La Vida Local: Irregular Notes on West End Life
Whither Forest City?
By Rosanne Graef
Portland has long had the moniker “Forest City,” but when you look around the city today, especially on the peninsula, you have to wonder how much longer this nickname of civic pride and endearment can apply.
If you pay attention as you wander the peninsula, you’ll see way too many stressed, suffering, dying, dead and destroyed trees. The life of a city tree, a street tree in particular, is tough: compacted soil; lack of water; compromised root systems; pollution; de-icing salt; liters of dog pee; physical injuries to bark and limbs from snow clearing, cars, bicycle chains, etc.
Yet they struggle on.
It’s time for all of us to appreciate the many blessings that trees bestow upon our lives and do something to help them. We all need to take more notice and responsibility and do our individual parts to make and keep Portland’s trees green, healthy, and flourishing.
Here are some ideas. Form a tree team to water and look out for trees in your neighborhood. Get to know the trees around you. What kind are they? Are they native or introduced? Give each one a name and maybe even hang a tag to introduce others to our beloved green neighbors. Let Portland’s Forestry Services know about trees in trouble at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808-5400.
The Tree of Life is a symbol shared around the world. We need to cherish and respect trees more if Portland is still to merit the title “Forest City.”
Rosanne Graef is a West End resident. Reach her at email@example.com.