Friends of Trees event
(Craig Mitchelldyer)

Timbers staff gives back during tree-planting event

Thursday morning, the Portland Timbers’ front office staff returned to their roots – so-to-speak – donning gloves and grabbing shovels to plant trees on an east Portland hillside.

Over 40 Timbers employees, including president and owner Merritt Paulson, general manager/technical director Gavin Wilkinson, head coach John Spencer, and new Timbers community ambassador Scot Thompson, spent two hours repopulating a local hill with 60 young ponderosa pine, Oregon white oak and hawthorn trees as the team kicked off its partnership with Friends of Trees.

A key element of the Timbers’ Stand Together community outreach initiative, Friends of Trees is one of the club’s adopted nonprofit pillar partners for the Timbers’ debut MLS season that starts March 19.

“Friends of Trees is excited about our new partnership with the Portland Timbers,” said Friends of Trees executive director Scott Fogarty. “The new trees the Timbers are planting along the I-205 Multi-Use Path will clean our air and water and provide habitat for wildlife. Planting trees is a great way to improve the health of the Portland-area community."

The event marked the kickoff of the “Score a Goal, Plant a Tree” promotion, in which the Timbers and Friends of Trees will plant a tree for every goal a Timbers player scores during the 2011 season.

“We would especially like to thank Friends of Trees for giving us this opportunity to come out and give back as a staff and make a difference in the community,” said Timbers community outreach director Sierra Smith. “We’re excited to continue our collaboration with Friends of Trees throughout this season and hopefully we’ll be able to keep them busy.”

For many, planting trees was a first-time experience, but nevertheless a fulfilling one.

“With all the support our community gives us, we feel it’s important to show our commitment as well,” said Matt Wilhelmsen, a ticket account executive with the Timbers. “We are the Timbers, so what better way to do that than planting trees?”