It is hard to Imagine the Historic town of Orenco, Oregon without the Elms. These beauties, all 128 of them plus, were planted when the Town was built and this makes the whole place a time capsule. These now Giant trees have watched over the little town, some call the Shire, for the entire history of the place. Therefore they are protected and must remain.
Beyond the obvious benefits of shade in the hot summer and light in the cold winter these deciduous friends offer nesting for squirrels, Falcons, Crows, and a myriad of song birds not to mention the magical migration of the Evening Grossbeaks– they have been here for 50 years that I know of and certainly longer. They eat the elm seeds and love the canopy! This is one awesome spot to see them during late Spring.
The Elms also have another function- they have protected the town from street widening and some forms of modern development. Their roots and canopies are in the right of way and make it very hard to widen or develop. Many a time has it been suggested that Orenco needs sidewalks or wider roads. Doing so would remove the charm and encourage speeding cars. So this is something very special and important that the trees provide the residence.
You can find a Historic Cement Marker at the corner of 228th and Birch that announces the Elm’s historic recognition given by the Oregon Heritage Tree Committee.
You can help care for the trees by removing Ivy and knowing the goals and ways to help!
Here is a Memo from Bonnie Kooken of ONO regarding the Elms – April of 2015
To: All Orenco Residents
From: Bonnie Kooken (firstname.lastname@example.org) 503-648-3743
Date: April 6, 2015
Subject: Orenco’s Elm Trees
Our community recognizes the tangible benefits of healthy trees. They reduce pollutants,
provide energy-saving cooling, furnish habitat for wildlife, and enhances aesthetics and
property values. They contribute to the community’s image, pride and quality of life and
are a cohesive unit to the community.
In 2013, 127 elms located throughout our neighborhood were accepted into the Oregon
Heritage Tree Program. This program was established to increase public awareness about
the important contribution of trees to Oregon’s history and heritage. Orenco received a
commemorate plaque which Ron Bulmann mounted onto a replica of a cement block that
was one of the supports to a windmill that supplied water to people living around 229th and
Chestnut in the 1900s. One of those original blocks is now located at the corner of Elm and
Although trees located in the street right-of-way belong to the City of Hillsboro, they must
be cared for by the residents of historic Orenco. To preserve and maintain the trees in the
public right-of-way, the City of Hillsboro Planning Department is in the process of
developing the Orenco street tree ordinance. It can be read on line – City of Hillsboro,
Departments, Planning, Codes and Standards, Zoning Ordinance Volume II, Orenco Station
Community Planning, Section 140, Page 176, K. Minimum Landscaping Natural Resource
and Mature Tree Preservation Requirements. One section describes the proper pruning and
removing of all dead, diseased or damaged branches. Dead or freshly cut wood needs to be
chipped, burned, debarked, cleared from the area or buried within 24 hours. Pruning
should occur between October 15 and April 15 only.
One threat to our street trees is the elm bark beetle which is the primary vector of Dutch
elm disease (DED). They breed and live in dead elm wood and in the course of their life
cycle come in contact with the DED fungus. This fungus essentially prohibits water
movement in the tree and causes excessive wilt. The fungus reaches the root system and
becomes a systemic infection which results in the death of the elm tree(s). Currently, the
Orenco elms are elm bark beetle free.
Another threat are ivy vines that cover and eventually envelope the tree. Some of our
neighborhood elms are covered with ivy. These vines will eventually weaken and kill the
trees; therefore, to keep these trees healthy, all vines should be removed. Until a funding
program is developed, it is the residents’ responsibility to care for these elms. Ron
Bulmann has volunteered to help with cutting and removing these vines. Should you need
help, he may be contacted at: 503-848-7308.
Please help keep our trees healthy by removing any dead wood and/or vines such as ivy!