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Corvallis has designated its first four heritage trees.

A volunteer committee, whose mission was approved in April by the Corvallis City Council, has named:

• The Avery Park walnut, which was planted almost 160 years ago by Corvallis founder Joseph C. Avery.

• The J.C. Avery walnut, which was planted by Avery in 1876 and sits at the intersection of Southwest Fourth Street and the Highway 34 bypass.

• The Beazell Memorial Forest oak, 15 miles northwest of Corvallis. The tree is about 250 years old.

• The Magruder Hall oak, a 340-year-old tree located just north of the School of Veterinary Medicine on the Oregon State University campus.

“The wonderful thing about the four trees is that they are all exceptional

specimens, all exceptionally beautiful and all have exceptional historical connections,” said committee member B.A. Beierle. “They hit all our criteria.”

Beierle, committee member Ross Parkerson and Parks and Recreation supervisors Jude Geist and John Hinkle met a Gazette-Times reporter and photographer to discuss the program and the Avery Park walnut, which is in the southeast corner of the park near the locomotive.

“You don’t often get a chance to see a tree of this age and composition,” said Parkerson. “It’s a tree that has an impact on the neighborhood. If you ask people about it they know which one you are talking about.”

Hinkle noted that the root system, which extends down just two to three feet, is so broad that workers have to be careful doing construction, even more than 100 feet from the trunk.

When a question came up about the tree’s diameter, Geist and Hinkle went to their truck for a tape measure. The answer? 72.5 inches.

The tree is a hybrid of a black and English walnut. Most such specimens, including the Avery Park model, do not bear fruit and were bred for their shade.

The committee considered four other trees for heritage honors but held off because it needed more information on those. Beierle said they would be considered by the committee during its next review period.

Members of the public also can nominate trees (see the information box for details). The committee plans to meet quarterly, although there is no set schedule for announcing new honorees.

The group plans to produce an interactive map of the heritage trees, which would be available on the websites of the city, Benton County and Oregon State.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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