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Annual holiday tradition lights up Pioneer Courthouse Square

Photo Credit: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: CHASE ALLGOOD - The 75-foot, 40-year-old Douglas fir Christmas tree was lifted into place Nov. 14 in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. The decorated tree will be lit Friday evening in a ceremony that begins at 5 p.m.Portland, are you ready for some holiday music and dazzling lights? The 30th annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony Friday evening in Pioneer Courthouse Square includes a little of both.

The ceremony is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Nov. 28, in the square between Southwest Broadway and Sixth Avenue and Morrison and Yamhill streets.

Portland musician and bandleader Thomas Lauderdale will lead a holiday sing-a-long, featuring the 234th Army National Guard Band under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer Ashley Alexander, and the Pacific Youth Choir under the direction of Mia Savage Miller. A 5 p.m., the Northwest Community Gospel Choir, under the direction of Gary Hemenway, performs.

It all leads up to lighting the 75-foot, 40-year-old Douglas fir that landed in the square two weeks ago from a Stimson Lumber Co. forest near Hagg Lake in Washington County.

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: L.E. BASKOW - This tree-lighting ceremony from 2002 shows a decorated and jam-packed Pioneer Courthouse Square.For 12 years, Stimson Lumber of Gaston has provided Portland’s “living room” with its crowning holiday glory. Rodney Jacobs, a forester for the company, chooses the Stimson tree every year. Jacobs looks for trees that are straight, with a good shape and color, as well as no kinks.

To get the desired dimensions of the tree, Jacobs finds a tree that’s about 115 feet tall. On Wednesday, Nov. 12, two days prior to delivery, a climber cuts off the top 75 feet of the tree. A 40-foot trunk “snag” is left intact, with branches where birds and wildlife can perch.

The tree is then positioned in the square, filled out with extra branches and decorated with hundreds of lights for Friday evening’s ceremony.

Reporter Kendra Hogue contributed to this news story.

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