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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

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



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 Celebreation

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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, gardenrers 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.