Arbor Day Foundation Bestows Growth Award on Salem and Aumsville

Posted on February 10, 2022

Oregon Dept. of Forestry – 02/10/22 7:30 AM

SALEM, Ore. – Salem and Aumsville are among 20 communities in Oregon participating in the Tree City USA program that have received Growth Awards from the national Arbor Day Foundation. The awards are given to Tree City USA cities and towns that showed higher levels of tree care and community engagement with their urban forestry programs and activities during 2021.

To be eligible for the award, a city must have been enrolled as a Tree City USA for at least one year. Sixty-nine Oregon towns and cities are qualified as a Tree City USA, including the return of Reedsport to the program.

Five mid-Willamette Valley towns are also marking milestones – Sweet Home 35 years as a Tree City USA, Monmouth and Lebanon 20 years, Gervais 15 years and Independence 10 years.

The Growth Award program is designed to help communities build upon their Tree City USA status and grow their urban forestry programs. Several activities qualify, such as:

  • revamping a tree ordinance
  • conducting a tree inventory or tree-worker safety training
  • holding a tree-themed community event for the public
  • improving social equity outreach
  • starting a wood recycling program

Each activity is worth from 1 to 10 points. Communities must describe their activities and add up their points. Communities must score at least 10 points in a given year to earn a Growth Award.

Salem has received the Tree City USA Growth Award 16 times in its 46 years as a Tree City USA. This is the first time Aumsville has received the award in its five years as a Tree City USA. Others receiving the award for activities in 2021 and the number of times they’ve been honored were:

La Grande – 30

Portland – 25

Medford – 20

Beaverton – 18

Eugene – 17

Corvallis – 13

Wilsonville – 12

Grants Pass – 11

Forest Grove – 8

Cottage Grove – 5

Milwaukie, Talent, West Linn – 3

Redmond – 2

Bandon, Central Point, Hillsboro, Newport – 1

Several cities are also marking milestone anniversaries in the program. Oregon’s second longest Tree City USA – Portland – is celebrating 45 years of holding that status. Tillamook and Tualatin are each marking 35 years. Eagle Point is celebrating 30 years in the program, McMinnville 25. Lebanon has reached 20 years, Sisters 15, with Newport and Oregon City arriving at the 10-year milestone.

The Oregon Department of Forestry administers the Tree City USA program in Oregon on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation. ODF Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program Manager Kristin Ramstad is gratified to see the engagement in Oregon communities around urban trees.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continued to be very disruptive last year, forcing the cancellation of many in-person events. Despite that, many Oregon cities and towns still accomplished a lot in terms of improving tree care even as they worked to recover from ice storms and a record-shattering heatwave. And cities became very creative in how they engage with the public while keeping social distance,” said Ramstad.

More information about the awards program is here.

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