‘Yard Tree Giveaway’ begins in SE Portland

Too bad if you missed the announcement – all the remaining ‘Free Trees” events ‘sold out’ only hours after the Portland Parks & Recreation program was announced …

Vehicles, a number of them from outer East Portland, line up inside Portland Parks & Recreation’s Mt. Tabor Yard – to receive free trees, as the Yard Tree Giveaway program begins for the season.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Only hours after the Urban Forestry division of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) announced, in late September, the return of their Yard Tree Giveaway program for 2021 – scheduled as five autumn events – the required advance registrations, at all of these events, became fully subscribed. In a word, “sold-out”.

Ready to check the next person to receive free trees is PP&R Urban Forestry Planting Program Assistant Ashley Reese.

“Anyone living in Portland is eligible for up to two free trees to plant on private property; this year, PP&R will be giving away 1,800 free yard trees at these events, at different locations around the city,” explained PP&R Community Tree Planting Specialist Molly Wilson at the kickoff, held in the Parks Bureau’s Mt. Tabor Yard on September 25.

But shortly after that kickoff free tree distribution, word came down that all of the events, in all parts of the city, including the one coming up on October 23 in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, were totally committed and thus out of further trees for the year.

Coming from the Lents neighborhood, Dawn Ihara and Keishi Ihara get planting and care instructions from PP&R’s Molly Wilson.

“Yes, all of the trees at all of our events have now been reserved,” Wilson told East Portland News. “We do ask folks who are interested in being on a ‘wait list’, to sign up on our online form, and we will alert them if we have cancellations, or, if more trees become available. [CLICK HERE to open this, specific online form]

“We are delighted by the community’s enthusiastic response, and we’ll continue to work to expand Portland’s tree canopy,” said Portland’s Commissioner of Parks, Carmen Rubio, as relayed by PP&R spokesperson Mark Ross.

Picking up a tree are Trace Cimoli and Kendra Watkins, who say they’ll be planting it at their home in the Cully neighborhood.

At the September 25 tree giveaway, those who acted promptly by signing up online chose one or two trees from among 16 types – from large-growing, native, and evergreen trees. When they arrived at this “touch-less” drive-through at the Mt. Tabor Yard, PP&R staff helped them load their new trees, and also provided them with mulch, and a watering bucket.

That day, a total of 267 trees were given to 144 people. A frequently-heard comment, according to Wilson, was, “We will get the trees in the ground this afternoon!

“And, the people who came through thanked us for having this program,” Wilson added.

Selecting another tree to be presented to an awaiting Portlander is PP&R Community Tree Planting Specialist Alex Javier.

To learn all about the Yard Tree Giveaway program, see PP&R’s official webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

 

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