Portland’s Ladd’s Addition was one of the first developed neighborhoods in the Western United States. The
planned community’s level of specificity included guidelines for park space and the directive to plant over 1,600 trees. The master plan called for maple, linden, birch, locust, the aptly named hawthorne, and American elms.
In 1991, Dutch elm Disease, an Asian fungus discovered by Dutch scientists that has taken a horrible toll on American Elm trees, reached Ladd’s Addition. In response, concerned homeowners and tree enthusiasts formed Save Our Elms to combat the toll of infected and disappearing trees.
Thanks to their mindful efforts, pruning, and inoculation programs, 74 percent of the American Elms survive in this SE neighborhood with diagonal streets. Along with preventative measures, Save Our Elms has been filling in the gaps with disease-resistant elms. This year during the first weekend of March, volunteers gathered in a style that would be familiar to anyone who has spent time with Friends of Trees, to plant trees.
According to SOE volunteer Lou Miles Ladd’s Addition is unique because it’s, “A historic district, but NOT based on its architecture. Instead, it’s based on the street plan and the 1910 street tree plantings.” Because of this, new plantings reflect the original plan. So if a tree is going in on Ladd Ave, it will be a disease resistant it will Accolade elm.
You can learn more about Ladd, Ladd’s Addition and Portland by traveling to the museum of the city. Thanks to Lauren Wang for the photos and a hearty thank you to all the volunteers, donors and supporters who work with Save Our Elms to keep the city’s canopy green and healthy.