Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Astoria Community Unites for Earth Day Tree Plantings

ASTORIA, Ore. – Two hundred new trees for 200 years. That was the inspiration in a community-wide tree planting effort in Astoria on Earth Day April 22. The new trees are a gift that will keep on growing, given to the people of Astoria by Pacific Power in recognition of its 100 years of service and to commemorate the city’s bicentennial in 2011. More than 100 people – everyone from school children to local leaders – helped plant the trees, primarily at city gateways and historical sites.
"This was a special day in Astoria," said Willis Van Dusen, Astoria mayor. "I was proud to be a part of it and to watch our community come together in this effort. These trees will continue to add to the unique character that is Astoria, and will add to our growing legacy of promoting economic development in the city through both historic preservation and sustainability. And, as mayor it gives me a great opportunity to thank Pacific Power for being such a strong partner to our city throughout Astoria’s bad times, as well as the good times like today."
The trees planted April 22 are among 200 donated to the city by Pacific Power as it celebrates its centennial. Astoria was one of the first Northwest cities to get electric lights, in 1885, and one of the four original Pacific Power communities when the company was incorporated June 16, 1910.
In recognition of that century of service, Pacific Power is providing its original communities with a lasting gift, a legacy gift. Working with city leaders and the Astoria Bicentennial Steering Committee, the community tree planting effort was identified as an appropriate gift for Astoria.
"We are so grateful for such a generous and lasting gift – 200 ornamental trees gracing our streets, parks, schools, neighborhoods and cemetery for many years to come," said Arline LaMear, chair, Bicentennial Tree Committee. "We are confident that this gift will also help us attain our goal of being named a Tree City USA in time for our 2011 Bicentennial year celebrations."
"What a marvelous way to kick-off the first official event for Astoria’s Bicentennial Celebration," said Paulette McCoy, director of Astoria’s Bicentennial Celebration. "This gift will be a lasting reminder of Pacific Power’s deep roots in Astoria’s history, and a legacy to appreciate for years to come."
The commemorative trees are all utility-friendly, which means their growth will not eventually lead to problems with any overhead power lines in the area. Varieties include flowering crabapple, cherry, gingko, maple and other ornamentals.
The April 22 event kicked off at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where volunteers gathered to hear from officials, including Mayor Van Dusen, and to get their tree planting assignments. After plantings were completed in designated sites throughout the city, teams wrapped up the morning with a celebratory lunch.
Approximately 150 of the commemorative trees are designated for public spaces. The remaining 50 were made available for city residents to plant in their yards. This fall, additional trees will be planted at the Maritime Memorial Park once the Shively Fountain is restored and settled in its new location there. Pacific Power is also a sponsor of the restoration of this historic fountain.
"Our thanks go to the mayor, bicentennial committee and community partners involved in this community-wide planting effort," said Pat Reiten, Pacific Power president. Reiten and his management team and local employees were among those planting trees. "It has been a privilege to work alongside the community in planting these trees, just as it has been an honor to serve our customers for 100 years. We will share your pride in watching these trees grow and add to the character of this community for many decades to come."