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Inner Southeast tree inventories help restore 'Stumptown's' urban forest

by: COURTESY OF PP&R URBAN FORESTRY - During the Sellwood-Westmoreland street tree survey in August of 2011, the SMILE neighborhood association president, Mat Millenbach (at right), writes down the data, as two volunteers take the measurements of a small tree.It has been a long path from “Stumptown” – Portland’s nickname in the years after its founding in the mid-Nineteenth Century, when Portland’s cityscape was treeless as a result of clear-cutting – to Portland’s growing urban forest of 2013.

Ranked among the top ten most successful urban forests in the nation, Portland’s status is based not just on how much of the city is covered by trees – 30% -- but also how engaged its citizens are, in helping to restore and care for its urban forest.

One way that Portlanders help foster a healthy and growing urban forest is by volunteering in Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry Tree Inventory Project.

Volunteers are trained to do tree inventories and tree plans, and learn to assess site conditions and available planting spaces for future trees. They are encouraged to develop a sense of stewardship for all trees in their neighborhoods, observing when street trees are in need of maintenance and aiding homeowners with questions or concerns about tree care. Participating volunteers also learn how to connect the neighborhood with city and nonprofit resources to help develop a tree plan.

Two years ago, nearly fifty volunteers worked with PP&R Urban Forestry to map the species, size, and health of all 6,502 street trees in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood. That resulted in a street tree inventory and tree plan that can be seen online by searching for: “Tree Inventory Project”.

This Portland project only assesses street trees in parking strips; those on private property are not included. Given that restraint, the total in that Sellwood-Moreland tally is even more impressive.

Last year, as reported in THE BEE, a similar number of volunteers in Eastmoreland mapped, measured, and identified street trees in their neighborhood. Now it’s Woodstock’s turn.

In January of this year Richard Faber, a Woodstock resident and certified arborist, stepped forward to submit an application to PP&R Urban Forestry for a tree inventory and plan to be carried out in the Woodstock neighborhood in 2013. The application was approved.

An initial planning session for those who will help organize the Woodstock Summer Tree Inventory will be held on March 16th, 9 am to noon at Southeast Uplift, 3534 S.E. Main Street, just north of Hawthorne Boulevard.

Faber says it is not too early to plan ahead for this opportunity to learn about trees, and to meet neighbors who share an interest in trees and building community. He is working on the project with Angie DiSalvo, Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry Tree Inventory Coordinator.

For more information contact Angie DiSalvo at 503/823-4489.