PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A special tree at Portland State University is getting a shoutout from a state program honoring its longevity and access to the community.
In a blog post, PSU announced that its copper beech tree encircled by the university’s library would be inducted into the Oregon Heritage Tree program as Oregon’s 81st State Heritage Tree. The tree was honored last Friday for the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day.
The university’s blog post highlighted seven facts about the honorable tree, such as it first being planted in someone’s yard.
“The tree was planted on Park Avenue in front of the house of J. Frank Watson and Mary (Whalley) Watson around 1892,” Summer Allen, a member of Portland State University’s communications team, said. “J. Frank Watson himself was a transplant from Massachusetts who found success in Portland where he worked as the president of a bank, managed an ironworks and started a shipbuilding company.”
In 1971, PSU once considered trying to move the beech, the blog added. The university’s landscape superintendent at the time consulted with a tree surgeon to see if the beech and its roots could be moved two blocks.
The university’s archives note that the tree surgeon declined the “intriguing challenge” of moving the tree as a “presumptuous and foolish” idea with an “astronomical” cost.
Allen said the tree also helped shape the design of the library when it was expanded in the late 1980s, with the design concept centered around preserving and highlighting the copper beech.
“The result? The breathtaking curved glass wall that makes the library one of the prettiest buildings on campus,” Allen noted.
This also isn’t the first time the tree is being honored. In 1995, it was designated as a Portland Heritage Tree, which was the city’s 54th heritage tree.