Arbor Day celebrated in East Portland

After years of holding it downtown, see which East Portland park was chosen to host this year’s celebration, held on Earth Day …

Many folks come out to celebrate Arbor Day at the festival in Mt. Scott Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

By the time a rainstorm had passed, on Earth Day, April 22, people from all over the area were already on their way to the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood to celebrate Portland’s “Arbor Day 2017” in Mt. Scott Park.

The festivities, organized by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), featured bucket truck rides, hot food vendors, live music, an ecological scavenger hunt, tree climbing, and other family activities.

PP&R Director Mike Abbaté examines a Coulter Pine cone while PP&R Urban Forestry Commission-member Damon Schrosk shows off a Sugar Pine cone.

“During my tenure, Arbor Day has always been celebrated in the South Park Blocks, near Portland State University among our wonderful big trees there,” remarked PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. “But now – by having the event this year here, in Mt. Scott Park, we’re getting out the message that we have significant trees everywhere in the city, while enticing people to come and visit this beautiful East Portland park,” Abbaté told East Portland News.

“And, we really do have reason to celebrate,” Abbaté grinned. “For the 40th consecutive year, Portland has been named a ‘Tree City USA’, which illustrates the importance of the trees to all of our residents here.”

Iylan Westcott is getting ready for a bucket truck ride high into the Douglas Fir trees, with help from PP&R Arborist III Rory Kramer.

The Ortiz family spends a moment with the Friends of Trees mascot, “Garry Oak”.

Families were clearly having a great time at the free multicultural festival, participating in activities underneath towering Douglas Fir trees and learning from community organizations such as Friends of Trees, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, World Forestry Center, and the Portland Bureau Planning & Sustainability, who all exhibited at the fair.

After climbing high up this Doug Fir, Jasper Werner rides the ropes back down to solid footing.

Taking a moment to relax at the Portland Arbor Day celebration is PP&R Urban Forestry Botanic Specialist Nik Desai.

“We hope people take away from this a renewed appreciation for trees and all that they do for us,” commented the day’s chief organizer, PP&R Urban Forestry Botanic Specialist Nik Desai.

“The best part of this event for me is seeing people come out here, learn about, and having conversations about trees,” commented Desai.

Families stop to make crafts under the PP&R Summer Camp canopy.

“This is what Arbor Day is all about; people celebrating community and gaining greater awareness and understanding about the wonderful things that these magnificent organisms do for us,” Desai said.

On our FRONT PAGE: Sol Mitchell gives Friends of Trees mascot “Garry Oak” a big hug.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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