by: RAY HUGHEY - This Black Walnut tree on Liberty Street in Aurora has been inducted into the 2014 class of the Oregon Heritage Tree Program.The venerable Aurora Colony Black Walnut tree on Liberty Street was one of three trees inducted Friday into the 2014 class of the Oregon Heritage Tree Program.

Friday, the Aurora tree and the R.V. Short Fir in Wilsonville were included in a Friday program honoring the Ellmaker Grove group of trees at Veneta Zumwalt Park near Eugene.

The Aurora Colony tree will be honored later this summer with a program and commemorative plaque of its own.

The Oregon Heritage Tree Program is overseen by Oregon Travel Experience, a semi-independent state agency focused on transportation related services. The program was established to increase awareness of the important contributions tree make to Oregon's history and the significant role they play in daily life.

Heritage trees are chosen based on their importance in national, state or regional history.

The Aurora Colony Black Walnut was chosen because it was planted by an early settler of the colony and is historically significant for the area, said Annie von Doimitz, spokeswoman for Oregon Travel Experience.

Carpenter and colony member Christian Zimmerman planted the tree about 1894, she said. Today, the 130-year-old tree stands about 70 feet high and 18 feet in circumference in front of the historic Zimmerman home, currently owned by Brian Asher.

No date has been set for the Aurora tree event, but it probably will be sometime this summer, von Domitz said. A plaque will be installed at the tree explaining its significance and measurements, she said.

The Colony black walnut tree also will be listed in Oregon Travel Experience brochures and on the interactive map of Oregon heritage trees on its website at

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