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Volunteers plant 130 new trees in Woodstock

by: David F. Ashton, Karin Hansen, her husband Mayor Tom Potter, Kelli Clark (Woodstock coordinator), and Friends of Trees executive director Scott Fogarty pause for a photo, before heading out to seat saplings.

The many Woodstock neighbors about to receive a new tree - plus 150 volunteers for Friends of Trees - gathered early on February 3rd, a misty Saturday morning, with work gloves on their hands, and tree planting on their minds.

Because ice and snow froze out their previously-planned January 20th event, These Southeast Portlanders appeared more than eager and ready to start the planting.

We caught up with Scott Fogarty, Executive Director of Friends of Trees, at the Holy Family Parish Celebration Hall, S.E. 39th Avenue at Henderson Street.

'Events like these are important, because they help build community by bringing citizens together to do something important -- restoring our planet and environment. It's great to see neighbors united in a common goal: Beautifying Woodstock.'

Portland's mayor, Tom Potter, came by to lend a hand. 'I am a Woodstockite, you know! We started with Friends of Trees by planting seven trees in our own yard. We've got five Hawthorns and two Maples in our yard now.'

Potter commended Friends of Trees for their effort to replenish the canopy over Portland. 'When one flies into Portland, a unique feature one sees below is all our trees. These volunteers replace trees that have died, or have been removed during development. Not only do the trees beautify Portland, they absorb carbon dioxide, and they take a lot of pollution out of the air and give us fresh oxygen back.'

A coordinator with Friends of Trees -- Kylie Nero -- was outside the hall, organizing a gaggle of volunteers, piles of soil amenities, trucks, and of course, the sapling trees.

'These people have this locked down,' Nero told us. 'They are very organized, and we get a lot of support here in Woodstock. It's very exciting to be here, working with these energized people.'

As she strode over to help lift a tree onto a hand truck, she turned and reminded, 'We do this every weekend through March. Come join us!'

Bert Berney said he was volunteering because he was having a tree planted in his front yard. 'A tree there died there, so I'm getting a new one.'

Adding that this was his first such event, Berney explained, 'I saw a flyer in the neighborhood, so I decided it would be a great opportunity. This is a good way to help my neighborhood, and make it look more beautiful.'

Want to get involved? Visit: www.friendsoftrees.org, for more information.