Over the years, neighbors have asked me what the city does for tree planting and tree replacement.
The short answer is that, despite being called “The Forest City,” for many years Portland has had a very limited tree budget, with the only significant funding provided by federal funds targeted to low-income areas. And even those funds have been reduced in recent years.
The result of this meager funding is seen all over the peninsula and even in our neighborhood. In their daily walk-about with their dog, long-time residents of our ‘hood have noted all the voids in the streetscape, where trees would greatly enhance its aesthetic appearance, improve the environment, and add to property values. This is even truer in other areas of the west end.
There are two ways to address this:
First, the city has long had a Tree Co-op Program, in which a property owner selects and purchases a tree to be planted in front of their house in the esplanade. The city picks up the tree from a participating nursery and plants it for the property owner. The cost for such trees is $200+, depending on the size and species selected by the property owners.
For example, in collaboration with Jeff Tarling, city arborist, we selected the columnar and fast-growing Karpick Maples in front of our house. The 10-foot tall trees were planted in 2003.
Second, the city has a Tree Trust, established 20 years ago by the late Stan Bennett of Oakhurst Dairy, who grew up in our neighborhood and wanted to restore the tree canopy he remembered as a youth. Stan raised significant private funds, which supported planting new trees in the 1990s and early 2000s. While some funds remain, there is a need to replenish and grow the funds available.
Tree Challenge: An anonymous neighborhood couple has come forward and proposed a “Tree Challenge.” They will contribute $5,000 to the Tree Trust, specifically for trees to be planted in the West End, and encourage neighbors to join in this effort. Trees and locations throughout the West End will be selected by Jeff Tarling and planted by the city.
President, Western Prom Neighborhood Association
(Editor's note: Pringle gave permission for the Portland Phoenix to reprint her letter, which originally was directed to members of the Western Prom Neighborhood Association. This information was relayed by past West End Neighborhood Association President, Rosanne Graef and current WENA President Ian Jacob, because — as Graef explained to members of WENA — this tree-planting initiative has now been extended to include the West End Neighborhood Association and the association’s section of Portland's West End.)
(And a correction: In the Portland Phoenix Best of competition, Best Mechanic, 3 G's Tire & Auto, should have received the following write-up: “The dream was to have a business that would provide a great service at a great value. That dream came true in 1984 when our founder, Gene Hewitt, opened Dyer's Tires. It has been 30 years since that time. Along the way we have changed the business name and location but we still provide the same great service at the same great value. Our goal is to make every customer’s auto repair experience a happy one. We pride ourselves on fast and friendly service." 200 Veranda St., Portland | (207) 772-1255 | www.3gstire.com. Our apologies to this longtime business.)