Garden Club Encourages Street Trees

A tree next to Rite Aid’s sidewalk raises the walkway with its roots, causing a trip hazard. Photo taken by City of Lebanon staff.

A Lebanon Garden Club member asked the Parks, Trees and Trails Committee how the club could plant more street trees during the PTT meeting April 17.

PTT Committee Member Linda Ziedrich reported the Lebanon Garden Club has grown to more than 60 members and club member dues has allowed them to be able to save up some money to be able to begin investing it into some community projects.

Club member Karen Burger addressed the committee on the matter to see how the club might be able to partner with the city to assist with a street tree program.

“If we can get more involved in the community and get more involved with the city, we can look at funding more projects,” she said. “There are people willing to step up; we just need to have a focus and a goal.”

The club formed a community service project committee which brings forth ideas for potential projects in the city. One of the projects they are “excited about,” Burger said, is street trees. They created a small grant for schools for Arbor Day and have already received one response from a class of fifth graders who will plant maples at their school.

Burger shared that the club has also helped with installing a raised bed at a school, planted plants at the Boys & Girls Club, provided funds for the high school’s horticulture program, and funded a tree for a cemetery.

Ziedrich chimed in, sharing that the club might be able to invest $1,000 for about 10 trees for a street tree project. She recommended Williams Street as a good starting point.

Burger and the committee conversed back and forth about how the club and city might work together to encourage homeowners to plant trees along the street.

“I would just love to see a creative collaboration with you guys,” Burger said.

In other business:

  • Public Works Operations Manager Jason Rush provided updates about grants submitted by the city, bollards installed at the skate park, public park maintenance activity, and progress on Rite Aid’s requirement to remove trees and repair a sidewalk.
  • Interim City Manager Ron Whitlatch reported a meeting city staff had with Oregon Dept. of Transportation regarding an “urban design verification” study they did to determine if Lebanon has enough safe crossing locations, available bike lanes and general pedestrian connectivity with highways 20 and 34. He mentioned ODOT would like bike lanes painted on the highways, but both government entities said they couldn’t afford that project.
  • Ziedrich shared an email she received from Oregon Dept. of Forestry which stated they have hired more staff to assist cities with planning and managing urban trees. ODF also has software for tree inventory that they can offer to cities for free.
  • The committee heard an update from Build Lebanon Trails activities.
  • The committee heard from resident Jim McKinnon, who expressed interest in a garden tour being implemented in the city.