Planted in civil war era, these three Giant Sequoias tower over a quiet section of Southeast Portland. They are over 150 feet tall and 24 feet around at their bases. Last month a developer, Everett Custom Homes, got a permit to cut them all down. Because of their massive size they would have to be taken apart in chunks and lowered to the ground by a crane, useless as lumber.
This week the trees were supposed to be destroyed, but a large crowd showed up with several news crews and community pressure helped persuade the developer to explore other options. A coalition has been formed and a contract is in negotiation right now. There isn’t much time.
Several individuals have pledged enough to create an “earnest fund”, a down payment which can serve to halt the work while larger funds are raised to buy the land outright in order to create a public space where everyone can enjoy these gentle giants.
This is where you come in. We need donations, large and small, to save these trees. It’s this simple: if we raise the money, the trees live. If we don’t, they get cut down, and two houses go up in their place.
(photo Kristyna Wentz-Graff/Oregonian)
Raising the $250,000 here will not save the trees alone. It will take more money from other sources and a coordinated effort on several fronts, but there is a way the preserve these trees so long as people are willing to help. This is an “all or nothing campaign”, meaning the non-profit coalition running it will not withdraw the funds unless all of the goals are met sufficiently to actually save the trees. You will not be on the hook for anything if the trees are not saved.
We must raise about hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a very short time period, so every donation helps, no matter the size!
Please use the Friends of Trees app in the sidebar, or at the footer of the Save the Portland Redwoods site.
So, please, consider pledging here. A successful campaign here not only saves these giant trees from meeting a senseless early end, it sends a message that people care about responsible building and want more power in the discussions about how our cities and towns get developed. Can you pledge $5 per tree? $10 per tree? $50? $100? Your gift will be appreciated for generations if this campaign succeeds.
Your pledge will not be processed if we are not fully funded.
We will be posting updates regularly on this site and encourage you to share this story. With your help, it really could have a happy ending.
Please come visit the trees in person if you are nearby. They are at 3658 SE Martins St., Portland, Oregon. Continued pressure on the city and the developer does help our negotiations.
Q: How much land will be purchased from the developer?
A: Two city lots. The trees themselves sit on a single lot, but Everett Custom Homes claims they cannot build their preferred housing model on the adjacent lot and thus must cut the trees down. In order to prevent this from happening, both lots must be purchased together. Although we would like to raise enough funds for both lots to remain open, it’s more likely we will only be able secure funding for the lot with the trees and thus find a responsible builder for the adjacent lot – several have already expressed interest in working with us to this end.
Q: Why wasn’t this effort made before the developer bought the land?
A: This is a fair and good question. The neighborhood understands that development is not inherently bad. Back when locals were outbid for the property, most accepted that one of the trees might need to come down in order to accomodate a new house. We relied on the city to issue permits prudently in this matter. Everett Homes exploited several loopholes in the process, including mysteriously getting the 35 day waiting period for public input waived. No one has been able to offer any explanation for why this happened.
Faced with the unexpectedly approved clearcut, the neighborhood sprang into action and we’re now doing our best to save this resource. Everett Custom Homes offered no buyout option until the last minute when the news trucks and crowds arrived on the site. Public pressure does help!
Q: What can I do if I can’t afford to help?
A: Please share this story and come see the trees in person if you can: 3658 SE Martins St., Portland, Oregon. Walk around their massive trunks and gaze up at their branches. Let city officials and Everett Custom Homes know that you are watching this issue closely and care about what happens. Without public support these trees might already be stumps. Please keep it up! Thank you.
There you will find updates on what is going on with efforts to save the trees and be able to post your own thoughts.
A: We are in the process of getting approved for non-profit status. This has all come up quickly. Once we are certified non-profit, then yes, your donation can be tax-deductable. We will keep you updated on the timing of this approval, but please keep in mind we have payment deadlines and your pledge is most helpful now.
A: We will be making T-shirts and would love to have donors recognized in the manner they see fit as this plan unfolds. But for now we can only stress that your pledge could actually save the trees and pave the way for serious dialogue about how to prevent this from happening in other parts of the city and nationwide. A successful fund drive here sends a loud message.Q: What happens if this effort fails?
A: We will not withdrawl any funds from this account if the trees are not saved. It will only be accessed if the land is indeed purchased by the coalition. If we fail to raise the money, or to simply reach an agreement with Everett Custom Homes during the contract process, your donation doesn’t get processed.And the trees get cut down. Let’s keep that from happening and preserve them for generations and generations to come.