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August 18, 2022
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Portland marks 45 years as a Tree City USA and earns its 25th Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland is marking a major milestone – 45 years participating in the national Tree City USA program of the Arbor Day Foundation. The occasion comes as the City gets set to receive its 25th Growth Award from the Foundation for having achieved higher levels of tree care and community engagement with their urban forestry program during 2021. 

Sixty-nine Oregon towns and cities are qualified as a Tree City USA, including the return of Reedsport to the program. Portland is the state’s second longest participating Tree City USA, having enrolled a year later than Salem. 

The Growth Award is designed to help communities build upon their Tree City USA status and grow their urban forestry programs. Several activities qualify, such as:

  • revamping a tree ordinance
  • conducting a tree inventory or tree worker safety program
  • establishing a list of recommended public trees
  • holding a tree-themed community event for the public
  • improving social equity outreach 
  • starting a wood-recycling program

Each activity is worth from 1 to 10 points. When applying, communities must describe their activities and add up their points. Communities must score at least 10 points in a given year to earn a Growth Award.  Joining Portland in achieving a Growth Award are 19 other Tree City USAs.

La Grande – 30

Medford – 20

Beaverton – 18

Eugene – 17

Salem – 16

Corvallis – 13

Wilsonville – 12 

Grants Pass – 11

Forest Grove – 8

Cottage Grove – 5

Milwaukie, Talent, West Linn – 3

Redmond – 2

Aumsville, Bandon, Central Point, Hillsboro and Newport – 1 

Several other cities are also marking milestone anniversaries as Tree City USA communities. Sweet Home, Tillamook and Tualatin have reached their 35th year in the program. Eagle Point is celebrating 30 years in the program and McMinnville 25 years. Lebanon and Monmouth have reached 20 years, Gervais and Sisters 15, with Newport, Independence and Oregon City arriving at the 10-year milestone. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry administers the Tree City USA program in Oregon on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation. ODF Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program Manager Kristin Ramstad is gratified to see the engagement in Oregon communities around urban trees. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic continued to be very disruptive last year, forcing the cancellation of many in-person events. Despite that, many Oregon cities and towns still accomplished a lot in terms of improving tree care even as they worked to recover from ice storms and a record-shattering heatwave. And cities became very creative in how they engage with the public while keeping social distance,” said Ramstad.

More information about the Tree City USA Program is here.  More information about the Growth Awards program is here. 

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