Clean Air Canopy

Trees for Clean Air in NE Portland

If you live in Sumner, Cully, Parkrose, Argay, or Wilkes, register here to get a free tree!

Of all the benefits that trees provide, clean air is one that entire communities benefit from. When the Owens-Brockway glass facility was found to be excessively polluting in the vicinity of several Northeast Portland communities and the Columbia Slough Watershed, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined the facility and granted funds to Friends of Trees and our partners to lead community tree plantings in the area.

Friends of Trees, in partnership with community members and organizations, will coordinate the planting of 5,000 native plants and trees over the course of the Clean Air Canopy project.

Of these, about 800 trees will be located along neighborhood streets and private properties in the Sumner, Cully, Parkrose, Argay, and Wilkes neighborhoods. 4,200 more native plants and trees will be planted in natural areas located across these neighborhoods and along the Columbia Slough watershed.

This project would not be possible without our partners: Verde, the Cully Air Action Team (CAAT), and the Cully Association of Neighbors. Verde and CAAT’s advocacy work held this polluter accountable and led to this project’s creation. These partners have been instrumental to our outreach efforts.

“This project really represents the breadth of what we do at Friends of Trees,” says Green Space Program Manager Michelle Yasutake. “Working in both neighborhoods and natural areas, connecting with community members, and providing a tangible benefit in the form of cleaner air.”

These new trees and native plants will improve air quality and the quality of life for residents of these NE Portland neighborhoods. Leaves from the trees planted in this project will not only intercept and store particulate matter from the air, they will provide shade and cooling benefits, lessen urban heat island effects, and improve habitat and stormwater management.

Friends of Trees is already working with community members to identify planting locations. Planting and caring for the trees together gives us a chance to talk with the community about the positive impacts of clean air, clean water, and healthy urban tree canopy in neighborhoods and nearby industrialized areas.

“We’re really excited for this opportunity to form connections with residents, and to work alongside them to understand their needs and bring trees to their community in a way that works best for them,” says Aliesje King, the Neighborhood Trees Program Manager at Friends of Trees.

If you live in Sumner, Cully, Parkrose, Argay, or Wilkes, reach out to us to get a free tree! Register here, or email us at [email protected] with any questions.

Friends of Trees to the Rescue!

Rescuing native plants along the new Salmonberry Trail project

Usually Friends of Trees volunteers are tasked with planting trees, but last weekend in Banks, they got to rescue them! Volunteers worked on a stretch of railway, part of a route once home to the Pacific Railway and Navigation rail line, that will become the Salmonberry Trail in coming years.

Because the railway isn’t used anymore, native trees have sprouted among the tracks. Working along the scenic West Fork Dairy Creek, volunteers set about rescuing them by safely digging up knee-high bigleaf maple and Douglas-fir saplings, soaking them in water and storing them in bare-root bags. They used special de-rooter tools for the most obstinate trees.

“We’ve been out here for a couple years now, leading work parties,” says John Vogler of the Salmonberry Foundation to volunteers. “Next year, we will clear this whole section with big machines, so any trees that we can salvage is great. It’s a big task, and you’re part of the very beginning of this 86 mile trail to the coast.”

This rails-to-trails project will create a new 86-mile mixed-use path for walkers, runners and cyclists. The Salmonberry Trail will also connect to the existing Banks-Vernonia Trail to create a loop.

This event came to us thanks to our longtime partner Clean Water Services, whose Tree for All campaign has planted more than 14 million trees and shrubs in Washington County. They proposed this tree rescue event as a fun way to engage folks in the Banks community with our work. Rescuing plants isn’t typical for Friends of Trees, but the nature and scale of this specific project made it a good fit for volunteers.

With their hard work, volunteers rescued 375 bigleaf maples and 100 Douglas-firs from the tracks. They were safely stored by Clean Water Services in their cooler until they were planted elsewhere in the Tualatin River Watershed. The Doug-firs went to a Tualatin Soil & Water Conservation District project along East Fork Dairy Creek.  The maples were planted at the Penstemon Natural Area on the Tualatin River near Forest Grove, and at Rivers Bend Natural Area on the Tualatin River near the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Volunteers also cleared a quarter mile of future trail of invasive Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberry and 100 pounds of trash.

Volunteers were excited to rescue about 100 more trees to plant at their own homes, including cherries and hazelnuts. “It was fun to come to a different event like this,” said Hannah, a volunteer. “And so great to take a native tree home to plant!”

Thanks to Clean Water Services, The Salmonberry Foundation, and Friends of Stub Stewart State Park & Banks-Vernonia Rails to Trails for partnering with us on this project.

Tree walks & tree talks for you

It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this year. Friends of Trees was planning to celebrate in our usual fashion: Planting trees. Together. But, like everyone, our plans changed.

We would, of course, prefer to be outside with you. But since we can’t we have some really special virtual tree treats for you.

Since trees and nature can be so comforting, the Friends of Trees staff contributed to Earth Day with some homemade tree talk videos; we’re hoping these will tide you over until we can plant trees with you again. Below is a selection of our work, you can find the entire playlist here (we’ll be adding more, so check back!).

A lot of trees and tree stories – 16,000+ trees planted so far this season!

“It was an amazing day, perfect weather, awesome people and healthy trees! Couldn’t ask for a better planting day, truly.” Alex, volunteer tree planter (above photo taken at our Gresham planting event)

So far in our 2019-20 planting season we’ve planted more than 16,000 trees and native shrubs! Here are some highlights from some amazing days this season:

 

Neighborhood Trees Program: 820 trees planted

“It was wonderful to plant in our neighborhood! I look forward to checking up on all of our trees over the next few years.” -Neighborhood Trees volunteer planter

820 street and yard trees have been planted at nine events so far this season. 900 volunteers turned out to plant trees in Portland, Eugene, Vancouver, Oregon City, Beaverton, and Clark County, WA. (above photo from our November planting in Vancouver)

Green Space Program: 15,800 trees planted

“The team created a warm and welcoming environment. It was a lovely event that we truly enjoyed!” -Green Space planting volunteer
15,800 trees and shrubs have been planted in natural areas at 16 events since October. 1,000 volunteers turned out for restoration events in Eugene, Hillsboro, Troutdale, Tigard, Salem, Tualatin, Gresham, Cornelius, Happy Valley, and Wilsonville. (above photo taken at our Cornelius event in November)

Give the gift that fights climate change

Surprise your friend or loved one this holiday season with a gift that will grow over time, improve local natural areas, and clean our air & water!

Gift Trees are a lasting legacy that honor or remember loved ones while improving our environment. All Gift Trees are planted through our Green Space Program, which restores sensitive natural areas in our region. And with Friends of Trees, Gift Tree purchasers and recipients have the option to plant their Gift Tree. However, if you cannot attend a Gift Trees planting event we will make sure your Gift Tree gets planted.

For each Gift Tree (or grove of 6 trees), you will be able to choose a certificate you can customize with your recipient’s name and print at home.

You and your gift recipient can join Friends of Trees to plant the tree, if you wish, during one of our Gift Tree planting events during the coming year—or we can plant it for you.  Gift Tree FAQs

Please note: The deadline has passed if you’d like to have a paper certificate mailed to you in time for Christmas giving; however, if you’re in a crunch, please email Kathy directly and we’ll try to make it happen. Remember, you can order a Gift Tree and print your own certificate at any time. Donate to order your Gift Tree here.

All Gift Trees support natural area restoration through Friends of Trees’ Green Space Program. Thank you for greening our world through your holiday giving!