A tree walk through history in Laurelhurst Park

From left, Friends of Trees staffers Kris Day, Andy Meeks, David Odom, Greg Tudor and Whitney Dorer join Phyllis Reynolds, center, for a historic tour of the trees in Laurelhurst Park. (Angie DiSalvo, Portland Urban Forestry)

By Andy Meeks

On Wednesday morning approximately 30 people were treated to a walking tour highlighting the trees and history of Laurelhurst Park.

Phyllis Reynolds, author of “Trees of Greater Portland” and longtime Friends of Trees supporter, led the tour as part of the Portland Parks & Recreation’s (PP&R) Arbor Week.

Reynolds has done extensive research and mapping work in the Southeast Portland park and said that there are nearly 1,000 trees in the park consisting of almost 115 species, about one-third of which are Douglas-firs. She gave a very thorough, descriptive and entertaining walk past ginkgos, grand firs, the Concert Grove lindens, black oaks, sycamore maples, giant sequoias, Kentucky coffeetrees, white oaks and dawn redwoods.

The group learned from Reynolds that Laurelhurst Park was once part of the 462-acre Hazel Fern Farm owned by William Sargent Ladd, a native of Vermont who twice served as Portland’s mayor in the 1850s. He used it as a dairy farm and also raised Clydesdale draft horses and cattle. Ladd died in 1893 and his heirs sold the surrounding land to a group of developers who created the Laurelhurst neighborhood in conjunction with Frederick Law Olmsted’s landscape architecture firm.

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Historic planting season rolls on with big Saturday

5,000 trees in four months
There are nine plantings remaining through April 10. (FOT file)

The tree tally records continue to climb for Friends of Trees and there are still four full weekends of planting opportunities.

A quick look at the numbers so far from the biggest planting season in 20 years:

NT Planting: 03.13.10, Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Sumner & Wilkes
Volunteers helped plant 141 trees last Saturday in East Portland. (Ryan Summers)
  • 13,587 trees and shrubs planted
  • 3,423 large trees injected into the local canopy
  • Over a dozen natural area restoration sites established
  • Thousands of volunteer hours, from digging holes to preparing chili
  • Plantings spread across rivers and counties, in various cities and dozens of neighborhoods

The fun continues this weekend, March 20, with the last four-planting Saturday for Friends of Trees and its two programs, Neighborhood Trees (NT) and Green Space Initiative (GSI).

Ryan Summers, who planted a Greenspire Linden with his wife last weekend, said the best part was meeting and hanging out with his neighbors for the first time.

“We were excited to volunteer with FOT because it made it affordable to replace our tree and help add more trees to our area,” wrote Summers. “It really is a great way to meet and interact with your immediate community.”

The two NT plantings are in Vancouver and in the Cully, Madison South, Rose City Park and Roseway neighborhoods of Portland. The Portland planting is going for over 300 large street and yard trees, which will be a more than 100 percent increase in the same neighborhoods from last year.

Also, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman is confirmed to attend his second planting of the season.

GSI concludes its last two-planting Saturday in Tualatin and again along the I-205 Multi-Use Path. While part of the GSI mission is to plant small trees and shrubs as natural area restoration, the greening I-205 project, where larger trees are planted, garners timely attention because of the new partnerships with Metro and ODOT.

Metro Council President David Bragdon will attend Saturday’s I-205 planting to help promote the three-year partnership that is bringing large trees to the corridor from the Columbia River to Gladstone.

As usual, plantings begin at 9 a.m. sharp, but arrive early for registration and refreshments. All are welcome—just remember to dress for the weather. Forecast right now is … sunshine!

–Toshio Suzuki

Naito Parkway street trees cut down Thursday

Local tree removals: SW Stark & Naito Pkwy.
Two prominent Portland street trees were removed last Thursday on Southwest Stark and Naito Parkway. (FOT file)

Two large trees on Multnomah County right-of-way were removed last week at the corner of Southwest Stark Street and Naito Parkway.

“They were in decline but the main reason they were coming out was the sidewalk damage,” said Jim Field, the inspector for Portland’s Urban Forestry. “It came time to get them out of there.”

Naito Parkway, of course, is named after the iconic Portland businessman and philanthropist who founded the Urban Forestry Commission and whose name is also attached to Portland Urban Forestry’s highest honor: The Bill Naito Community Trees Award.

Local tree removals: SW Stark & Naito Pkwy.
Both trees were large in diameter. (FOT file)

The concrete lifts created by the tree roots and the overall width of the sidewalk, as seen on Google maps, were not in compliance with the American Disabilities Act, said Field.

Across the street from the Bureau of Land Management building and directly attached to a west-bound Morrison Bridge off-ramp, Field said the site will be replanted.

“I’d definitely like to see them put something pyramidal or upright,” said Field, specifically mentioning a Crimson Spire Oak or a linden.

What would you like to see planted in that spot?

–Toshio Suzuki