Walk outside. Chances are you won’t find Oregon’s native white oak in Eugene. Before colonization, white oaks lived all over the Willamette Valley. Today white oaks have only 3 percent of their native range.
I am a Eugene native, an arboriculture major at Clackamas Community College and an oak nerd who has been specializing in the study of Oregon white oaks, Quercus garryana. I have been collecting information on the location of oaks in Salem, Eugene and Silverton for The Oak Salvage Project.
Since the 1800s percent of oak habitat has been lost due to urban development and farming. I have only found a few places in Eugene: Fern Ridge, Lane County Fairgrounds, Alton Baker Park and the riverfront. The rest have been recently planted.
If you go to the River Road, Santa Clara and Irving areas you’ll find the remainder of Eugene’s white oaks.
The Oak Salvage Project is studying the disastrous effects of this loss. If you have a symbiotic relationship with your special oak trees let us know what it has meant to you;share your story, any history of your oak tree and how the storm damage affected you at Oregon-Oaks-Group@Willamette.edu.