Newest location near Yew Street has high visibility but low accessibility for lighting ceremony

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - A crowd gathers Friday, Nov. 24, for the lighting of Forest Groves new, temporary holiday tree at Pacific Avenue and Yew Street.About 40 people gathered near the east entrance to Forest Grove for the city's holiday tree lighting ceremony last Friday, Nov. 24.

It's another new location for the event. Last year, city leaders decided to bypass the longtime holiday tree, a huge, gangly Douglas fir on Pacific Avenue that was difficult to decorate — and was chopped down last March due to disease.

Instead, the 2016 ceremony lit up three small trees near the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center, where the ceremony continues with treats and music after the tree is illuminated.

A new holiday tree was chosen this year in order to make it more visible to people on Pacific Avenue, the city's main street. But this location is also temporary.

City leaders hope to ultimately site the holiday tree at Thatcher Park or some other location and will plant trees in several sites to ready them for eventual holiday duty.

Meanwhile, the current tree sits across Yew Street from the 7-Eleven convenience store in between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Pacific Avenue. Friday night revelers parked at the site of the old Prime Time Sports Bar & Restaurant building that burned down and Forest Grove Police officers were on hand to stop traffic so they could cross the street to the tree-lighting site.

"We were all kind of crowded in a gravel area between Yew and the bark dust barrier," said Jessica Parker, office manager for the Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce.

Afterward, everyone drove to the senior/community center for treats, Santa and a performance by the Neil Armstrong Middle School choir singing Christmas music.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Forest Grove's tree sits at the eastern entrance to the city, across from Doherty Ford.

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