Port Angeles proclaims Arbor Day

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council has proclaimed April 27 as Arbor Day.

The city will hold its celebration of trees on the same day as national Arbor Day, which falls on the last Friday in April.

The Arbor Day proclamation was approved by unanimous vote Tuesday. It was one of several requirements for the city to be reinstated into the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program.

Port Townsend and Sequim are among the 89 Washington cities on the Tree City USA list.

“This is one of those things that is going to get us to our Tree City USA requirements,” Mayor Sissi Bruch said of the Port Angeles proclamation.

“We’re grateful to have it.”

Port Angeles lost its Tree City USA status after Associate Planner Scott Johns retired in 2016, a state Department of Natural Resources urban forester told the council this month.

Johns carried the torch for the city’s urban forestry program, DNR’s Ben Thompson said in an April 3 presentation.

To be reinstated into the Tree City USA program, Port Angeles must designate a community tree board or staff forester, track its forestry activities and costs and publicly recognize and celebrate trees, Thompson said.

A group of citizens who are interested in forming a tree board will hold their first meeting April 24 at the Port Angeles library, Peninsula Urban Forestry President John Bornsworth said in an email.

City Councilwoman Cherie Kidd said she planned to attended that meeting to “help assist us in getting on the path to being a Tree City USA again.

“We’ve been a tree city in my time on the council and I want it restored,” said Kidd, a former mayor and third-term council member. “I want to be knowledgeable about that.”

The state recognizes Arbor Day on the second Wednesday in April. Cities can celebrate Arbor Day on any day of the year, Thompson said.

Bruch read the Port Angeles Arbor Day proclamation into the record Tuesday. It said that trees reduce erosion, lower heating and cooling costs, moderate temperatures, produce oxygen and provide wildlife habitat.

“Trees serve as city infrastructure, protecting and enhancing our six creek corridors, marine bluffs, open spaces and contributing to our community’s quality of life,” the proclamation stated.

“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beauty of our communities.

“Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”

The proclamation called on citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and to plant trees.

Later in the meeting, the council discussed an arborist’s recommendation to remove a 105-foot sequoia tree in Lions Park that had been planted too close to a neighboring property and posed a safety risk.

“If you’re going to go plant a tree, make sure you look up,” Bruch said.

“Makes sure it’s not under the lines, and make sure it’s far away from driveways and structures because those roots are going to get there.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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