Heritage Tree #324 | Foster-Powell Madrone

By Ella Weil ::

Heritage Tree # 324
Arbutus menziesii – Madrone
8018 SE Bush St

Heritage tree #324 lives at 8018 SE Bush street, on the border between South Tabor and Foster-Powell neighborhoods. Pat McDaniel found the seedling in 1957 while camping as a child in the Olympic Peninsula and brought it home with her to plant in her front yard. This massive, well established, PGE-mangled Madrone has lived for decades among the storms and stories of Southeast 82nd Avenue. Madrone trees grew abundantly along the Pacific from California to Canada but it’s highly unusual to see them growing in an urban forest given their unpredictable growth patterns and fickle demeanor. The Madrone prefers not to be coddled or cared for and doesn’t transplant well. Early cadastral surveys of the Foster-Powell and South Tabor neighborhoods indicate just the right type of flat topography and the “second rate gravelly soil” preferred by Madrone trees. While this Madrone on Southeast Bush is not as old as many of Portland’s other Heritage Trees, it has witnessed 60 years of development in one of the most dynamic areas of Portland; SE 82nd Avenue, otherwise known as “The Avenue of Roses,” where there is not a single rose to be found. It’s fitting that a tree which prefers to be ignored, happened to thrive in an area that has been historically neglected by the city. The street itself serves as a metaphor to our heritage Madrone watching the arc of activity over 60 years’ time; seedy and cluttered, beautifully chaotic, and extremely resilient.

For further reading see:

  • “Young Revelers Draw Neighbors Ire”; The Oregonian, 1984
  • “Plan proposed for 82nd Ave ‘Mess’”; Oregon Journal, 1979