May 2022 * No 10

The Repair Fair is Back

Come to Coolidge-McClaine Park in Silverton to get your small appliances, electronics, textiles/clothing, and bikes fixed free of charge. These Marion County events aim to connect people who can repair stuff with people who need their stuff repaired, while teaching folks practical repair skills that they can use in the future. Make connections, save money, and reduce waste. (Link to Flier)

Please fill out our RSVP FORM for the repair fair event; however, walk-ins are welcome.

RECYCLING at the May 7th outdoor farmers's market

Refer to our Mid-Winter newsletter for all the new items we are now able to accept for recycling.

In addition, we are accepting the following items:

  • Styrofoam

  • No. 6 plastics

  • Egg cartons

  • Batteries

Please consider making a donation to help support our once-a month recycling program.

Sustainable Silverton is planning a community event, A Bird-Walk May 21st

The Bird-Walk is a collaborative effort with the Oregon Garden.

Cost: One time admission to the Oregon Garden at arrival.


Bring binoculars to the Bird-Walk.

Bring pencil and paper to the writing event.

10:00-11:45 am

The Bird-Walk will begin with two groups, one at 10:15 am and another shortly after, starting at the Visitor Center at the Oregon Garden. Bird Enthusiasts will guide participants through the walks, describing the inter-migratory birds in the area in May, and native birds and patterns.

Please meet behind the Visitor Center

11:45-1:00 pm

Lunch will be available for purchase at the Garden restaurant, Little Leaf Cafe or in town at the Water Street location of the Little Leaf Cafe on Silver Creek or at the Bistro, on the corner of Water Street and Main.

1:15 - 3:15 pm

An Open Air Poetry Writing Session will be provided by the Silverton Poetry Association for those interested in writing poetry following the Bird-Walk. Steve Slemenda, local poet, will facilitate two writing prompts. Be sure to bring paper and a writing instrument.

3:15 pm

A Poetry reading will conclude the event for those who want to participate in reading and others who would like to stay and listen. Location TBA. New-to-established poets are welcome.

If you are interested in participating in these sessions, please RSVP on this Google Form

Following the Bird-Walk

Two local businesses will provide nature themed items for sale in town. Lunaria Gallery, on Water Street will have paintings, prints and cards, and Serenity, on Main Street will offer nature-themed items at a discount, as a promotion for the Bird-Walk.

This is a great on line resource with tons of

ID help and great photos and life history information

for all the North American birds:

This page links to current Tracking Radar that shows

real time bird migration activity across the Country.

Pretty amazing! Most bird migration occurs at night!



Thursday, May 19, 2022, at Coolidge-McClaine Park

MEET THE PEOPLE behind the scenes. Who are the employees that maintain the city streets, parks, water treatment plant, and creek? (And find out about their other duties.)

Bring your questions, curiosity and kids! We've heard that you may be given the opportunity to climb on the seats of their work equipment.

Details of these activities will be posted on the City's website and Facebook/Instagram pages in May.

Make a Difference Week!

June 4-11, 2022 9am - 12pm

On Saturday, June4, 2022, meet at the fountain
in Coolidge-McClaine Park at 9 am

How can you make a difference in the Willamette Valley? Help us remove invasive ivy from the trees. A simple job, it only requires hand tools like pruning saws and clippers or loppers to sever the stems near ground level. The vines get left in the trees. Wear long pants and long sleeves because there is some poison oak in the woods. Bring a water bottle, gloves and your cutting tool of choice! We will talk about invasive species, why they matter and how their removal will help the habitat in Silverton. You'll also learn how to identify ivy, holly, and poison oak.

To register - just show up Saturday June 4 with your clipper, lopper, and/or pruning saws. If you have questions, please email Eric Hammond at For additional information on this event, visit the SER website: Find Restoration Events - Make a Difference Week

Solar Energy Fair a huge success

This was a very well attended event. Thanks to all our presenters, for Tucker Baldwin's message about Charles Baldwin's vision for sustainability in the City of Silverton.

  • Nancy Evenson - Home Retrofit Consultant

  • Julie Williams - Seeds for the Sol, Corvallis

  • Matthew Henderson - Pure Energy Group

  • Aaron Eddy - Earthlight

  • Ron Chandler - City of Silverton

...and for the outpouring of interest from the public. For more information, visit our WEBSITE.

Restaurant To-Go Containers

The other day at Guerra Restaurant I remarked on the reusable “to go” containers. I use them often. I told the waitress about Sustainable Silverton and received an email from the Head Chef, Christy Smith. She said that while she was deciding on what containers to use for the restaurant, she took into consideration what Marion County recycling guidelines were. “Most food containers can't be recycled now. So, I wanted something that wasn't a one-time use, that people could use at home and wouldn't just be thrown into the garbage and that didn't just look nice,” she explained. After working with her sales representative for US foods, she came across the product line put out by Newsprings. “While these containers are not compostable, they are dishwasher safe, freezer safe, microwavable, and functional. They are designed to be stackable for easy storage, durable, and definitely reusable. For me they are a really good equivalent to Tupperware,” she added. In her opinion recycling and environmentally friendly also can be defined as "I can get more than one use out of a product.” Newsprings offers multiple sizes in their take out line. But Christy only uses three sizes to try and reduce the amount of space that these containers will take up. The lids and containers come in one box. Therefore, there is only one box to recycle and not two. Hopefully, industry will develop containers that are reusable and compostable. Do you know of any? What are other Silverton restaurants using? Let us know at

Volunteer Thank You

  1. April Farmers Market volunteers: Joe Craig, Michael Finkelstein, Kelley Morehouse

  2. Alena Langford - Infographic and Recycling Resources

Right Tree in the Right Place in the Urban Forest

by Eric Hammond, Horticulturist & ISA Certified Arborist

There is a simple axiom that helps planners and planters affect the best outcomes for trees they plant: plant the right tree in the right place. It doesn’t matter if it is near a sidewalk or in a mountainside forest, there is a solution. If the site conditions are understood, a tree can be matched and have a successful growth result. Soil and moisture, light, weather, local biodiversity and the ecosystem, physical space and obstacles are all considered to complete a site profile. Planting goals affect the broad categories trees are selected from. Often it isn't possible to change the physical location of planting. There is finite space between the building and the street. Selecting trees that work within those conditions is necessary.

There are many kinds of forests. People everywhere depend on wild forests to clean the air and water and keep wildlife alive. Trees and other plants growing in the city, planted and wild, create an urban forest. The quality of urban life is dependent on the success of trees and plants growing in the city. Residents only enjoy the urban forest's ecosystem services when the trees and plants in it are prosperous. Selecting and planting the right tree for a site meets this demand.

A successful urban tree does a lot of work for the city in which it grows. All who pass nearby appreciate the cooler summer temperatures its shade creates. We love the birdsong coming from the canopy. This might be part of what maintains both our mental and physical health when we function near and in an urban forest. The benefits supplied by the urban forest extend to the increased real-estate value of our homes, and the decreased crime. Airborne pollution is removed on the foliage of urban trees. They help to reduce and clean stormwater runoff. Urban trees sequester carbon in their annual growth rings. This regulating ecosystem service has a big impact.

Trees growing in the extreme ecosystem of the city face many obstacles. Urban soil is compacted and the area for roots to grow is severely restricted. Light is limited, but reflected heat is intense. The soil, often a byproduct of construction, has diminished microbial activity. Air quality is low, and pests and disease have few natural pressures working against them. Utility lines and passing trucks restrict tree height and width. Tree roots must plunge beneath the sidewalk without lifting it. Each of these is considered to create the right urban tree site match.

When preparing to plant an urban tree, first look at the soil. It’s common to find the soil in urban planting sites suffering severe compaction. This poor aeration results in decreased water drainage. These problems create conditions that suffocate tree roots and soil dwelling microorganisms. A useful treatment is complete removal and replacement of the soil in the planting hole. Some cities invest in engineered soils. These soils sustain root growth with high levels of aeration and improved drainage. But this is an expensive fix which many municipalities cannot afford. Free-draining soil brings oxygen down to plant roots and soil dwelling microorganisms. Some trees are more tolerant of low oxygen soil. Using these species increases chances of success in urban soil that remains compacted. Species that experience frequent flooding often also tolerate low oxygen soils. They will tolerate the conditions created by compacted urban soils. Metasequoia meets this need. It has deep plunging roots that thrive despite low oxygen in the soil.

Some trees deal with soils suffering chronic waterlogging with shallow root systems. Keeping the roots near the soil surface is how those species deal with low soil oxygen. It’s critical to consider root structure when matching a tree to the site. Sidewalks are an impediment to shallow-rooted species. Don't plant these species in small planting pits because their roots soon lift the paving. Shallow-rooted species in an urban forest create a dangerous situation for pedestrians. Trees with shallow roots are not a good fit for planting pits. Species with deep-growing roots are best for in-sidewalk openings. Oaks are an example.

A tree’s crown has the greatest visual impact but can have a large economic impact as well. Like the roots, branches soon interfere with the built infrastructure of the city. New utility lines are often buried, but overhead lines transfer right through the growing tree canopy. This creates a conflict dealt with by pruning, or neglect - either expensive. Unchecked lateral branch growth impacts building facades and roadways. The tree canopy brings shade to pedestrians, parked cars and nearby buildings. But physical impacts with any of these is a danger. Reduce this problem with variety selection, though it isn’t eliminated. There are varieties of many tree species that grow with narrow form, like Metasequoia. These fit well in streetside sidewalks without interfering with traffic. But they are the wrong choice when there are utility wires above. In that case, selections that grow with lower growth are more useful.

Selecting ever smaller trees to avoid obstacles may not meet the site’s need. If the site goal calls for a shade tree, a tree that only grows 6 meters tall is not the right tree. Urban street trees must be large enough to cast shade over a wide area. Their branches must grow above head height to avoid obstructing the sidewalk. That means the minimum tree height at planting is greater than 4.5 meters. This ensures that the scaffold branches are already established. These branches become part of the tree’s main structure and start at or above 3 meters. Trees that can’t meet these metrics are either too young or don’t grow large enough for sidewalk culture. Leave tree care to the experts before their scaffold formation has started. Small-statured trees may be good candidates for planting in parks. Many small-growing trees have great aesthetic appeal but are not good street tree candidates. Do not plant trees in the sidewalk if they don’t grow large enough to clear the impact zone - your face and head.

Light and heat are part of the considerations too. Heat reflected off buildings and windows can be intense. It damages tree growth and might even kill the exposed trunk. This problem seems more common with species adapted to the understory conditions of a forest, such as many maples. Using species like Chinese Pistache that tolerate extreme heat helps solve this problem.

Heat induced cracking is a problem in winter cold climates too. Frost cracking occurs when a frozen trunk – a condition of no concern itself – thaws and then rapidly freezes during the night. The reflected heat is the problem. The crack is disfiguring and introduces structural problems and decay. Some species are more tolerant of reflected heat. It’s important to select species adapted to the extremes of local weather conditions. Native or nearby native species hold within their genes adaptations to local extremes. City conditions are often much more severe than the pre-urban site. The city is a new harsher environment. And with projected climate warming, cities will become even hotter over the next 50 to 75 years. Use judgment when selecting trees.

Buildings also block sunlight creating an ever-shady growing environment. Growing on the north side or between close-built buildings creates a need to select species that are tolerant of low light conditions. Species that grow well as understory trees, such as dogwoods, hornbeams, maples, and Magnolias are good candidates. Planting sun-loving trees like Metasequoia or oaks in shady conditions yields poor quality, weak growth. Poor growth in the urban canopy causes two problems. First, it's a missed opportunity to offset the most carbon possible. Secondl, sickly, or poor growing trees will stress people. This is the opposite of their intended role.

Pests and tree diseases reduce or even eliminate plans for ecosystem services. Urban growing conditions are more stressful for trees. This leaves them vulnerable to attack by insects and disease. Some otherwise ideal urban tree selections are eliminated from use in whole regions of the world because of insects and disease. Tree pests can be native to an area or an introduced invasive, both must be considered. Expect damaging invasive pests will spread from nearby areas over the next 50 years. These invasions will happen during the lifetime of trees planted today. Invasions can even spread faster with increasing temperature. The spread of exotic emerald ash borer in the Eastern US has killed millions of trees. It has left whole areas of many cities void of trees.

It’s common for native plants which evolved with pests to have some resistance or tolerance to them. China’s elms have resistance to the fungal pathogen that causes Dutch elm disease. Chinese elms are good urban tree choices in the USA, while it's impossible to plant American elm. Tree damaging pests and disease can be catastrophic to some species while bypassing other species. This is why biodiversity in the urban forest is so useful. Growing many different species and kinds of trees provides a biologic break against the spread of pests and diseases. Diversity protects in at least two ways. Diversity puts greater physical distance between trees of the same species. (This assumes varieties have mixed distribution across the city.) This slows the spread and decreases the concentration of the pest – dilution effect. Trees grown from seed offer a diversity of genes, further acting against pests and disease. It’s reasonable to expect a few individuals resistant to the attack. Those trees are important genetic treasures.

The second protection realized from increased forest diversity comes from the work living trees do. Dead trees do not filter polluted air. But living trees offer humans well-being benefits, eco-benefits. They provide shade and habitat, mediate stormwater and runoff, and clean the air while removing excess carbon. The health benefits of the urban forest are well documented. Visual and physical interaction with the urban forest keep residents healthier. But the forest must be protected from disease and destructive insect pests to give us these benefits. When a tree dies, it's missed for decades. That impact multiplies when a monoculture dies as a result of a pest. The loss of a whole forest is catastrophic like a wildfire for three quarters of a century or more! Most residents will not live long enough to see the canopy restored. The city is changed with tree death. Urban forest biodiversity is the first and most effective defense in this struggle. It’s an opportunity for growing more tree species and more trees from seed.

It's thought that native trees have greater adaptation and resistance to local pests, disease and weather. This is due to their coevolution. This resistance, or resiliency is held in their genes. Native trees and nearby natives provide many choices to meet urban soil and site conditions. Many birds and pollinators have complex relationships with the plant species they evolved with. Native trees also interact with the soil microbiota to produce a great amount of carbon sequestered in the soil. For many urban planting sites, the right tree can be a native or a nearby native tree. For urban sites without nearby geographic analog, select an adapted nonnative tree that diversifies the urban tree canopy.

The right plant in the right place is easy to envision for a single tree planted into a sidewalk. It becomes more opaque when we try to envision a distant forest planted for carbon sequestration. Selecting the right tree for a forest is examined in part two.

Part 2: Carbon Sequestration with the Right Tree in the Right Place

It is somewhat easy to imagine what the right tree in the right urban space looks like. We know what well-grown street trees look like. It is much more difficult to know this for a distant forest planted for carbon sequestration. Few people know and understand what a healthy forest looks like. But forests of planted trees are now tasked with sequestering carbon to combat climate change. That work is done best by healthy functioning forests. In urban forests it is cost effective to match each tree to its planting site. That isn't the case in large scale forestry when planting millions of trees. Instead, we match tree species and type to the broad project, or subareas of a project. The axiom, right tree in the right place focuses on creating a healthy forest system. When the forest is healthy, the trees are right for the site and carbon sequestration results.

Humans plant forests to fulfill many societal needs. It's been common practice that these forests are single species forests, monocultures. But forest monocultures do not create a healthy forest or a deep functioning ecosystem. A diverse urban forest is more resilient to pests and disease. This is even more true in large forests with many thousands or millions of trees growing near one another. Monocultures are unable to resist infestation by dominant pests or diseases because all the trees are the same kind. Many pine plantations around the world have been killed by bark beetles. In a monoculture the insects move from host tree to host tree whereas in a biodiverse forest it’s harder for the insects to find host trees. Most insects and diseases specialize to attack a specific class of hosts. Native trees are often more resilient to pest infestation or at least occur in mixed species forest stands. But when native trees grow in monocultures, they can suffer infestation too. It demonstrates that too many of the right trees make the site wrong.

Single-age monocultures also have greater storm susceptibility and provide less habitat to vertebrates. They are less filled with life. Forests with mixed deciduous and evergreen trees are more resilient to windstorms because of differences in the way wind interacts with their canopies. In planted forests it is useful to transition the forest canopy to a mixed age stand. Lots of variation in tree height and tree species increases storm resiliency. It also creates opportunities for tree-site match in a planted forest. Biodiversity of plants in a forest increases the biodiversity of animals in it. Mixed age stands further increase animal biodiversity.

Diversity in the forest is very useful. It builds resilience against climate changes. Forest diversity spreads climate risk across the forest. Increases in temperature and changes in rainfall have different effects on each species. Monocultures have all their exposure present; nothing is held in reserve. This creates a unique risk scenario that requires mitigation through diversity.

Forest biodiversity also has great implications for carbon sequestration. Diverse forests store twice as much carbon as single species forests. And this effect increases over time. Trees build their wood with carbon they remove from the air during photosynthesis. But the carbon isn’t confined to the wood of the tree.

Trees and the microorganisms around their roots move vast amounts of carbon into the soil. This serves an important role in local ecosystems and has a global impact for us. In fact, much more carbon is stored in the soils of forests than in the wood of the forests. This isn't true of every forest, however. Biodiverse forests sequester more carbon in the soil than monocultures. And forests of native trees sequester more than nonnative trees. A commitment to diversity in carbon sequestering forests is the best approach.

Plants convert the energy of sunlight into sugar. That process captures the carbon in an organic molecule. About 50 percent of that sugar is exchanged with soil dwelling microorganisms for water and minerals. This moves the carbon from the air into the soil. The microorganisms bind the carbon into the soil matrix where much of it stays for the long-term. However, that soil carbon is released during the rapid decomposition that occurs after logging. Because logging kills all the trees in the forest, there is a rapid die off in the ground too. Carbon in harvested wood also reenters the atmosphere when the wood decomposes. This happens when it hits the waste stream via an unrecycled magazine, coffee cup, cardboard shipping box, paper grocery sack, or a decayed wood pallet for example. And the forest soil that grew that wood also releases most of the carbon stored in the soil over the lifetime of the trees. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in monocultures. This is a compelling reason to plant forests that will not be harvested. Reliance on forest monoculture for carbon sequestration is wishful thinking.

To have an impact on global climate change, trees need to store carbon securely in their wood and the soil for the long term. They must mature, grow their full life-span of 80, 150 years or more. But it isn’t enough to have planted trees just survive, even when it is for their full lifetime. People realize that biodiversity is import as an indicator of ecosystem health. And since we are part of the ecosystem people work hard to support and increase biodiversity. It will make us healthier. That work is going to be easier in the long term if it becomes self-replicating - returns to a wild state. Forest regeneration is important for maintaining biodiversity. Biodiverse forests hold more animal species and together they create a healthier ecosystem. That ecosystem captures more carbon. Monocultures do not become wild. Even planted native trees don't necessarily become wild. The right native trees must be matched to the project site for rewilding to happen. Right tree, right site, and over time the forest becomes regenerative and self-replicating.

Wild forests are the most productive carbon sequestering forests. Getting planted forests to return to the wild state must be the goal in carbon forestry projects. In carbon projects it is important to use native trees. Their ties to the environment create the right tree for the site match more than nonnative trees. The regenerative capacity of a biodiverse forest is greater. It will have greater species to site matching, and better ecosystem interactions. In biodiverse ecosystems the benefits increase overtime, and the planted forest becomes wild.

Interactive Public Works Fair

Public Works Interactive Fair (3).pdf