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August 14, 2022
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Cottage Grove is named Oregon Tree City of the Year for 2022

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. – Oregon’s Tree City of the Year for 2022 is Cottage Grove. This town of about 10,800 people in southern Lane County was selected for the honor by the board of the non-profit Oregon Community Trees and staff with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. 

Mayor Jeff Gowing will acknowledge the honor as part of Oregon Arbor Month during a community tree-giveaway in Cottage Grove on Saturday, April 2.

Kristin Ramstad, Manager of ODF’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program, said the award is given to one Oregon city each year that has shown leadership in the continued development of urban forestry management for the benefit of residents. 

“Cottage Grove earned this award because, in the 28 years that it has been recognized nationally as a Tree City USA, it has demonstrated a desire to grow a healthy urban forest, improving the livability and quality of life for its citizens and future generations,” said Ramstad.

Oregon Community Trees President Mike Oxendine said the award “Recognizes the efforts Cottage Grove is making to reach their larger goal, which is to maintain, preserve and improve their urban forest.”

Cottage Grove City Planner Eric Mongan puts it this way, “Being recognized as a Tree City USA community has changed our way of thinking about our urban forest. From adopting an approved street tree list to holding annual Arbor Day celebrations, having Tree City USA status has raised local awareness of proper care and management practices of public and private trees. Our Urban Forestry Committee, City staff, and residents can now also take pride in earning Tree City of the Year.”

Cottage Grove has received five Tree City USA Growth Awards since 2015. The Arbor Day Foundation presents Growth Awards annually to Tree City USA communities demonstrating higher levels of tree care and community engagement. Examples of the City’s Growth Award accomplishments are:

  • creation of a special fund to buy trees, support new tree maintenance and fund community education and Arbor Day activities;
  • acquiring 4.87 acres of streamside land for parks and open space
  • completing a tree canopy survey using i-Tree Canopy
  • recycling and reusing woody debris from branch and leaf pickup programs and tree maintenance operations
  • adding two new urban forest committee members.

Chris Senters, the City’s arborist, is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. He provides his technical expertise and guidance to City staff and the Urban Forestry Committee and leads a City tree pruning/removal crew. The City is also exploring other ways to use his knowledge and skills to benefit the community.

The City’s Urban Forestry Committee was created in 1994 to assist the City Council with tree-related policies. Committee Chair Reilly Newman describes its mission as “To grow awareness of what trees do for our community and to build a lasting tree legacy for future generations.” 

Committee members are also:

  • studying a legacy or heritage tree program
  • revising their approved street tree list
  • planning later this summer to begin developing the City’s first inventory-based urban forest management plan
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