The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, Group 16 - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

August 7, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, Group 16

I get an uncharacteristically early start this morning, leaving the apartment before seven on my way downtown to Caffe Umbria, as far as I know one of the few coffee shops in town offering indoor seating at present.  It’s cool today - much cooler than it’s been for the past few days - and very pleasant as I bike west down Lincoln Street and across the Hawthorne Bridge.  Rachael and I are really pleased with where we’re staying this time, in a comfortable basement apartment about three miles east of the Willamette.  A lot of what makes it so attractive to us is this ride along Lincoln Avenue, one of Portland’s finer bike boulevards.

I don’t make it to Caffe Umbria though.  After biking across the bridge I head north along Naito Parkway, admiring the flourishing gallery of wall art that is new since we left town.  I cross the street to photograph a particularly appealing mural, and only then notice that I’m right next to Café Ponté, one of my favorite little coffee shops in town.  It’s a place I first discovered last year when we were staying at a riverfront condo, and it was in easy walking distance.

I see it’s open, and appears to offer indoor seating.  I crack the door and ask Kiara (the same server that’s been here since I first started showing up) if I can come in.  Yes, and I can bring Rodriguez with me, since there’s plenty of room with so many tables removed now.  Perfect.  I wouldn’t stay otherwise, because I wouldn’t trust leaving the bike outside in this neighborhood.

Evidence of the city’s recent disruption is everywhere you look. This is the Say Their Names memorial, honoring 216 Black lives taken by racial violence.
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There has also been a flowering of wall art and graffiti downtown since we were here last. Once I get these silly trees off my task list I’ll need to make an art run. This one is on Naito Parkway, next door to one of my favorite local coffee shops.
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Café Ponté Is open for business again, with masked staff and clients, face shields, and half the tables removed.
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One of the few benefits from the situation is that there’s room for me to bring Rodriguez inside with me. I’ve never been here with my bike because I wouldn’t feel safe leaving him locked outdoors in this neighborhood.
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Interesting shadow effect, Café Ponté.
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A couple of hours later I finally finish the news, get caught up on the blog, and head off to find some big trees.  I’ve got a short list today - just seven trees, all in the southeast - so that I can save a few for a final outing next week.

The first several are in the Sellwood District.  For the first time since we returned to Portland, I cross the river over Tilikum Crossing and enjoy riding south along the Springwater Corridor.  Traffic is light this morning, and when passing the occasional biker I flip my bandana up across my face - a movement that’s becoming natural and almost automatic now.

Keeping watch over Ross Island, along the Springwater trail.
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Oaks Amusement Park adds a bit of radiance to the day.
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Finally, we’re getting to some trees. This is a Black Tupelo, in Sellwood Park. It’s another giant that I’ve biked beneath many times.
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Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) is a native of SE United States and south into Mexico. It can grow to 125 feet high, and this one is nearing 100.
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Tupelo is another tree I should come back to in the autumn some year, when its leaves turn a spectacular yellow-apricot to scarlet.
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In the Sellwood neighborhood stands another pair of giants: two Basswoods, standing like huge gate posts to the house.
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Basswood (Tilia americana), another native of SE United States, Is our nearest relative to the linden tree.
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So here’s a good omen: a Croatian flag, in the Sellwood district.
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From Sellwood I turn east, back on the Springwater Corridor again.  Coming to the edge of the Eastmoreland District, I leave the corridor and climb up a short, ridiculously steep connector to Crystal Springs.  I’m happy to be able to get into a gear low enough so I can make it up without dismounting - both of our bikes are really getting into poor shape and badly need a trip to the bike doctor, but that’s a servicing that will need to wait for this winter.  We’re both staying to generally flat, easy rides until we lock these guys up in our bike locker for the next 3-5 months and leave for  Croatia. 

The rest of the ride goes generally without incident, but there are a few things worth noting.  When staring up at my giant Norway Maple, I see a woman and her two young children walking my way on the sidewalk.  She looks uncertain about me and steers the kids out into the street - who is this masked man in our neighborhood, looking up at the trees?  As they pass I smile and explain myself, and we chat a bit.  They love this tree too, especially the young boy - he tells me he likes to climb on its roots.

Later, I’m on the edge of Eastmoreland Golf Course, peering across the fence and wondering if I can see its Dove Tree from the road.  Nope.  There is a maintenance road and an open gate though, so I bike down it going in the direction the tree is marked on the map.  A hundred yards later a guy wheels up in a maintenance cart and instructs me to turn back.  I do of course, but I tell him why I’m there.  He knows about this tree, but says it’s on them island’, which is currently closed to the public.  So not now, but maybe someday?

This Norway Maple stands tall in Eastmoreland, an elite neighborhood just south of Reed College full of fine homes and magnificent trees.
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Looks like an enormous tuning fork. It must have a very low pitch when it resonates.
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The seed wings of the Norway Maple are large, maybe 2-3” wide. I should have put something in here for scale. A native of Europe (big surprise), the Norway Maple is an aggressive spreader: it’s on Portland’s nuisance plant list and is no longer permitted for planting on city property.
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The Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentuckea) is one of two heritage trees on the grounds of the Eastmoreland Golf Course. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to view it, but fortunately it stands right by the street - the largest in a row of five of these trees.
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Such a knobby trunk! I wonder if this is a characteristic of this species. I should have compared it to the other four trees in this row.
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The Yellowwood is probably a tree best seen in the spring, when it blossoms in long, white wisteria-like tendrils.
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In the Woodstock neighborhood: an American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana).
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The bark of a mature American Hornbeam is blue-grey, with sinews. Another common name for the species is muscle tree.
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The autumn color for this species is yellow to pink-purple.
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Our final tree for the day, a Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava), is just around the corner from the hornbeam we just saw, barely a hundred yards away.
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The bark of the Yellow Buckeye is varied-colored, in plates and scales.
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Definitely looks like some kind of nut.
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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, 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.

Group 14 (7 species): Japanese maple, Lavelle Hawthorn, Mountain silverbell, Persian ironwood, Cryptomeria, Bald cypress, Lacebark Pine.

Group 15 (5 species): Camperdown Elm, Bigleaf Linden, Tartan Elm, American Hop-Hornbeam, American Ash.

Group 16 (6 species): Black Tupelo, Basswood, Yellowwood, Norway Maple, American Hornbeam, Yellow buckeye.

Dropped (2 species): Paradox Walnut, which I couldn’t find and may no longer exist; and the Dove Tree, buried in an inaccessible location in the Eastmoreland Golf Course.

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Jen GrumbyBeautiful trees in lovely neighborhoods! And coffee!

Not a bad way to start the day.

On a somewhat unrelated note, have you seen any of the orange Biketown bikes or the shared scooters out and about? I've been wondering if those services are Covid survivors.
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1 month ago
Rachael AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThe orange bikes are in service and being used extensively but I’ve only seen a few scooters and I’m not sure they are the shared scooters.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI’m glad you asked, because it prompted me to check the website to see how it deals with Covid. It doesn’t mention it at all, so I guess you just takes your chances. Some news though - the city has signed a new contract with Lyft to run the program through 2025. They’ll be greatly enlarging the fleet and expanding the service area, and converting it to all ebikes.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyThanks for the update. Great to hear that the orange bikes are still in use. They had a bunch on the Nike campus before I left and I used them a few times to get to meetings on main campus or to just ride around.

I wonder what will happen to that part of the fleet when Lyft takes over. Probably not much use on Nike campus with all the empty offices.

Ebikes will be a great addition to the program. Hopefully they add instructions to be sure to bring hand sanitizer.

Interesting that the scooters aren't out as much.
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1 month ago