Saving The Orenco Historic Elms For Future Generations A Community Goal
Anyone who has been to the historic Orenco Townsite will take away a lot of visual cues that the place is different. From old funky streets and houses to the Historic Chruch and store, the old Orenco area leaves a most definite impression. No one leaves without noticing the massive giants…the Elms. They are massive and most impressive anytime of the year but especially in the Summer and the Fall when the Canopy is in full color and full of birds like the American Peregrine Falcon and the Evening Grossbeaks.
In a recent meeting at the Hillsboro Landmarks Committee Chairman Bonnie Kooken and guest speaker Dan Bloom, both of the historic Orenco Townsite, brought forward concerns and talking points about how to begin to deal with the 122 Historic Orenco Elms. They are old and many are sick. This protected grove of Elm Trees are recognized by the State of Oregon and Nationally as one of the most significant stand of Elm Trees in the USA. They are now a historic landmark and a part of the Oregon Heritage Tree Program. A plaque was installed at 228th and Birch in 2013 – see the story here.
Elms across the USA are quickly dying out as a result of the damages caused by Dutch Elm Disease. Kooken and Bloom who are both long-time Orenco residents are worried that the now 108 year giants are not being maintained and have become a burden to the City and more so to the property owners who are supposed to be caring for the trees. Just caring for one tree could cost $6,000 in trimming and inoculations if needed. Some folks in Orenco have 4 to 6 trees on their borders.
Kooken presented a nice proposal to the Committee to discuss 5 or 6 options to start finding a way to have the City take care of these magnificent trees or at least help. We will go into those possibilities in more detail in a follow-up story but we surely do feel that the people of Hillsboro and Orenco deserve to enjoy the trees for decades to come, maybe even centuries as Elms can live 300 years plus..
Have you enjoyed the Orenco Elms? I know we have. They were planted by Archibald McGill and Malcolm McDonald along the wooden boardwalks of their company town, ORENCO, in 1907-1908. We hope you will support solutions that make sure we keep the trees healthy together as a community!
Stay Tuned for more to come on this important matter.