Three Oregon communities in Josephine and Jackson counties mark significant milestones as Tree City USA communities this year. ODF administers the Tree City USA program in Oregon for the national Arbor Day Foundation. ODF Community Assistance Forester Brittany Oxford explains that cities and towns need to meet four criteria to become a Tree City USA:
- Maintain a tree board or department
- Have a community tree ordinance
- Spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
- Celebrate Arbor Day
Rogue River in southern Oregon has maintained its designation for 40 years, according to Oxford. “Right behind them is Grants Pass, which has now had Tree City USA status for 35 years, and Central Point for 10 years.”
Oxford said cities benefit from sustained support of their urban forestry programs. “Trees are a long-term investment. Keeping engaged with maintenance and replacement tree plantings can help a community increase its tree canopy and keep that urban forest healthy, helping make that community more climate resilient,” she said.
Oxford said Grants Pass was also honored as Oregon Tree City of the Year back in 2020.
“All three communities have really gone the extra mile, planting peace trees in recent years that were grown from seeds of trees that survived the atom bombing of Hiroshima in 1945,” she said. “These communities pulled out all the stops for those community-building plantings. Central Point actually has two peace trees.”
Other cities marking milestone years include:
- Madras – 30 years
- Coburg, Seaside and Wilsonville – 25 years
- Bend, Klamath Falls – 20 years
- Cannon Beach, Dallas, Gresham and Lincoln City – 15 years
- Hillsboro and Umatilla – 5 years
“Although it’s only been a Tree City for five years, Hillsboro has already earned two growth awards for improving and enlarging their urban forestry program, including one this year,” said Oxford.