Urban Forestry Center

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Portland, Oregon offers the best of both urban and rural living. Downtown Portland is a full-fledged urban center with parks and trees scattered throughout. Many of its surrounding suburbs, such as Hillsboro, Wilsonville and West Linn, are primarily suburban and rural, offering both the convenience of city living and the peaceful beauty of nature. The Urban Forestry’s Tree Inventory Project is one of the programs the city of Portland uses to ensure that Portland keeps its thriving urban landscape a lush, green and beautiful landscape.

This volunteer program strives not only to identify and preserve the trees of the area— it also brings the community together for a purpose. The Urban Forestry in Portland, Oregon is soliciting volunteers to take note of trees needing maintenance, of open spaces where trees could be planted and of keeping track of the number of trees in the area. So far, over 40,000 have been identified. This unique and important program helps green minded people take green conscious action.

Guided by the Urban Forestry staff (and using the tools and information provided by them), active community groups, citizens, do-gooders and general nature lovers simply walk, bike, drive, or jog around their neighborhoods and look at trees. They identify the size, health, species, and condition of the surrounding area as well as other factors and return this information to the Urban Forestry staff.

After reviewing this information, the Urban Forestry Staff presents the information to neighborhood leaders, where plans are discussed to improve and maintain the tree population.

When I heard about this program, I thought it would be a tremendous way for me to get to know my neighbors better and do my part to keep Oregon green and keep the wonderful trees dotting the city happy and healthy. When I coupled those ideas with the fact that I could use a bit more exercise, it was really a no brainer.

My wife and I and several neighbors walked through our neighborhood with notebooks, measuring tape, and cameras in hand. We were a diverse group walking through the Mt. Tabor neighborhood but, as is always the case, we got along splendidly. As we measured, notated and recorded, we also chatted. I learned about a new Indian Restaurant, about the music scene and about an upcoming author signing at Powell’s Books. I also learned to identify diseases in trees and what the shape, color and firmness of the leaves and bark told us about their health.

Once we finished our tree health mission, we all went out and grabbed a beer and extolled the virtues of Portland, Oregon. We felt good for having done our part for the environment and for maintaining the beauty of our city. We decided we would do this again next month and even decided to start a Facebook group to spread the word. Making new friends and renewing acquaintances while helping your community— that’s what Portland, Oregon is all about.

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