by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - Katie Lompa, left, from the Oregon Department of Forestry, presents a Tree City USA plaque to Metolius Mayor Sandy Toms.  Barry Davidson and Hal Littlejohn hold flag.

   After nearly a decade of work, Metolius was recognized as a Tree City USA at the Monday night City Council meeting.
   Representing the National Arbor Day Foundation and the Oregon Department of Forestry, Katie Lompa, of Sisters, community assistance forester at the state forestry office in Prineville, presented the city with a flag and plaque.
   "The Tree City USA award is an important symbol that recognizes the commitment the city of Metolius has to its livability," she said.
   Statewide, 45 communities have been recognized, with nine of those east of the Cascades. Nationwide, there are 3,500 communities with Tree City USA status for 2006, Lompa noted.
   To become a Tree City USA, communities must adopt a tree care ordinance; establish a program, tree board or commission; spend at least $2 per capita on community tree management; and conduct an Arbor Day or Arbor Week ceremony.
   "Many people only think of the forest as being outside our urban growth boundaries, when in fact, there is a forest right here where we live and work," she said. "Forests, both urban and rural, are important to Oregon. It is important to manage them in a well-thought-out way."
   Lompa pointed out that healthy urban and rural forests don't just attract citizens and visitors, they contribute to the quality of life in our communities.
   "Trees don't just provide shade, they make economic sense, increasing property values, lowering heating and cooling bills, and reducing noise and pollution," she said.
   Metolius will hold an Arbor Day celebration on April 28.
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