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June 30, 2022
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Eugene forester takes on new role as head of Oregon Department of Forestry's urban forestry program (Photo)
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Eugene forester takes on new role as head of Oregon Department of Forestry's urban forestry program (Photo)

SALEM, Ore. – Scott Altenhoff from Eugene is the new manager for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. Altenhoff takes over the statewide role from Kristin Ramstad, who is retiring after more than 30 years of service.

“We had many great candidates for this position. In Scott we were pleased to find a tremendous depth of experience, knowledge and skills. He is well known and well respected in urban forestry circles, not just in Oregon but nationally as well,” said Josh Barnard, Chief of ODF’s Natural Resources Division. 

Altenhoff holds a Graduate Certificate in Urban Forestry from Oregon State University. He is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Board Certified Master Arborist, Municipal Specialist, and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. He is also a past president of the Society of Municipal Arborists and sits on the National Steering Committee of the National Urban Wood Network. He also co-chairs the Board of Directors for Canopy Watch International. 

Altenhoff comes to state government from the City of Eugene, where since 2005 he has been a municipal arborist/urban forester. Prior to that he worked for 13 years as a commercial arborist and forest surveyor throughout the Pacific Northwest. In the late 2000s, he taught courses in Beginning and Advanced Arboriculture at Linn-Benton Community College. 

“Scott has a longstanding interest in helping people to better understand and appreciate trees and urban forests. He’s especially keen to share the science showing the benefits to human health from contact with nature in the built environment,” said Ramstad, who was on the selection panel. “As important, he is passionate about helping communities deal with issues such as ensuring equitable distribution of these benefits by planning for adequate tree canopy in every neighborhood.”

Altenhoff said all Oregon cities and towns are now required to increase density under statewide housing law. He said he hopes as communities work to increase housing, he can help them also preserve and expand tree canopy. At the same time, he said Oregon communities also need help to cope with the challenges to tree health from climate change and new pests and diseases.

“We have better information technology that can help communities know more than ever about their trees and how they are distributed. This can help them plan better and take useful actions based on that knowledge,” said Altenhoff.

In his free time, he enjoys international travel, exploring remote natural areas, and spending time with his wife and daughter. 

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