Sunday, March 27, 2011

Portland's (and Oregon's) Heritage Trees

Some of the things that Portland is best known for start with the letter 'B'.  Bikes, brews, bridges, baristas... Let's see, is there a 'B' word for rain?  One of things that Portland is known for which does not begin with the letter 'B', is trees.  Whether it's the woodsy West Hills - home of Forest Park - or one of the shady east-side neighborhoods full of mature trees, like Laurelhurst or Ladd's Addition, Portland loves it's trees.  Thanks to a strong urban forestry program, an organization called Friends of Trees, and tons of volunteers, Portland's urban forest continues to improve and expand.

tree lined streets, in a city! | by sgt fun on Flickr

One part of the urban forestry program is an ordinance which identifies Portland's Heritage Trees.  Heritage Trees are "trees that - because of their age, size, type, historical association or horticultural value - are of special importance to the City"I don't remember how I first heard about the program, but it was several years ago, and I was happy to find that we lived just down the block from a Heritage Douglas fir.  We've moved since then, and our nearest Heritage Tree now is a Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata).  What's your closest Heritage Tree?  Use this map to find out.

OPB's Oregon Field Guide recently did an interesting piece about Portland's Heritage Tree program.

From OPB:
Portland’s Heritage Tree program began in 1993 to recognize and preserve trees with special significance to the city... We follow the selection committee made up of citizens and botanical experts as they assess this year’s nominees, with special concentration on the Zahner family’s southern Catalpa tree.

So Portland has some pretty great trees, but what about the rest of Oregon? Turns out there's an state-wide version of Heritage Tree program as well.

You can read more about Oregon's Heritage Trees (and get that brochure Grant mentioned) at the Oregon Travel Information Council's website.

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