'Tree conservation artists' aim to save three tall Sellwood firs
On the sunny Saturday of January 16, nearly a dozen artists from what they call their "Tree Emergency Response Team" met at the corner of S.E. 8th Avenue and Harney Street in Sellwood to bring attention to three 100-year-old fir trees endangered by development. The team tries to call attention to trees in danger by painting portraits of them, which on that day the team of artists proceeded to do.
Coordinator Barbara Carey told THE BEE, "The property where the trees have grown has been sold to 'Renaissance Homes', and we want to encourage and urge the builders and planners to keep the trees in their original spaces."
The Elisabeth Jones Art Center, one of Portland's largest art centers at 516 N.W. 14th Avenue, is the sponsor of the Tree Emergency Response Team – which describes its mission online at – www.elisabethjones.art/tree-emergency-response-team.html
The Northwest Portland gallery features fine art from local and international artists related to the environment, and social and contemporary issues. A portion of all art sales is distributed to causes related to the Center's mission of ecology, social justice, peace, and helping save important Portland trees from destruction.
Harvesting of trees and lumber have defined the Portland area since its inception as "Stumptown" – a logger's paradise. Indeed, around the turn of the 20th Century, the Inman-Poulson Lumber Mill near the Brooklyn neighborhood was the largest exporter of lumber and milled wood products on the whole West Coast. Now, however, residents are appreciating special trees in their neighborhoods, and have been working to save them from removal as the city grows.
Blaine Little, Project Assistant at the Tree Emergency Response Team, explained, "We organize monthly painting events to bring attention to the conservation of significant local trees. These trees have provided beauty and environmental benefits over their lifetime, and are important neighborhood features.
"In our galleries, we exhibit an ongoing rotation of as such paintings. We also provide painting-site refreshments and postcards for people to mail to the site developers, asking them to consider incorporating at-risk trees into their [construction] designs.
"We are also frequently in contact with Portland Urban Forestry, to do everything in our power to protect important trees that cannot speak for themselves. In my job, I am loving the experience of digging into the passionate community of tree-lovers around the city."
To learn more about this project, or to become a member of the Tree Emergency Response Team, check out the above website, or telephone 503/286-4959.
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