Known by neighbors as the "Gateway to Eastmoreland", the "Linden Allée" down the middle of S. E. Reed College Place is beloved by residents, visitors, and Reed College students.
This historic grove of Linden trees is planted on a wide and long mid-street strip owned by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). However, the Bureau abandoned care of these trees decades ago; and Portland Parks & Recreation's Urban Forestry division has shown no interest in maintaining this stand of trees, despite the city's decision to replace its support of the productive nonprofit "Friends of Trees" with its own tree-oriented city services.
That's what Robert McCullough, the Chair of the Reed College Place Committee, reminded THE BEE in mid August.
"I met with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler not long ago; I've advised our mayors for about twenty years on issues of finance and energy," McCullough began. "When our discussion turned to 'global warming' and trees, I said, 'I maintain 257 of your trees'."
"Why do you do that?" Mayor Wheeler asked of him.
"Because you don't!" McCullough responded — explaining the ongoing plight of the historic Linden Allée, seemingly abandoned by the City of Portland.
"The Mayor instructed Bobby Lee — his Chief of Staff, who was also at the meeting — to send off a note to Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Jo Ann Hardesty about the issue. They are, respectively, the Commissioners of Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
He received an encouraging response from staff members at first: "Actually, it was the best response I've received working with the City of Portland.
"But the next day I got a 'dismissive' letter from PF&R's Urban Forestry department," McCullough recalled.
"After a long silence, there was some good news: PBOT staff — sort of the villain of the piece, because they own the land and trees, but have no plans for taking care of them — said they were coming to tour Reed College Place on August 9.
"However, "things came up," McCullough said, and that meeting was postponed until August 19 — after the deadline for the current issue of THE BEE, so we can't tell you here whether the meeting happened, or what might have come of it if it did.
"Here's the thing: These trees should be therapeutically pruned once every decade," McCullough told THE BEE. "We've done a very detailed audit with a professional arborist, and we know we currently have sixty trees that need to be cared for."
While McCullough says he hopes that the City of Portland will step up and take care of their trees, he conceded, with an air of resignation, "Hope is not a strategy.
"Otherwise, we'll have to come up with about $100,000, by knocking on doors and asking neighbors to contribute to the project."
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