Friends of Trees

May 2021: New trees at Bybee Lakes Hope Center | World Environment Day

TREEMAIL: News from Friends of Trees

Trees are on the path to recovery and reentry

at the Bybee Lakes Hope Center

For 16 years a giant empty building sat on a large, barren site in North Portland. Today, what was intended to be the Wapato Jail is now a place of recovery and hope, surrounded by new trees and a new Victory garden.

The Bybee Lakes Hope Center, run by Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers, serves people who are experiencing homelessness. Friends of Trees played a part in helping establish green infrastructure at the site and now BLHC residents, staff and volunteers have access to what is essentially a mini-arboretum, where a wide variety of trees will do what trees do best: clean the air; provide oxygen, shade, and habitat for bees and birds; while also helping to ease stress and contributing to other positive health outcomes for the folks who live there.

HHROC Development Director Mike Davis applauds the partnership,

“The partnership between our organizations has been great as we’ve worked to build out our therapeutic Victory Garden. Having Whitney and Drew guiding us on the types of trees as well as their care has been invaluable and will ensure that our trees grow and thrive. Without Friends of Trees and their volunteer army, we couldn’t have planted 150 trees in one day.”

Photo: Newly planted trees at the Bybee Lakes Hope Center

Get to Know planting trees on private property

Street trees planted by Friends of Trees are pretty recognizable—some may say iconic, even. Street trees are the trees planted near the street, identifiable by the Friends of Trees’ tree tag with information about the species and tree care. But street trees are only part of the picture.

Yes, we’re also restoring natural areas through planting native trees and shrubs, but there’s another aspect to our tree planting that also provides oxygen, fights climate change, and brings people together: planting trees on private property.

In a typical season we plant 1,000 yard or other private property trees, and it’s a part of our planting program we’re actively growing. In many ways, planting trees on private property allows for more options and flexibility, especially in yards where there is more choice in tree type because there is often room for larger trees. Neighborhood Trees Program Manger Erica Timm explains,

“I always wanted an Oregon white oak at my home, but I couldn’t plant one as a street tree because they are just too big for my planting strip, so I planted one in my backyard. And because there’s more room in my backyard I was able to plant more native trees and now, combined with my neighbor’s trees, we have a little grove of native trees right outside our back doors.”

Read More.

Photo: A happy yard tree recipient in NE Portland, March 2021.

The Eugene Branch


Planting trees on the Kesey Family Farm

Planting trees on private property is a regular part of the program at Friends of Trees Eugene. Almost every planting event includes yard trees, with about 20% of all FOT Eugene trees planted on private property, and increasing every year.

We recently had the pleasure of being a part of a private property planting event at the Kesey Farm just outside of Eugene (yes, that Kesey: Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and more!). The Keseys contacted us because in addition to looking for tree advice and help with planting, they wanted to involve Friends of Trees because they really like the community involvement part of how we plant trees.

The Eugene Tree Team worked with the Keseys on where to plant the trees and on species selection. The family really wanted some redwoods, so we planted those along with some giant sequoias. Read more.

Photo: Planting at the Kesey Family Farm

Volunteer Spotlight

So many people help make community tree planting possible, and some folks really go above and beyond. We’ll meet some of those folks who go the extra mile in this occasional feature.


JP (they/them) started volunteering in Fall 2016 after they moved to Portland, and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. In JP’s own words:

As a newly minted Oregonian, volunteering was also a great way to get my bearings, to meet people from all over the Portland metro area, and to learn about the many local groups involved in habitat restoration and environmental health.

Read more.

Photo: That’s JP on the left, with former FOT Urban Forestry intern Alvey on the right.

Get Involved

World Environment Day is June 5

World Environment Day 2021 calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems.

Count us in! For 32 years Friends of Trees has played a critical role in ecological restoration through planting more than than 870,000 trees and native shrubs throughout western Oregon and southwest Washington.

Like Madelyn, our 4th grade artist friend, we think plantings trees is a great idea to keep our world healthy.

JOIN US on June 5th as we share some tree walks + talks in honor of World Environment Day; we’ll also have some live events leading up to the 5th. Learn more.



Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the natural

world around them through a simple solution:

Planting Trees. Together.

(503) 282-8846: Portland office

(541) 632-3683: Eugene office

Learn more about how Friends of Trees greens our region + grows community through checking out other issues of Treemail here