The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, Group 13 - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

June 1, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, Group 13

We leave Portland Wednesday, so I expect this will be the last PHTQ outing for the moment.  With 44 trees remaining, I pick out the next 11 for today’s ride, with the thought that possibly we’ll be back this way in the fall for long enough to pick up the remaining three batches.  

Nearly all of today’s batch is all on the west side, so I decide it’s a good excuse to start the day over at Lovejoy Bakery, picking up coffee and an almond croissant and heading over to Jamison Square to enjoy breakfast and catch up on the news.  After that I’ll knock down some trees and then meet Rachael for lunch down on the waterfront.  It sounds like such a pleasant, peaceful way to spend the day.  I feel almost guilty about it, looking at the horror show unfolding in the country right now.

Things start out well, as I stop by the first tree on the list, an enormous black walnut just off Williams.  After that, I bike across the Broadway Bridge and pull up in front of Lovejoy Bakery.

Tree 108, a black walnut (Juglans nigra): height 81’, spread 91’, girth 16’.
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The black walnut is one of my favorite trees. Its wide spreading, heavy branches portray such strength.
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Looking north, crossing the Broadway Bridge. What a spectacular day to be out! Looking at this, it’s hard to remember that much of downtown is boarded up.
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Westbound on the Broadway bridge, with breakfast on my mind.
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Things go down quickly though when I reach Lovejoy Bakery.  First, it’s disheartening to see that one of their windows is boarded up in response to vandalism last night.  Then, it’s disappointing that I’ve arrived too late in the morning and all the almond croissants have been sold already.  I grab a buttermilk biscuit  instead to go with my coffee, and move on to Jamison Square.

When I get there I pull out the iPad and reach for my phone so I can fire up the hotspot.  The phone’s not there though, I confirm after three careful searches of the pannier.  Crap!  It’s annoying that I can’t fire up the hotspot so I can read the news; but it’s a trip ender that I can’t communicate with Rachael.  We’re planning to touch base around lunchtime so we can coordinate arrival times at the restaurant.  There’s no option - I quickly down my coffee and biscuit, and bike back home.

At home, I search the apartment up and down.  The phone’s not there.  Rachael must have somehow taken them both with her through some strange accident.  I’d call her to validate it, but I haven’t got a phone.  I email her and send a text through the iPad, and then just sit and wait.

Eventually, I remember Skype.  I’ve hardly ever used it, but it’s installed on Rachael’s iPad.  I call her phone, but she doesn’t answer and the call just goes to her mailbox.  So I try my phone, thinking she might hear that one instead.  She doesn’t, but I do.  It’s ringing from the bottom of my pannier, where it’s been all along.  Brain-damaged.

Back on track finally but an hour behind schedule now, I head off to tree number two.  I’ll just go through the list until I run out of time.  Next up, this giant pin oak in the far reaches of the northwest district, in the hills beyond the Balch Street Bridge.  It’s a slow, steep climb up the last few blocks, and I’m reminded that I’m overdue for pumping up my tires again.

Tree 121 is a pin oak (Quercus palustris): 115 feet high, 75 feet wide, 12 foot girth - at the upper end of the height range for this species. This is another one in someone’s yard, behind a hedge; but it’s hard to really hide a 115’ tall tree.
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I recognize this leaf. This is another tree that was common back in Charleston where I grew up.
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Leaving the pin oak behind, I’m a bit concerned by an elderly, bent, masked woman coming my way with a long rake.  She’s trying to communicate with me through her mask, but I’m not getting it.  Maybe she doesn’t like strangers in her neighborhood, or maybe she’s asking me how long I’ve been hating Little Old Ladies (LOL).  Hopefully I’ll come up with a better answer than three years this time.  She’s armed with a rake, after all.

But no.  She’s trying to direct my attention to the colorful free range chickens pecking and scratching in the grass behind me.  She said they’ve always been let run like this, but they’re getting bolder now that there’s less traffic about.

This is the kind of thing you’d like to see in your neighborhood. Reminds me of Greece.
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Whoa! What a pugilistic stance! I’m not getting too close to this guy.
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Jen GrumbyThe Pugilist knocked him down
And said, "Get up for another round!"
She counted to ten,
That proud cocky hen
And the man just looked up with a frown.
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1 month ago

Our next tree, an American elm, surprises me.  Not because it’s a tall, shapely tree; but because Rachael and I have stood in line directly across the street from it many times, waiting for tickets at Cinema 21.  I’m sure I must have noticed and admired it before, but perhaps not.  There are so many impressive old trees in Portland, and you can’t pick up on all of them.

The American elm (Ulmus americana), exhibiting its classic vase-shaped profile. This is another favorite from my childhood.
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I can’t believe this tree is directly across from Cinema 21, our favorite movie theater in town. I hope they’ll be back, alright.
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Next, off to Couch Park, where Rachael and I have eaten takeout twice in the past week.  I’m here for a second try at identifying the Cucumber tree that supposedly lives on its southeast corner.  I tried to find it in the winter but gave up because I couldn’t find any labeled heritage trees and wasn’t even sure what a cucumber tree looked like.

Today though, I’m armed with the knowledge that the cucumber tree is a variety of magnolia.  I still can’t find a labeled tree, but this one is in the right part of the park and looks magnoliaish to me.  Good enough for me - I’ll assume this is it and somebody just ripped off its label as a souvenir.

Is this a Cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata)?
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I was thinking so, but now I’m not sure. According to the index, it should be 93 feet tall and have a girth of almost 15 feet. Something doesn’t add up, so maybe I’ll need to go back a third time. Maybe it’s mismapped, so I should circle the neighborhood and look up for a real monster.
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On the other hand, it is a very attractive tree. No cucumbers though, so there’s another contraindication.
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So that’s it for the easy stuff for today.  The next five trees are all in the Southwest Hills neighborhood.  The name should tip you off here - we’re on the front edge of Washington Park, and everything is steeply uphill.  Once again I’m reminded that I need to pump up my tires, as I puff my way up Vista and Montgomery.

It’s another buckeye! This is the Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra). You won’t be surprised to hear that it’s a native of the Midwest, but it’s very rare out here.
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The Ohio buckeye, showing the characteristic palmate leaf structure and the beginning of this year’s nut crop.
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Yet another elm - the fifth or sixth species from this family we’ve seen this week. This is the Dutch elm (Ulmus hollandis).
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Yup. Elm leaves, alright. I think we’re getting the pattern by now.
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This beautiful tree is a shellbark hickory (Cartaya laciniosa).
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Hickory has such a straight grained look. Seems like it would be useful for something. What do you think, I axe you? Let’s bat that question around a bit.
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Surprisingly, the genus name (Carya) comes from Karya, the Greek word for walnut.
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Not on today’s list, but this row of dogwoods definitely merits a stop.
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A Korean dogwood I presume, since Andrea just informed me that this is the only dogwood still in bloom this late in the season.
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I’ll rush through these last two trees, because it’s almost lunch time and I don’t want to have to climb back up here again. This is an Oregon ash, and some Oregon trash.
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Jen GrumbyAn Oregon Ash and some Oregon Trash
Stepped out to the curb for a view
A man on two wheels
Sat eating two meals
On a purple and curly-shaped pew.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOh, my gosh. A double limerick day! I’m honored to have inspired such a rare creative outburst.
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1 month ago
I’m always confused by ashes for some reason, maybe because their leaves are so nondescript. Maybe I’ll remember what the trunk looks like.
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Ash leaves. Actually, they look a lot like the shellbark hickory we were just staring at.
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Rachael calls just as I’m about to pull up to the last tree I’ll have time for.She says she’s about two miles away, by ‘the bridge’.   Which bridge?  Oh, you know.  The one we always bike past.  Whatever.  I’m two or three miles away myself, so I’d better hurry.

Last up for this round: a Weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica f. pendula). How sad.
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I see where it gets it’s name though.
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My brakes are squealing embarrassingly as I coast off the hill and heard to the waterfront.  Rachael’s waiting for me when I arrive, but she’s calmly standing int the sun, not looking impatient.  Phew!  We enjoy a delicious salmon lunch sitting on a bench looking out at the river.  Virus or not, riots or not, Portland really is n exceptional lace to call home.

Not a bad place or day for a picnic.
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Image not found :(
Mmm! Grilled salmon!
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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.

Group 12, continued (4 species): American sweetgum, Judas tree, Canyon  live oak, European white elm.

Group 13 (9 species): Black walnut, Pin oak, American elm, Cucumber tree (?), Duch elm, Ohio buckeye, Shellbark hickory, Oregon ash, Weeping beech.

Dropped (3 species): Paradox Walnut, 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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