Oregon City will celebrate Arbor Day and be named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation with a tree planting ceremony at Chapin Park on April 1 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Oregon City became a Tree City for the first time in 2012. The Arbor Day Foundation gives the title to communities with a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry budget of at least $2 per resident per year, and an annual Arbor Day celebration and proclamation.
“Our trees and urban canopy are an integral part of Oregon City’s identity,” said Mayor Denyse McGriff. “We don’t just look at meeting those goals from the Arbor Day Foundation, we work to exceed them for the benefit of our community and its future.”
The budget for trees in Oregon City includes regular tree plantings in public parks and a separate budget for street trees. City officials have hired friends of Trees as part of their efforts to encourage people to plant trees on the streets.
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Between 2019 and 2021, Oregon City gave the group $60,000 to hire nonprofit staff and volunteers to plant hundreds of street trees for homeowners who wanted them.
Friends of Trees has a deal with the city for $144,900 to plant 400–415 street and yard trees in neighborhoods between 2021 and 2023. The non-profit group also gave homeowners free structural pruning as part of the contracts.
McGriff said that keeping a tree board, one of the Tree City criteria, has been a key part of Oregon City’s success with trees.
“The Natural Resources Committee does tremendous work in when it comes to planning for our urban canopy. I appreciate the effort this volunteer group continually puts in,” the mayor said.
Dan Lambe, the head of the Arbor Day Foundation, said that the money Oregon City spends on its trees is spent on the future.
“The trees being planted and cared for by Oregon City are ensuring that future generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education,” he said.
McGriff said that Oregon City would get the title in a few years.
“We continue to invest resources into our urban canopy. It’s a top priority of this Commission, and we hear from the residents that it is a top priority for them as well. We will continue this work to reflect that importance,” she said.
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