard , and prolonging the life of street pavement.

Batty has said of Phase One that “…the project demonstrates how citizens and bureau can work together to achieve great results.”  He already envisions a future Phase 2 that at each end of each block will combine the vibrant fall color of ginkgos and katsuras with spring-flowering trees set off by evergreen sequoias. The result will create a majestic local legacy for Roseway residents well into the next century.

For more information contact Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry at 503-823-8779 or karl.dawson@portlandoreogn.gov.

To sign up to help with the planting click here.

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Join the Sunnyside Tree Team for a Pruning Workshop!

When: Saturday, February 21, 8:30 am - noon
Where:
 SE Uplift, 3534 Southeast Main Street

Click here to register!

Click here to download an event flyer!

Interested in learning how to prune trees?  Do you want to get outside and enjoy some fresh air with your neighbors?

Volunteers are needed to help prune street trees in Sunnyside neighborhood on Saturday, February 21st. Portland Urban Forestry and the Sunnyside Tree Team are partnering to offer this street tree pruning workshop to improve tree health and walkability in Sunnyside neighborhood. Volunteers will meet at SE Uplift, learn the basics of tree pruning from a trained arborist, and then work in groups to prune street trees in the neighborhood.

Certified Arborists can recieve 3 hours of ISA CEUs for participating and leading small groups. Contact angie.disalvo@portlandoregon.gov for details!

 

Heritage Tree Walk in Sellwood

When: Saturday, January 17, 10 am - noon
Where: Grand Central Bakery 7987 SE 13th Ave

Click here to register!

Click here to download an event flyer!

Portland’s Heritage Tree Program celebrates the largest, oldest, most historic and unusual trees in the city.

Sellwood and Brooklyn neighborhoods alone are home to over a dozen heritage trees, including American chestnut, walnut, tupelo, river birch, hickory, basswood and more. Join us for this informative walk brought to you by Urban Forestry and the Sellwood Tree Team and learn about the Heritage Trees in the Sellwood neighborhood. 

Join the Albina Tree Team for a Pruning Workshop on January 10th!

       

When : Saturday, January 10, 2015 8:30 am to noon

Where : Dawson Park, N. Williams Avenue, Portland, OR 97227

Interested in learning how to prune trees?  Do you want to get outside and enjoy some fresh air with your neighbors?

Volunteers are needed to help prune street trees in the Eliot neighborhood on Saturday, January 10th. Portland Urban Forestry and the Albina Tree Team are partnering to offer this street tree pruning workshop to improve tree health and walkability in Eliot. Volunteers will meet at Dawson Park, learn the basics of tree pruning from a trained arborist, and then work in groups to prune street trees in the neighborhood.

Certified Arborists can recieve 3 hours of ISA CEUs for participating and leading small groups. Contact angie.disalvo@portlandoregon.gov for details!

Click here to register!

Click here to download an event flyer

Agenda

8:30 am - 9:00 am: Registration
9:00 am - 9:45 am: Pruning lesson and splitting up into teams
10:00 am - Noon: Teams head out to assigned sections and prune tagged trees
Noon: All volunteers return to marked tables at Dawson Park

For more information, contact Elizabeth Specht at PP&R Urban Forestry at (503) 260-5876 or elizabeth.specht@portlandoregon.gov.

Lightning Strike Gives Douglas-fir New Lease on Life

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Stories from Our Urban Forest - Barbara Warren-Sams   Portland Urban Forestry Commission 2002 to 2006, and Beaumont Wilshire Neighborhood Tree Steward

I’m writing to share with you the survival story of a very old Douglas-fir from the early 1900s to the present—from mature tree to wildlife snag.

When my grandson, now fast approaching his twentieth birthday, was a fifth grader, he interviewed me about our tree and wrote a paper that he chose to title, “The Lucky Tree.” Why’d he choose “lucky”? Well, here are major obstacles that Lucky survived:

Doug Fir

In the early 1900s, I surmise that Lucky survived a massive cutting down of trees that led to Portland being nicknamed Stump Town!

In 1940 my father built a two-bedroom bungalow, including a walkway and a driveway, within several feet of mature Lucky’s trunk.

In the summer of 1962 my father had Lucky topped.

On October 12, 1962, a typhoon also known as “The Columbus Day Storm” or “The Big Blow” hit Portland causing massive tree loss in our northeast neighborhood and four days without power. A nearby neighbor reported to my dad that twice while he nervously watched our tree, its branches touched the front lawn.

Around 1980 my mom grew tired of the frequent need to remove thousands of cone- and millions of needle-debris from the yard, drive, sidewalk, roof, and rain gutters. My sister and I promised that we and her four grandchildren would help more with clean ups, sparing Lucky an untimely death.

I moved back into my childhood home and took over the Lucky tree’s care in 1989. Over the next twenty-five years, this included two instances of major pruning, removal of damaged branches and the second top, and then “rebirth” as a wildlife snag. 

Unfortunately, in June 2012, Mother Nature once again threatened Lucky who now stood about 140 feet high with a DBA of 14 feet. As I stood in my living room one early evening during a brief lightning storm, I heard the crash of thunder as if a bomb had exploded in the backyard. The next morning I stepped outside and found a few pieces of thick Douglas-fir bark lying near the front porch. I assumed that lightning may have struck one of the large upper branches.

To my dismay a month later I noticed that six or so feet of the Lucky tree’s top looked like a red-sprayed holiday tree. The June lightning storm immediately came to my mind and a sinking feeling to my stomach. I called an arborist who advised me to wait to see whether the damage would extend down the tree before making any decision. I must have sounded pretty distressed because he tried to convince me not to panic, not yet. I felt heartbroken.

Lucky’s becoming a wildlife snag occurred in two stages:

        First stage. The top continued to die until it involved the top third of the tree and then seemed to stop. In November 2012, I put out a bid to three certified arborists, in which I asked for two quotes—one for topping (my first choice) and one for removal if it came to that.

   Doug FirThe only response to my request for bids came from Springwater Arboriculture (it seems that not all certified arborists are equipped or eager to handle such a dangerous job). On November 28, 2013, Andrew Craig and his crew arrived along with a boom truck with telescoping crane to reach over numerous other large trees and multiple wires to remove and lower into the street two 25-foot sections from Lucky. Despite my sadness, I couldn’t help feeling a bit exhilarated by the tremendous effort to save my tree.

I crossed my fingers that all was well.

         Second stage. But it wasn’t. By June 2013, damage had extended another forty to fifty down the tree. I called Springwater again. Brian Top of LuckyFrench of Ascending the Giants also joined this second effort.

        No cranes this time. Brian spent a day and a half hanging from Lucky’s trunk, carefully removing eight- to ten-foot sections of the trunk and lowering them to the ground. Two small sections of bark were removed, holes drilled, and then the bark replaced. Several short, bare limbs were left for perching. The lowest branches were saved.

Lucky is alive and may be for a long time. Despite being described with the term “snag,” the new look has a certain elegance and dignity about it. I think if you saw Lucky you might agree. The new lease-on-life provides habitat for a large variety of wildlife large and small, including the many birds that frequent my yard (there’s been an upswing this past summer especially in daily visits from red-breasted nuthatches and northern flickers). Nearby neighbors have also spotted several owls and hawks.Author with Lucky

I want to thank Springwater Arboriculture, Ascending the Giants, Madrone Modern Arboriculture, and Collier Arbor Care for extending the life of one tough Douglas-fir that refused to “go quietly into that good night.”I also want to thank Karl Dawson from City of Portland Urban Forestry for giving me the opportunity to share with you the survival story of the Lucky Tree. If you would like more information, you can email me at birdiegirl2009@gmail.com.

Photos

1 Author with family in front of Lucky 1950

2 Removal of dead top with boom truck and crane

3 Final view of Lucky from street east of house

4 Author with Lucky feet away from house