Letters to the Editor express a variety of readers' views - also offering opportunity for correction

Thanksgiving search for Reed's Ginkgo tree


On Thanksgiving Day, we tracked down a Ginkgo tree on the Reed College grounds that has a new lease on life.

Phyllis Reynolds, author of "Trees of Greater Portland" (Second Ed., 2013), led the trek on the Reed College Campus to find the remarkable tree.

The Reed Ginkgo's own story began in about 1890, when the tree was planted at a residence elsewhere in the city. That spot later became a parking lot between 6th and 7th on N.E. Holladay, near Lloyd Center. Dr. Reynolds featured this magnificent Ginkgo in her book's 1993 first edition (p. 83) with a fine photograph. That tree was then the largest Ginkgo specimen in Portland, and flourished in the Lloyd Center parking lot.

The Ginkgo rejuvenation story starts 21 years ago. In April, 1996, developers cut down Portland's largest Ginkgo tree, despite objections by many. Maryanne Caruthers, a Portland photographer, drove by, saw the three-headed stump at the excavation site, and asked the crew to let her remove it.

Ms. Caruthers then asked her employers, Bob Walsh and Bob Forster of Walsh Construction, to let her store the stump at their work yard, and to help her move it. They agreed, and the stump (short, with severed roots, no branches) was hauled to a graveled equipment site, where she left it to cure – maybe a commemorative plaque could be created from the wood, she thought.

The Ginkgo stump sat at the Walsh equipment yard, covered in plastic. She checked it weekly, and in June discovered new shoots emerging from the stump – and called the retired City gardener, Robbie Robinson, to come out and see it. He cried, and told her it should be replanted. The story reached Phyllis Reynolds, who had long been connected with Reed College, and she arranged with Townsend Angell, Reed's director of facilities, to find a suitable place on campus to plant the stump.

Walsh Construction again moved the 6,000-pound sprouting Ginkgo stump – this time to Reed College, where it was planted on Feb. 27, 1997. The story of the tree and its rejuvenation was memorialized by Oregonian reporter Kym Pokorny in a 2004 story still available in the Oregonian web archives.

When checked this Thanksgiving, November 23, the Ginkgo tree was thriving – for which, on that date, we were all grateful.

You can see the many branches emerging from the re-planted stump, about 100 feet southwest of the intersection of the Pedestrian Bridge path with the Grove Quad/Sports Courts path, down the slope on the Reed campus above Crystal Springs Creek. This feature of the Reed Canyon is unmarked so far, but perhaps a suitable memorial to rejuvenation should be arranged!

Cindy Barrett

via e-mail

Supermarket "sale" prices


I live in Westmoreland, but usually shop at Winco on 82nd. Occasionally, though, even though the prices are higher, I go to Safeway on Woodstock, mostly because I am in a hurry or simply don't want to drive to 82nd.

Last week I stopped at Safeway and purchased items which, according to the adjacent price labeling, were all on sale. I passed through the checkout lane, received a receipt for the items and proceeded to the exit. I glanced at the receipt and discovered, to my surprise, that I had been charged the full non-sale price for all the items. For example, the five frozen dinners cost me $4.97 each instead of the $2 sale price. The same error was true on the other items as well.

I returned to the checkout lane and pointed out the problem to the clerk. She seemed surprised, took my receipt and said, "I'll see about this."

She returned five minutes later, apologized and proceeded to make corrections. Instead of the $39.54 on the original receipt, the new, corrected price was $13.44, a difference of $26.10.

I could certainly give Safeway the benefit of the doubt. The fact that the software was not up-to-date could be a simple one-time error. But this is not the first time this has happened. Ted Hoff

via e-mail

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since, in our experience, all Safeway sale prices are restricted to those who have and present a Safeway Card, we asked him if he had done so, and he replied that he had. His suspicion is that the sale prices are not always entered promptly into the store's cash register system. We wrote him, "Although you could be right that Safeway is derelict about entering sale prices, the monumental difference in the charge that you encountered from what it should have been, noticed by you, would surely be noticed by multiples of other price-conscious shoppers in a very short time, and a cry would go up. It seems more likely to us that for some reason the machinery does not always respond to a Safeway card presentation and may give card-presenters like yourself the standard NON-card prices rather than the sale prices. It sounds like the clerk went back and re-charged the Safeway Card prices for you." Anyhow, if his intent was to get shoppers to pay more attention to how charges relate to posted prices, he surely has done that with this letter.


In the last issue of THE BEE, we had a story about a safety update at Woodstock Park involving the removal of an increasingly dangerous shed, mentioning that Woodstock Park is on the list of projects benefiting by the recent Parks Bond. Mark Ross, Portland Parks and Recreation spokesman, writes that our article "misstated that Parks Replacement Bond money paid for the removal of the building at Woodstock Park. It did not. The removal of the building was not a Bond project, rather a project completed and funded by our Central Services and Assets divisions. We want to make sure that the public does not associate the Bond Program with removals of park features. It is accurate that Woodstock Park is on the Parks Replacement Bond Phase 2 list. The park is in store for a play equipment replacement (too soon to know how many pieces of playground equipment, or which ones)."

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.

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