In 2010, Lake Oswego celebrated its centennial. One element of the celebration was the Century Tree Project, which recognized trees as old as the City.
The Century Tree Project highlighted some of the City’s oldest living “residents” and celebrated their contributions to the City: visual beauty, a living connection to our past and to enduring natural landscapes, and environmental services such as storm water interception and CO2 absorption.
Residents of Lake Oswego were invited to nominate trees they believe may be one hundred years or older. More than 50 trees were aged by arborist Morgan Holen as having century tree status, either through core sampling or historic photos. Several trees designated are more than 150 years old and one is estimated to be at least 300 years old.
Twelve Century trees were wrapped in golden silk from January 22 — April 7, 2010. Every tree had a slightly different design. One wore a silk scarf, another gold-plated buttons and a pocket and kerchief, and a third a corset tied with silk ribbon. Original commemorative medallions by Ostrom Glass and Metal Works hung on the century trees. On a sunny day, the silk and the medallions reflected the light beautifully.
Silk distinguishes this art installation from other fabric installations, such as the noted artist Christo who has used petroleum based fabrics such as nylon. Silk resonates not only for its stunning aesthetic beauty, a deep sensual texture rich with light, it is also biodegradable and recyclable, amenable to the plight of the forests. Silk also conveys the high status of the trees, which are the largest and oldest living beings in the City, in their “golden years” so to speak. Some of these grand old trees are a direct link back to the time when Native Americans primarily lived in the Northwest 175 or more years ago.
About the artist: Dr. Nicole Roskos served a one-year term as the City’s Community Forestry Coordinator through the NWSA/AmeriCorps national service program in 2010-11. She is also a landscape painter.
CENTURY TREE PROJECT SPONSORS:
- Ostrom Glass & Metal Works
- PBS Engineering + Environmental
- Mill End Store
- Glazer & Associates
- The Hair Lair
- Americorps/NW Service Academy
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