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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Urban Forestry Stewardship Support in Action - Part 1

In this two-part blog series, we highlight the achievements of Neighborhood Tree Teams that have recently applied for and utilized funds available through the Urban Forestry Stewardship Support Program (we are currently accepting suggestions for a better name). PP&R Urban Forestry offers financial, in-kind, and limited staff support for tree stewardship events - presentations, workshops, community projects and outreach activities for Neighborhood Tree Stewards and Neighborhood Tree Teams. If you are unfamiliar with this program, please check out this link.   

The following article was submitted by Heather Wheeler, a founding member of Albina Neighborhood Tree Team (ANTT); Albinaneighborhoodtreeteam@gmail.com

ReLeaf for Neighborhood Trees in Boise and Eliot!

Community trees are a public resource, and caring for them should not be a burden for low-income homeowners. This is a costly problem to solve, especially in neighborhoods of North Portland where about 10% of trees inventoried are dead or in poor condition.

The Albina ReLeaf Program began in January 2016 with the intention of enhancing the quality and diversity of trees while reducing the burden of care on low-income homeowners. It was a modest start, with the removal of six dead trees and eight healthy replacements. This year, the program expanded to remove and replace over four times as many dead and dying trees, with 25 removals and 38 plantings. This year's event occurred in March and included 18 properties. As for the trees, new plantings represented 13 genera with nine native species and one large conifer. All trees were selected for tolerance to urban conditions and suitability to each site. Among the trees removed, there were 23 cherry, one hawthorn and one highly invasive tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima).

Tree Removal by Treecology
Treecology arborists remove a tree as part of the Albina ReLeaf Program.

Several partnerships made the ReLeaf Program possible. The organizing group, Albina Neighborhood Tree Team (ANTT), was funded by the Partners in Conservation Grant from East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, along with Stewardship Support from Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry. All permitting and paperwork was handled by ANTT, making the whole process a snap for participants. Treecology offered professional arborist services, removing the dead or dying trees to make way for more appropriate tree species. Friends of Trees supplied and planted these trees, intended to be community assets for several decades. Additionally, the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) was a very supportive fiscal sponsor, assisting with the many financial aspects of this whole process.

Tree planting with Friends of Trees 

Tree planting with Friends of Trees.

This is the first program of its kind to take place in Portland, and has already served as a model for other Portland neighborhood groups to begin helping low-income homeowners plant and maintain a healthy urban forest in more areas around town. The goal of expansion is well underway in just the second year, as ANTT joins forces with other surrounding neighborhood tree teams and forges new partnerships with like-minded organizations.

Reducing the abundance of dead or nearly dead cherry trees has been a major focus of the ReLeaf Program in the first two years, with future objectives aimed toward reducing invasive or nuisance tree species, as well. Newly unfurling plans target a broader ReLeaf area, and aim to offer a menu of subsidized tree care services to community members who face financial barriers to tree care. Exciting plans are also in the works to introduce a new component of cutting sidewalks to make space for planting larger trees in coming years. Realization of these plans will depend upon availability of funding and community support. Consider joining us, or the tree team in your neighborhood, to lend a hand.

Trees planted through ReLeaf in March 2017 Quantity
Calocedrus decurrens 1
Cercis canadensis 1
Cornus kousa x nutallii 'Starlight' 1
Crataegus douglasii 1
Magnolia x soulangeana 'Rustica Rubra' 1
Nyssa sylvatica 1
Maclura pomifera 2
Crataegus x lavallei 3
Lagerstroemia indica 3
Maackia amurensis 4
Zelkova serrata 5
Rhamnus purshiana 7
Parrotia persica 8
Grand   Total 38

Stay tuned for news on the growth of the ReLeaf Program in coming years! There are many ways to get involved with this and other ANTT activities, learn more on the web at: www.albinatrees.org.

For questions about Urban Forestry Stewardship Support, please contact Nik.Desai@portlandoregon.gov.