Volunteer tree planters dig in

See them roll through southern outer East Portland for their first spring planting. And, learn where you can help out, soon, in our area …

At this Friends of Trees planting in the Lents neighborhood, Crew Leader Kasandra Griffin and volunteers Kara Meredith and Kela Snider walk up from a planting site, ready to help out in this yard.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Planting a single tree takes folks who can dig a hole, carry a tree and its root ball from a truck, and put it in the ground. Then backfill the planting, and stake the tree so it will grow straight.

This process was repeated a whopping 65 times in the Lents and Powellhurst Gilbert neighborhoods on the morning of February 7 by an army of Friends of Trees volunteers.

Trees provide many benefits, says Friends of Trees Neighborhood Trees manager Whitney Dorer.

“Our annual spring planting is an important outreach to our community,” remarked the day’s coordinator, Friends of Trees Neighborhood Manager Whitney Dorer.

“So, part of this is getting people interested in urban forestry,” Dorer told East Portland News, in an interview at the command post set up at the Lents Gilbert Church of God.

“Many people don’t understand the full benefit of having a tree,” Dorer reflected.

In addition to trees increasing property values, he revealed, they also provide:

  • Shade in the summer – it’s an amazing benefit when it gets really hot;
  • Storm water absorption – especially when it’s really raining and we have a lot of water accumulation, trees help slow the absorption of water into the soil and sewer system;
  • Habitat for birds and wildlife – critters can hang out on and near them;
  • Beauty – seeing the beauty of trees help us feel less stressed.


Crew Leader Liv Brumfield and volunteer Floyd Maxwell are planting another tree.

Although the volunteer work is strenuous and dirty, many folks keep coming back to help out. “We planted trees eight years ago, and then again last year,” said Floyd Maxwell. “This year, I got addicted to going out and helping to plant trees. For me, it’s very rewarding; I consider that we are ‘planting for the future’ to benefit of our city.”

Tree planting volunteers don’t form into guerrilla bands who prowl neighborhood streets, doing stealthy tree plantings, she said, “It’s only done by neighbors’ invitation.

“If they want to participate, we show them their tree options,” Dorer said. “Then they can choose whether or not they want to plant with us. Today, several homeowners are having more than one tree planted!”

Former Wisconsin residents Joseph Temby and Robin Temby say they enjoy seeing the immediate results of their volunteerism in their new city.

Not far away from the other volunteers planting, first time volunteers Joseph and Robin Temby paused a moment to speak with East Portland News. “We moved here from Wisconsin a couple years ago,” Joseph said. “It seemed like a fun and rewarding activity for a Saturday morning – and it is!”

Join in the fun on February 28
Gathering at 8:45 a.m., Friends of Trees volunteers will coming together for the Northern outer East Portland tree planting blitz in mid-County Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Sumner, and Wilkes neighborhoods.

Four-season volunteer Alex Bruyevicz plants another tree. “I’ve met great people working on these projects,” he says. “And it’s nice that they give us a good free lunch when we’re all done!

“We provide gloves and tools, so all you need to do is show up dressed for the weather, and wearing sturdy shoes,” Dorer grinned. “The neighborhood volunteers will also provide a potluck lunch for all volunteers after the planting is complete, at about 1:00 p.m.”

They’re meeting at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, 12505 NE Halsey Street.

For more information, see the official Friends of Trees website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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