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Heritage Trees

Trees are witnesses to the history and the transformation of a place over time. Portland's Heritage Tree program protects roughly 300 trees, recognized for their historical significance, size, or horticultural value.

Through historical research in the local archives, students in HST411/511: Public History Lab: Heritage Trees course, under the direction of Professor Catherine McNeur, delved into the history of the city’s trees, helping to expand the historical programming and documentation of the city’s program. Working in collaboration with arborists at Portland Parks and Recreation, students developed projects to bring the history of Portland and its trees to a wide audience.

This site highlights the range of the projects students worked on.




Dave Hedberg, MA student and intern with Portland Parks & Recreation, put together a guidebook to the history of downtown's Heritage Trees.


Joshua Justice, Cat Tholen, and Ryan Wisnor recorded the histories of several of Portland's Heritage Trees bringing them to life in the studios of KPSU.


Alexandra Hawes, Annissa Rhynders, Adam Lamascus, and Mike Dicianna designed a set of trading cards aimed at teenagers that highlight the trees' histories. 




Working with app developer Matt Blair, Tabitha Hilweh and Rebekah Averette put together the historical narratives for roughly 75 of the city's 300 Heritage Trees, helping to expand the content of the popular app PDX Trees. Their work will live on an updated website before eventually becoming a part of a redesigned version of the app.


Alecia Giombolini,  Kira Lesley, and Taylor Rose did extensive research into the histories of North Portland's Heritage Trees, designing three walking tours for tourists and residents alike.


Rebecca Bowen and Tavi Gupta designed a children's activity book that brings attention to the city's downtown Heritage Trees and the role of trees in Portland's history.