The Portland Heritage Tree Quest: Group 12 - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

May 29, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest: Group 12

PHTQ, Group 12

With only 44 trees to go, we’re starting to see the light at the end of this long tunnel of green.  I’m thinking four more outings, and pick out 11 trees for today, all quite close to where we’re living now.  I could knock them off with about a ten mile loop, but with this warm, sunny day available and with rain forecast for tomorrow, I decide to add some miles to make the most of the day.  I start by biking down to the old neighborhood and treating myself to my first almond croissant from Lovejoy Bakery in two months, ordering out and washing it down with coffee in Jamison Park.

Enjoying breakfast and taking a shadow semi-selfie in Jamison Park, staring across at our old home again.
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First up on today’s list is a tall English elm on Mississippi Avenue.  It’s a stately tree, of course (stately elm is practically a redundancy), but it doesn’t present itself as it might.  I lean Rodriguez against the wall of Nectar, a cannabis outlet, tell the man at the door that I’m not here to pick up a takeout order today, and walk across the street for a better look at the tree opposite.  I’m not there long, because Roddy and I are both just a bit anxious about the homeless man raving on the corner next to a small tent camp.

This English elm doesn’t stand in the most attractive location. I imagine it seemed much different here when it took root.
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The bark of the English elm has a distinctive, shingled appearance.
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Rodriguez likes his adventure, but he’s thinking I should hurry it up just a bit on this one. Coming, Roddy!
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Next, we head west to Overlook near Willamette Bluff, to check out some trees I’ve biked past or near many times.  First is this trio of London planetrees holding down the corners of a grassy triangle, all of them listed heritage trees.  I’m happy to finally get to these trees, as well as the American sycamore we’ll see later today.  Planetrees and sycamores blur together in my mind, and maybe seeing them together will help cement the differences.  The main thing I note about these is how knobby they all are.

The three heritage London planetrees of Overlook Boulevard.
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Knobby, wartish. I’ll try to hold this thought until we see our American sycamore.
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Looking up the skirt of tree 338. Or is it 339, or 340?
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The leaves of sycamores and planetrees are quite similar.
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Just around the corner is this unmarked, unidentified fruit tree that I of course have to stop for because of the dense white blossom apron splayed beneath it.

Arresting. Must stop.
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Identification, please?
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Andrea BrownLooks like a styrax japonica. They're dropping their blossoms right now.
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1 month ago

OK.  Back on task.  Next up is an immense scarlet oak, a tree Rachael and I have biked beneath numerous times.  It’s right at the junction of Overlook, Concord and Failing, an intersection marked with a colorful pavement mural pointing the route for the bike boulevard that turns here.  If I looked back through older entries, I imagine I’d find a photo of this same tree somewhere.

Tree 238 is this mammoth scarlet oak (Quercia coccinea).
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106 feet tall, 107 foot spread, 13.5 foot circumference. Magnificent.
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I’d love to come back in the autumn and see this tree when it turns. I wonder what color its leaves will be?
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Well, two blocks down the road we come to another diversion - a towering, flowering tree soaring above the street.  Really a spectacular sight.  I’ve never seen a tree quite like it.  What in the world is this?

Just a maple, no big deal after all. A Norway maple I think, but actually I didn’t look at the tree that closely.
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The blossoms aren’t from the tree, but from a climbing rose. Incredible - I don’t think I’ve ever seen one so tall as this. It practically engulfs the tree.
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Andrea BrownThis is a Cécile Brunner. There are some magnificent ones around western Oregon, they grow like gangbusters.
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1 month ago
Our fourth tree is from the estate of this impressive mansion, listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It’s a shingle-style built in 1891, and the former home of Oregon Governor and U.S. Senator. Unfortunately, this view through the front gate is the only one we can see of it, because the estate is encased in a solid wall of tall junipers.
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Also unfortunately, our Chestnut oak is behind the same juniper wall. This is the best look we’ll get of it.
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The best look at. Chestnut oak that we’ll get.
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We get a much better look at the row of giant bigleaf maples on the parking strip outside the juniper wall.
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I’m intrigued by the next tree on the list, a Caucasian wingnut.  I’m delighted when I arrive, and find perhaps two dozen of them lining both sides of Knott Street.  Nine of them, all lining the perimeter of Augustana Lutheran Church, are all on the heritage tree inventory.  Other than this cluster, apparently all planted at the same time, they’re a rare tree in Portland.

The Caucasian wingnuts of Knott Street.
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Ron SuchanekI heard there's a yuge Caucasian wingnut on Pennsylvania Avenue...
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1 month ago
The Caucasian wingnut is native to the Caucasus (Armenia, Iran, Turkey, et cetera). A member of the walnut family, it gets its name from these long tendrils, which evolve as they mature into small, winged nutlets.
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Another elm: this one a smooth leafed elm (Ulmus minor), the common elm of Europe.
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The bark of the smooth leaf elm is quite different from the shingled bark of the English elm we saw earlier today.
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Something is attacking our smooth leaf elm. I wondered if this was elm blight, so I looked at some photos - I’ve never really noticed what elm blight looks like. It’s not though. The tree is under attack by a different elm tormentor, the elm leaf miner sawfly. Those poor elms must be unusually succulent.
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Next up is an American sweetgum, but I can’t find it.  I bike back and forth down the street I’ve mapped it to three or four times, without success.  When I get home later I’ll discover that I wrote its address down wrong.

With four trees to go, we finally come to the American sycamore I’ve been waiting to see.  Other than its leaves, it looks nothing like the London planetree.  I should be able to remember this.

Unfortunately, after taking a few photos I discover a second error I’ve made on this route - I forgot to recharge the camera.  It dies mid-tree, so that’s the end for today’s quest.  With still 37 trees to go, it looks like we’ll be at this for another four outings at least.

Plata is occidentalis, the American sycamore. This is another old friend, one of the trees my father taught me growing up in West Virginia.
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Or at all warty or knobby. How could anyone mistake this for a planetree?
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Similar to planetree leaves, but different. The bark is a better axe to rely on though.
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Looking around, and ahead

We have some unexpected good news in today’s mail, which Elizabeth opened up and emailed a copy of to me.  My passport is back!   and, it looks like my new social security card should arrive sometime this month.  Much sooner than I expected, which is good news for those of you that made optimistic predictions on when we’ll get our $,$$$ back from Capitol One.

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We celebrate in the same way we plan on celebrating most evenings while here in Portland, by grabbing a takeout meal from one of our favorite struggling restaurants and taking it to a nearby park.  Today we patronize our long time friend Justa Pasta, and enjoy our wonderful meal in Couch Park (which, confusingly, is a few blocks north of nearby Couch Street.

Striking her new favorite pose, Rachael has multiple reasons to celebrate: a great Italian meal, the return of my passport, and a favorite outfit we haven’t seen for awhile.
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Yum! For a nice change, I didn’t catch Rachael with a goofy expression and her mouth full.
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While we’re blissfully eating and looking away from all the trauma that is overwhelming society today, a large demonstration was forming in Peninsula Park, by the one garden we showed you in the last post.  Like in so many cities today, people are gathering to protest the horrendous killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week.  And like many other demonstrations, this one begins peacefully but turns violent.  After beginning with a march through north Portland it ended in mayhem in downtown, with riots, smashed windows, burning cars, teargas, and a declared state of emergency.  Our country is falling apart before our eyes, and it’s unbearable to watch.

Image not found :(
When I first saw this photo this morning, I thought Rumblin’ Rocky must have sneaked out in the night.
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All this trauma has us rethinking our plans for the rest of the year, and weighing risks.  There could be worse things than hopping on a plane and  leaving the country for awhile, doing our best to avoid coronavirus exposure.  Who knows what hell this country will go through this fall, with the lead up and aftermath of the coming election?  Regardless of who wins or claims to have won, we could have a horrifying time ahead of us.

We’re starting to look at the map for countries that have so far been lightly touched by the virus, wondering if any would let us in this fall.  We don’t hold out much hope for New Zealand or Australia this year, but Greece looks very promising at the moment.  They desperately need tourists back and are starting to open up, so they’re a possibility to hope for.  We’ve been talking about when to go back to Greece again, and would have no trouble filling another three months there.  Maybe they’ll let us in by this fall?  I’m ready - I’ve got my passport back!

Keeping score

Group 1 (7 species):  grand fir, willow oak, hedge maple, Douglas fir, incense cedar, tulip tree, sugar maple.

Group 2 (9 species): silver maple, Japanese cedar, oriental plane tree, European beech, American chestnut, copper beech, mockernut hickory, basswood, butternut.

Group 3 (9 species): ginkgo, crape maple, northern red oak, deodar cedar, bigleaf linden, giant sequoia, coast redwood, Japanese pagoda tree, Mount Fuji flowering cherry.

Group 4 (8 species): Zelkova, Carolina poplar, Japanese red pine, Katsura, bur oak, river birch, catalpa, wych elm.

Group 5 (8 species): Monkey puzzle tree, western white pine, boulevard cypress, madrone, single needle pinyon, pecan, Coulter pine, Monterey pine.

Group 5-1/4 (2 species): Port Orford cedar, English yew

Group 6 (6 species): White fir, Atlas cedar, Cedar of Lebanon, Endlicher pine, Dawn redwood, Umbrella pine.

Group 7 (6 species): China Fir, Blue Atlas Cedar, Eastern White Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Sitka Spruce, Yellow Bellflower Apple.

Group 8 (5 species): Himalayan Pine, Gray Pine, Apache Pine, Italian Stone Pine, Loblolly Pine

Group 9 (6 species): Sycamore Maple, Japanese Larch, Spanish Chestnut, Weeping Willow, Oregon White Oak, Oregon Myrtle.

Group 9.5 (4 species): Southern Magnolia, Empress Tree, Saucer Magnolia, Yoshino Cherry.

Group 10 (4 species): Apricot, Weeping Cherry, Rhododendron, Gravenstein Apple.

Group 11 (10 species): Common Horse Chestnut, English Walnut, European Hornbeam, American Persimmon, Silver Linden, Sasafrass, Southern Catalpa, Bigleaf Maple, Pacific Dogwood, a California Buckeye.

Group 12 (7 species): English Elm, London Plane Tree, Scarlet Oak, Chestnut Oak, Caucasian Wingnut, Smooth-leaf Elm, American Sycamore.

Dropped (3 species): Paradox Maple, which I couldn’t find and may no longer exist; and the Lacebark Pine and Bald Cypress, both of which were unapproachable and hidden in the middle of a large private woodland.

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Tricia GrahamI felt very sad reading the last part of this post. Not only do you still have the uncertainty of this ghastly virus but also the reality of a particularly unpleasant political situation goodness knows what things will be like in November. It all sounds so different from the Portland we knew and loved when we lived in Beaverton in the early seventies.
We feel extremely fortunate having had no new cases for 10 days and only 1 active case in the country. Things are gradually opening up and we can move around the country again This is a holiday weekend and despite the awful weather on this first day of winter Kiwis are on the move. What is suprising is how everyone accepted what was a very severe lockdown when our numbers showed we were on track to be the next Italy but what is even more suprising how people of all political persuasions have admired the action of Jacinda. Yesterday I was talking to a very right wing old friend and he said 'Jacinda has done an amazing job, she is very intelligent and empathetic, the only problem is I think she will probably win the election in September'. Of course the economic pain, particularly in our very important tourist sector, is great but the hope is with our borders so firmly closed at the moment Kiwis will travel, the hope at the moment is that we will soon open up to Australia and the Pacific Islands and plans are underway for this. We planned to leave for Europe in about 3 weeks time! maybe next year.
Our very best wishes - a trip to Greece sounds pretty good to me
Tricia
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Tricia GrahamIt is beyond sad. It reminds me of how horrendous things were here in 1968. It still feels like Portland is the best spot in our country, but these are such trying times even here. We just have to hope that enough of the country comes to its senses this fall and ushers in new leadership.

You have no idea how envious we are of you and your enlightened leadership. We were charmed by Jacinda’s composure when she was on air in the midst of an earthquake a few days ago, and when she hosted Stephen Colbert. What a remarkable personality! I don’t suppose you’d care to adopt us about now, would you?
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1 month ago