This article originally appeared on the Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry Blog.
By Barbara Warren-Sams
I’m writing to share with you the survival story of a very old Douglas-fir from the early 1900s to the present—from mature tree to wildlife snag.
When my grandson, now fast approaching his twentieth birthday, was a fifth grader, he interviewed me about our tree and wrote a paper that he chose to title, “The Lucky Tree.” Why’d he choose “lucky?” Well, here are major obstacles that Lucky survived.
In the early 1900s, I surmise that Lucky survived a massive cutting down of trees that led to Portland being nicknamed Stump Town!
In the summer of 1962 my father had Lucky topped.
On October 12, 1962, a typhoon also known as “The Columbus Day Storm” or “The Big Blow” hit Portland causing massive tree loss in our northeast neighborhood and four days without power. A nearby neighbor reported to my dad that twice while he nervously watched our tree, its branches touched the front lawn.
Unfortunately, in June 2012, Mother Nature once again threatened Lucky who now stood about 140 feet high with a DBA of 14 feet. As I stood in my living room one early evening during a brief lightning storm, I heard the crash of thunder as if a bomb had exploded in the backyard. The next morning I stepped outside and found a few pieces of thick Douglas-fir bark lying near the front porch. I assumed that lightning may have struck one of the large upper branches.
Read the rest of the article and see more photos of “Lucky” on the Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry Blog.
Barbara Warren-Sams is a former Portland Urban Forestry Commissioner and current Beaumont Wilshire Neighborhood Tree Steward.