Growth Award winner, only city in the Pacific Northwest

By on Thursday, February 4th, 2021 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

LA GRANDE – The City of La Grande Is beyond excited for winning the Growth Award for 29 years, from the Tree City USA program.  This ties the city for second place in the nation for going above and beyond basic requirements of the Tree City USA program.  La Grande is the only city in the Pacific Northwest earning the award for so many years in a row.  The Growth Award recognizes major milestones and annual activities that combine to build a sustainable community forestry program over the long term. La Grande has been a Tree City USA for over 30 years.

The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities across American. The many benefits of being a Tree City include creating a framework for action, education, a positive public image, and citizen pride.

The Tree City USA certification requires four standards:

A Tree Board; in La Grande we have the Community Landscape and Forestry Commission (CLFC). This group, appointed by the City Council, advocates for the community forest.

A Tree Care Ordinance that provides guidance for planting, maintaining and removing trees. In 2019 the CLFC and urban forestry staff updated La Grande’s tree protection Ordinance: The Community Forestry Ordinance. The companion Community Forestry Manual was developed at the same time. 

A community forestry program that is supported by an annual budget of at least $2 per capita. In 2020 La Grande community forestry expenditures were $18.00 per capita, which includes the value of volunteer hours.

An annual Arbor Day event; the City of La Grande sponsors an annual community tree planting day, and a poster contest for 4th and 5th graders, to celebrate National Arbor Day. Until the COVID pandemic hit we also hosted a field day for students to learn about all things tree related.

La Grande has been a Tree City USA since 1990.

The Tree City USA Growth Award is presented by the Arbor Day Foundation to participating Tree City USA communities that demonstrate higher levels of tree care and community engagement during the calendar year. The Growth Award recognizes major milestones and annual activities in five categories that combine to build sustainable community forestry programs over the long term. La Grande has received consecutive Growth Awards since 1992, more than any other city in Oregon.