A committee has organized the holiday lighting of a very tall tree in Sandy

by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - Aided by lift equipment and three employees of Konell Construction in Sandy, Orion Coleman, a certified arborist (wearing a Santa hat) from Oregon Tree Care in Portland, moves around the tall white pine tree near Centennial Plaza stringing thousands of lights in preparation for the Nov. 30 tree lighting ceremony. POST PHOTO: JIM HARTSandy is going to have one of its tallest trees lighted for the holidays, thanks to the generosity of a number of people, said event coordinator Carol Cohen.

The tree lighting ceremony is one of the activities organized by the volunteers on the Sandy Main Street Promotions Committee, which is gathering donations from a variety of sources around the community to pay for the thousands of lights and the cost of putting them on the tree.

A huge project

One of the largest expenses initially expected in the project, Cohen said, was the cost of the lift equipment and people to operate it, allowing access to the tree, which is 86 feet tall. The tree’s owner, Cyndi McKenna of Cool Printing & Copies, allowed its use during the holidays and perhaps into January, Cohen said.

Konell sent its tallest bucket lift and three employees — all voluntarily donated — to move it around, while the city arborist climbed through the tree attaching lights to the branches. It took two days to complete the project, including time to take down the non-functional lights that had been placed on the tree a couple of years ago.

“I hope people appreciate the effort that these guys are giving,” Cohen said. “They’re not getting paid for this (to keep the overall project cost as low as possible. So, please help us with this (community icon).”

Cohen has spent about $2,000 to pay for the lights, extension cords, zip ties and the city’s professional arborist.

There would be additional expenses next year, Cohen said, for more lights and a taller lift bucket that must be rented to place more lights at the top of the tree, which could not be reached this year.

“This is a big deal,” Cohen said. “This requires a lot of manpower and hard work, and there’s the technical difficulty of stringing the lights (high above the ground while hanging onto a rope). There’s a lot of danger and risk-taking here.”

The cost of this undertaking is being borne by local businesses and individuals. Cohen said any amount would help because it all adds up.

There are collection containers around the city, in various businesses and at City Hall, but particularly at Clackamas County Bank, the UPS Store, Chariteas, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sandy Historical Society Museum.

Donations are coming in, Cohen said, but more are needed to finish paying the expenses. Donations of any amount all add up, she said. An employee of the chamber remembered a visitor from another country dropped into the visitor center for information, saw the flyer about donating for the tree lights, and left a couple of dollars for the cause.

The Main Event

The holiday tree lighting ceremony will include the assembled community singing Christmas carols and enjoying pizza, hot chocolate and cookies in the plaza — under the lighted tree.

That event begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in Centennial Plaza, just north of City Hall and west of the historical museum on Pioneer Boulevard.

By 6:30 p.m., the lights will be turned on and the community will be able to exclaim its collective oohs and aahs.

“Join friends and family at Centennial Plaza, and enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and caroling,” Cohen said. “The tree lighting spectacular will happen at 6:30 p.m. and remain ablaze throughout the holiday season.”

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