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April 22 2021
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Donald becomes Oregon's newest Tree City USA
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Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
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  Environment  
 
DONALD, Oregon - The northern Willamette Valley town of Donald (population a little over 1,100) has been designated by the national Arbor Day Foundation as Oregon's newest Tree City USA. Donald joins 68 other Oregon cities and towns that have earned the designation.

Donald Mayor Rick Olmsted said, "'The City is very honored to be named Oregon's newest Tree City USA. The importance of trees contributing to a healthy environment inside a city cannot be understated."

Kristin Ramstad, manager of ODF's Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program, said

Donald met the four minimum requirements all Tree Cities USA must satisfy to earn the title, including:

  • a tree board
  • a tree ordinance
  • a community forestry program with a budget of at least $2 per resident
  • a proclamation and observance of Arbor Day

"Donald has gone well beyond these minimums to really engage residents in learning more about their local trees and celebrating their value to the community," notes Ramstad.

Like many Oregon communities, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Donald officials in 2020 to postpone many fun tree-related events. Those are now being rescheduled for later this summer and fall, including:

  • a tree planting during a planned dedication ceremony for Donald's new Hometown Park
  • a tree scavenger hunt
  • a tree art contest organized by the Donald Tree Board
  • a series of talks on tree-related topics, to be hosted by the Tree Board

Also on the City's 2021 work plan is updating the town's approved street tree list. Such lists help ensure that the right trees are planted in the right place, such as requiring shorter-maturing trees under powerlines. This will reduce future pruning costs to maintain wires free from branches, keeping costs down for ratepayers.

Donald Tree Board's Vice Chair Neil Strathdee said, "Being designated as a Tree City USA is another example of the City's commitment to the environment. Caring for our tree resources as the City grows is vital, both for physical and mental health."

Like many other cities in Oregon, the February ice storm caused a great deal of damage to many trees in Donald. Mayor Olmsted said of the weather event, "This increases our need to educate the public on maintaining healthy trees and knowing which trees are best suited for new or replacement plantings.'

To learn how your community can become a Tree City USA, go to https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/standards.cfm

To see the full list of Tree Cities USA in Oregon, visit https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/treecities.cfm?chosenstate=Oregon