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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry News and Activities 

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Event calendar

Workshop this Saturday: Selecting Trees for your Home

Learn all about amazing trees!

Join the Grant Park and Hollywood Tree Teams for a presentation by Urban Forestry Tree Expert Jim Gersbach on how to choose great trees. 

When:  Saturday, January 14, 2017; 10-11:30am (sign-in with coffee and tea at 9:30am)

Where: Grant Park Church, 2728 NE 34th Ave, Portland OR   

Register here!

fall foliage 

Explore the world of trees through this enlightening presentation on tree options available for the upcoming Friends of Trees planting in the Grant Park and Hollywood neighborhoods (March 4th). Whether you have signed up for this planting, are considering signing up or just want to learn more about the world of trees beyond those typically found at the nursery, this workshop will provide a better understanding of the many considerations when choosing a tree. Learn about visual characteristics (flowers, fall colors, fruits and nuts) and environmental benefits (wildlife habitats and ecosystem functions) of various tree species and why diversity is important to the health of our urban forest (resilience to pests and disease).

Informed by the recently completed street tree inventory, this presentation will also show how choosing the "right tree for the right place" can ensure that your tree stands tall and strong for decades to come. Imagine that! The tree that you plant today can make a lasting contribution to the air quality and character of tomorrow's urban forest!  

For more information, please contact

Still reading? Sign up for the workshop today!

Upcoming Workshop: Great Tree Choices for Alameda & Beaumont-Wilshire

By Mason Wordell, Urban Forestry Tree Plan Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member

Arbutus menziesii – Pacific MadroneArbutus menziesii – Pacific Madrone

Join Urban Forestry and the Alameda and Beaumont-Wilshire Tree Teams
for an enlightening presentation on tree options available to you! 

When: 9:00 am - 11:00 am, January 28th 2017
Where: Wilshire United Methodist Native American Fellowship | 3917 NE Shaver St, Portland, OR 97212 
Register Here:

9:00 am - 9:15 am: Register, sign in, have a cup of coffee
9:15 am - 10:45 am: Presentation and walk with Patrick Key
10:45 am- 11:00 am: Wrap-up, clean-up

Alameda and Beaumont-Wilshire are both beautiful neighborhoods regarded for their mature and impressive trees. An important part in helping maintain the wonderful community trees that we love is by planting new trees, which will eventually replace the mature trees that may die in the next coming decades. 

Choosing a tree can be a difficult and daunting choice – which is why we invite you to join us to learn more about selecting the right tree for the right place! Join us to discuss trees that are adaptable, beautiful, and low maintenance. We’ll also cover the advantages of choosing less common trees and how they can help diversify your neighborhood. Whether you’re a first time planter, or a veteran tree hugger, there is something everyone can learn in this workshop.

In this presentation, Patrick Key will cover species that are considered low risk for diseases and pests, which continues to be important as we experience tree loss from the Bronze Birch Borer and growing concern over the Emerald Ash Borer. We’ll discuss which trees will perform well in our region with its wet winters and dry summers. Due to this season's damaging ice storms, we’ll cover trees that are less prone to storm damage. The presentation will dig into the many options of trees, and outline some of the benefits of each type of tree. For instance, flowers, fall color, and fruits and nuts for wildlife are just a few characteristics to consider when choosing a tree.

All of the trees that Key will cover are available through Friends of Trees, a local tree-planting non-profit. Friends of Trees offers trees at prices well below typical retail nurseries, and they organize neighborhood work parties to help homeowners get their trees in the ground.

Friends of Trees will be planting in Alameda on March 4, 2017. Folks must sign up for the planting day by January 30th, and have their trees ordered by February 13th. Friends of Trees will be planting with Beaumont-Wilshire later in the year on April 1st, 2017. The sign-up deadline is February 27th, and the tree order deadline is March 13th

In addition to covering some of the trees you may wish to plant, the presentation will weave together the city-wide and neighborhood specific data (Alameda, Beaumont-Wilshire) from the recently completed Street Tree Inventory. For example, did you know that there are 142 tree genera in all of Portland? That is an impressive range of tree diversity. However, over half the city’s street trees were found in just the top 10 genera. We can do better by planting a variety of tree species, and together, we can increase the diversity of trees in Portland. Please join Alameda and Beaumont-Wilshire Tree Team and Urban Forestry at this workshop to learn more!

Still Reading? Make sure to Register!

For more information, or if you have something you want to talk about, contact:

Mason Wordell
Tree Plan Coordinator and AmeriCorps member 

Roseway Tree Walk on the NE 72nd Avenue Park Blocks

By Mason Wordell, Urban Forestry Tree Plan Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member

Join Urban Forestry and Roseway Tree Team for an interesting and informative
tree walk along the NE 72nd Avenue park blocks!

When: 9:30 - 11:30 am on Saturday Feb. 25th, 2017
Location: Meet at Ira's Deli | 7215 NE Prescott St.
Register Here:

9:30 am - 10 am: Register, sign in, have a cup of coffee
10 am - 11:30 am: Walk & Talk with Urban Forestry Staff Jim Gersbach and Neighborhood Tree Steward Catherine Clark

Throughout the walk, they will be highlighting the benefits and beauty of conifers and broadleaf evergreens, along with other new deciduous trees in the blocks. Jim and Catherine will share the history of the blocks, with a focus on new plantings. Our urban tree canopy provides important ecosystem services, such as:

  • Mitigating storm-water runoff
  • Improving air quality
  • Producing oxygen
  • Reducing heating and cooling costs
  • Providing habitat and food for wildlife

Mature trees are also associated with improved health and social outcomes. Evergreen trees provide these benefits year-round, and are additionally important in providing winter shelter for urban wildlife.

Despite the advantages of evergreens, a recently completed street tree inventory carried out by Urban Forestry and 1,300 volunteers shows that in developed parts of the city, 90% to 98% or more of the street trees are deciduous, and the majority of these are small or medium size. Many of the new trees planted on the park blocks will attain very large size, thus contributing more benefits than smaller trees. Other trees recently planted on the Roseway park blocks are flowering trees with late spring or summer bloom times. This later blooming period extends the availability of nectar for pollinators. Other trees were planted to provide seeds and nuts relished by birds, squirrels, and other animals that share our urban environment.

Read on for some brief tree descriptions of the trees we will be discussing during our walk.

  1. Colossal Hybrid ChestnutCastanea x ‘Colossal’
    Colossal is the most common chestnut cultivar grown in the Pacific Northwest. It grew popular because it produces big crops of large, sweet-tasting nuts.
  2. Purple CatalpaCatalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’
    The Purple Catalpa is striking due to the purple color of the new leaves in spring. Bears flowers at a young age that are trumpet shaped, white with purple and yellow spotting in the throats
  3. Common Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis
    Hackberry is an alternate-branching, deciduous tree growing 50–80' tall. It bears numerous sweet red then purple pea-sized berries that birds love.
  4. Chinese Fringe Tree - Chionanthus retusus
    Showy white flowers in spring have fringe-like petals, giving the tree its common name. The tree is adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions, including moderate drought, air pollution and clay soil. It has been cultivated in Western countries since 1845, and its Chinese name is liu su shu.
  5. American Yellowwood - Cladrastis kentukea
    In late May-early June the tree blooms spectacularly with wisteria-like white flowers in clusters 12-14” long at the ends of twigs. This deciduous broadleaf tree is one of the rarer U.S. trees in the wild and is found most commonly along streams draining the western slopes of the Allegheny Mountains in Tennessee and Kentucky.
  6. Rivers’ Purple European Beech - Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’
    They are the climax tree in European forests, where their nuts were an important source of food to fatten pigs in autumn. The English word for “book” comes from the old Anglo-Saxon name for the tree, whose smooth bark was used to write on before paper.\
  7. Princeton Sentry Ginkgo - Ginkgo biloba 'Princeton Sentry'
    This male clone is upright 50' to 65' tall and 15' to 20' wide, with the classic fan-shaped leaves Like other ginkgos, this is resistant to many pests and pathogents and tolerates urban conditions.
  8. Natchez Crape Myrtle - Lagerstroemia x 'Natchez'
    One of the most commonly planted hybrid crape myrtles because of its rich, cinnamon red-brown exfoliating bark, big panicles of showy white summer flowers; red-orange fall color; excellent resistance to powdery mildew; enhanced cold hardiness; and upright growth to 30' with a spread of 35'.
  9. Oregon White Oak - Quercus garryana
    Oregon white oak was once one of the predominant trees in the Willamette Valley, but has declined to only 1% of its original range due to clearing of land for agriculture and cessation in the 19th century of underbrush burning by Native Americans. The tree’s nickname, Garry oak, is after Nicholas Garry (circa 1782-1856), the deputy governor of Hudson’s Bay Company who helped botanist David Douglas in his planting hunting in Oregon.
  10. Silverleaf Oak - Quercus hypoleucoides
    The tree’s lance-shaped leaves are dark gray above and silver underneath. They grow at elevations from 5,000’ to 7,000’ in northern Mexico’s Sonora and Chihuahua states, and across the border in the mountains of New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas.
  11. Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
    They superficially resemble a chestnut leaf, hence the tree’s common name – chinkapin being a common name for an American chestnut. Chinkapin Oak has one of the widest natural distributions of any North American oak. It is unusual for most oaks as it tolerates alkaline, limestone soils.
  12. Monterrey Oak / Mexican White Oak - Quercus polymorpha
    An evergreen broadleaf tree native to northern Mexico. Monterrey oak requires full sun but is very tolerant of heat and very drought tolerant, even when relatively young.
  13. Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
    The acorns, which take two years to mature, are an important food source for wildlife, especially squirrels that like to bury and store acorns in the fall. It is the state tree of New Jersey and the provincial tree of Canada's Prince Edward Island.
  14. Island Oak - Quercus tomentella
    It has leathery 2-4" oval leaves, that are dark green on top and gray-green with tan hairs below, although they become less wooly with age. It is considered a relict population that originally had a wider range on the West Coast. Along with canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis) it is a member of Protobalanus, the oaks intermediate between the red and white oaks.
  15. Southern Live Oak - Quercus virginiana
    Live oak has strong wood, a deep taproot, and an extensive root system, making it exceptionally stable in high winds. The small acorns (1/2 inch to 1 inch long) are shiny, ranging in color from tan-brown to nearly black.
  16. Giant Sequoia - Sequoiadendron giganteum
    Giant sequoias are the world's largest tree by volume. Millions of years ago the trees were widespread around the planet, growing in the Arctic during warmer periods in Earth's history. The trees eventually died out everywhere but in the Sierra Nevada of California, however Giant sequoias grow vigorously in western Oregon and have few pests or diseases.

Still reading? Join us as we explore the exciting new large-canopy, pollinator-friendly and evergreen trees in Roseway. Register here!
For more information, or if you have something you want to talk about, contact:

Mason Wordell, Tree Plan Coordinator and AmeriCorps member 

St. Johns Tree Team Sets out to Prune Their Community Trees!

Please join us on March 4th for our pruning work party!

By Mason Wordell, Urban Forestry Tree Plan Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member

Join Urban Forestry and the St. Johns Tree Team for a
pruning workshop and work party!

When: 8:45 am - 12:00 pm March 4th, 2017
Where: Pier Park | Intersection of N Lombard and N Bruce Ave.

Parking & Transportation: There is a parking lot along N Lombard, in between Bruce Ave and Commando Ave. The 75 TriMet bus has a bus station in the parking lot.

Click here to register!


8:45 – 9:00 am – Sign-in, coffee & bagels
9:00 – 9:45 am – Pruning Demonstration
10:00 – 11:45 am – Pruning neighborhood trees in small groups
11:45 – 12:00 pm – Return and wrap up.

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry and the St. Johns Tree Team are partnering to offer this street tree pruning workshop to improve the tree health and walkability in the area.  Pruning is an important part of tree care and maintenance, and everyone is welcome to participate in this workshop to learn more about how they can actively care for their trees.  Knowing when to prune and what to look for can help you make successful cuts that will help cultivate beautiful, structurally sound, and long living trees.  Read our previous blog post to learn more about pruning! View the City’s official pruning standards.

Interested in learning more about where we will be pruning? Pier Park has a fascinating history embedded within the trees. Listen to this podcast to learn about the Doulas-fir trees and their role in “Bloody Wednesday” on July 11th, 1934.

Please join us on March 4th for our pruning work party! We will be out rain or shine! We recommend long pants and long sleeves, sturdy shoes and a rain/sunhat and bring a backpack, rain gear and water bottle. Instruction, tools, gloves, coffee, water and snacks will be provided.

For more information, or if you have something you want to talk about, contact:
Mason Wordell
Tree Plan Coordinator and AmeriCorps member
(503) 201-3133

Want to learn more about the St. Johns Tree Team? Contact!

Certified Arborists can receive 3 hours of ISA CEUs for participating and leading small groups.
Contact Mason for details!

Now Hiring Urban Forestry Seasonal Staff

Come work with us this season!

Updated April 3, 2017: This recruitment is now closed.

Urban Forestry Seasonal Positions – Now Hiring
Applications accepted until positions are filled. Priority given to applicants who apply by March 17, 2017.

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry is seeking seasonal staff to work with its outreach and science group conducting work with tree inventory, monitoring, and stewardship activities. Multiple positions are available and work falls in multiple programs. Duties may include any of the following:

  • Conduct parks tree inventory workshops with volunteers in Portland neighborhoods. This includes public speaking, training volunteers, organizing logistics, and checking data for accuracy.
  • Collect tree data, including tree identification, measurement, and assessment using mobile ArcGIS.
  • Monitor Portland’s 2,000+ elm population for symptoms of Dutch elm disease. Requires travel throughout the city, visual inspection for symptoms, and recording inspection results.
  • Maintain tree inspection records, collect samples and send for lab analysis, and work with City tree inspectors and property owners during the removal of infected trees.
  • Manage and analyze data in Excel and ArcGIS.
  • Plan and implement tree stewardship activities for communities throughout Portland, including tree pruning, planting, maintenance, and education days.
  • Provide training, technical assistance and support to volunteers interested in leading urban forestry stewardship projects in their communities.
  • Administrative support duties for urban forestry programs, including data entry.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Position logistics:

  • Work schedule is 32 hours/week and often includes Saturdays.
  • Earliest position start date is May 4 and typical duration is 5-6 months.
  • Starting pay rate is $16.50/hour.
  • Work site is 10910 N. Denver Ave., Portland, OR 97217

For program details, visit the following:

Desired qualifications:

  • Tree identification skills, especially non-native trees
  • Experience collecting and maintaining data, especially with mobile devices
  • Experience with ArcGIS and Excel
  • Ability to work independently
  • Organization skills and attention to detail
  • Writing and communication skills, including report writing and public speaking
  • Experience working with volunteers
  • University coursework in forestry, GIS, botany, or related subject

Required for All Positions: Valid driver's license and acceptable driving record, must pass a criminal background check, and must be at least 18 years of age.

Application procedure: Applications accepted until positions are filled. Priority given to applicants who apply by March 17, 2017.

Send the following items to Julie Fukuda, CSA II, via email to

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter that includes availability from May through November 2017
  3. List of three professional references

For questions, email or call Julie at 971-337-7437. Candidates selected for interviews will be notified by March 22. Applications received later than March 17, 2017 will be considered in the next review, if necessary.

If you are requesting Veteran’s Preference, attach a copy of your DD214/DD215 and/or Veteran’s Administration letter stating your disability to your profile. You must request Veteran’s Preference AND include a copy of your documentation for each recruitment you apply for. Veteran’s Preference documentation must be submitted with your application.

Portland Parks & Recreation values a diverse workforce and seeks ways to promote equity and inclusion within the organization.  PP&R encourages candidates with knowledge, ability and experience working with a broad range of individuals and diverse communities to apply. PP&R encourages candidates that can fluently speak more than one language.

Non-citizen applicants must be authorized to work in the United States at time of application.

It is the policy of the City of Portland that no person shall be discriminated against based on race, religion, color, sex, marital status, family status, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or source of income. The City values diversity and encourages everyone who is interested in employment with the City to apply. If you wish to identify yourself as an individual with a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and will be requesting accommodation, the requests must be made to the contact named above no later than the closing date of this announcement.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

Portland Parks & Recreation is also recruiting seven Youth Conservation Crew Leaders for the 2017 summer season. For more information, please refer to the Adult Crew Leader Application