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News Release
Milwaukie has been honored for its commitment to urban forestry by being named Oregon Tree City of the Year for 2021.
Milwaukie has been honored for its commitment to urban forestry by being named Oregon Tree City of the Year for 2021.
Milwaukie is named Oregon Tree City of the Year for 2021 - 04/07/21

MILWAUKIE, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in partnership with Oregon Community Trees (OCT) has named Milwaukie as Oregon Tree City of the Year for 2021. Each year, ODF and OCT select one of Oregon’s nationally recognized Tree City USA communities statewide to award for that city’s commitment to its urban forest. Last year’s Oregon Tree City of the Year was Grants Pass.

OCT President Samantha Wolf said the award is intended to highlight communities delivering best urban forestry practices to their residents. “Residents of Milwaukie have an improved quality of life because they live in a healthy urban forest. This award recognizes the efforts the City of Milwaukie makes to ensure its urban forest continues providing a wide range of social, health and ecological benefits far into the future.”

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba said of his city receiving the honor, "It's deeply gratifying that all the hard work that Peter Passarelli, our public works director, Julian Lawrence, our urban forester, and our tree board have done to preserve our existing trees and meet our goal of nearly doubling our tree canopy, has been recognized with this important award.”

According to ODF’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program Manager Kristin Ramstad, “Milwaukie is a fine example of what a Tree City USA can be. They have only been a Tree City USA for five years and already they’ve earned two Tree City USA Growth Awards for building their community forestry program. For example, the Milwaukie Public Works Department created a dedicated natural resource team, including an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist, to provide technical expertise and guidance. The team closely collaborates with the Milwaukie Tree Board, a community member-staffed advisory committee created in 2017 to assist the city council on tree actions.”

Ramstad said Milwaukie’s urban forest team has worked nonstop in recent years to reach Milwaukie’s canopy goal. “The city has developed new urban forest webpages to provide resources and educational materials on trees to the community, and to connect interested volunteers with local organizations improving habitat and ecosystems in Milwaukie.”

She said the city’s urban forest team hosts a popular Arbor Day celebration each year, featuring tree giveaways, ceremonial tree plantings, and community plantings with local organizations, such as Friends of Trees.

“Also popular on Arbor Day are tours of the city’s new greenhouses, where Milwaukie’s urban forester grows experimental tree species whose seeds he collected on a trip to California in search of climate-change adapted trees,” Ramstad said.

Especially important has been the amount of work the city has done to put tree preservation and planting at the forefront of planning documents.  All of these efforts contributed to Milwaukie being named Oregon Tree City of the Year.

“Milwaukie has prioritized trees in our city vision, our Climate Action Plan and our recently passed Comprehensive Plan,” said Mayor Gamba. “We recognize that trees increase property values, reduce heat island effect, absorb storm water, store carbon and improve human health and well-being.  We are investing, at unprecedented levels, in our tree canopy for future generations of the residents of Milwaukie.

“I'd like to thank Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry for this recognition," Mayor Gamba said.

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