A TREE FOR EVERY GOAL

April 18, 2014
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Lane United’s fan club, the Red Aces, will plant a western redcedar for every goal scored at home at the Willamalane Center in the 2014 inaugural season. Each young tree will be about eight feet tall (initially).

When Lane United FC midfielder Christian Dietrich was a teenager in Germany, he trained in the youth academy for FC Union Berlin, whose home ground is the uniquely named Stadion an der Alten Försterei — the Stadium by the Old Forester’s Shed. But when he plays for Lane United this summer, he’ll be performing in front of a veritable army of foresters in the form of the Red Aces, Lane United’s official fan club.

The Red Aces have begun an initiative to plant western redcedar trees at the south end of the Willamalane Center’s fields for each home goal that the Reds score there this year. Dave Galas, Lane United’s managing director, said that the Willamalane Center had at one point intended to plant a row of trees at the southern boundary of the property, adjacent to the train tracks, as part of the facility’s expansion plans. However, budgetary restraints ended up scuppering that part of the project. A local commercial nursery recently stepped up to donate the new trees to the Red Aces, he said.

The initial hope was that the Red Aces would be able to plant only dawn redwoods for the project. The dawn redwood is the tree symbolically represented on the Lane United crest, adopted as an official icon of the club for its rareness and local historical significance. However, Galas’ wife, Arica Duhrkoop-Galas, a landscape architect who teaches planting classes at the University of Oregon and has been leading the initiative, said that the availability of dawn redwood saplings from local nurseries was limited compared to that of the western redcedars.

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The dawn redwood, the official tree of Lane United FC. The Red Aces will plant one dawn redwood at the Willamalane Center for each year of the club’s existence.

A western redcedar will be planted for each home goal, and a dawn redwood will be planted for each year of the club’s existence. Duhrkoop-Galas said that the trees will be four to seven years old and about eight feet tall at the time of planting. The dawn redwoods will grow faster, but both types of trees will be mature after ten or fifteen years, she said. The planting will take place all at once in November or December at the onset of the rainy winter season.

Dave Galas said he came up with the idea for the initiative from similar projects that the Timbers Army has undertaken, planting trees in neighborhoods around Portland. According to him and his wife, there are no plans to cease the trees-for-goals initiative on Lane United’s end; if space runs out at Willamalane, they may consider other sites such as state parks. Duhrkoop-Galas added that any dawn redwood that grows to maturity makes an important contribution to the genetic variation of the species, since the local population is currently so small.