Trees bring last bit of cheer

No longer décor, they benefit Scouts and will mulch gardens

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 

Local Scouts helped their neighbors, provided a big recycling boost and raised a little money.

One participant even found a little bit of joy.

The sentiment was expressed on a Christmas ornament that Joshua Lyons, 12, found during Saturday's Christmas tree roundup.

Up to 800 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from two Clark County districts were assisted by more than 700 volunteers in the annual service project and fundraiser.

Scott Perkins, who organized the drive in the Columbia Gorge District -- essentially east of Interstate 205 -- tallied about 4,600 trees at the McFarlane's Bark disposal site.

Officials with the Fort Vancouver District didn't keep a tree tally. But their chipper site in Hazel Dell, staffed by Clark Public Utilities volunteers, had a steady stream of loaded pickups and trailers. And they were making a lot of return trips.

"We've been doing this since 8 a.m.," Lyons, who found the "Joy" ornament, said during a noon stop.

The trees always come in a range of sizes. Mike Acker said he drove into the site at Northeast 99th Street and Hazel Dell Avenue with 16 trees piled in his Ford Ranger pickup.

And at the other end of the scale, "They can get huge," Perkins said. "Trees from churches can be 30 feet long."

For those extra-jumbo Christmas trees, they dispatch a volunteer with a flat-bed truck, Perkins said.

Volunteers in the Columbia Gorge District got a two-fer Saturday, Perkins added. This is the third year they've staged a coat drive in addition to the tree roundup. It netted about 1,000 "gently worn" coats and jackets.

Since it was a community service project, the Scouts picked up trees whether there was a donation or not. But it worked the other way, as well, said Pat Bartos, who organized the Fort Vancouver District roundup.

"I was out with the boys, outside our truck, and a gentleman came up and said he didn't have a tree," Bartos said. Then he handed the scoutmaster a $20 bill.

Missed the roundup?

People who missed Saturday's tree roundup or didn't know about it can still contact the Scouts for a pick-up. Many troops distributed fliers with contact telephone numbers.

Those who live east of Interstate 205 also can contact the Columbia Gorge District by calling 360-608-7597.

People who live west of I-205 can call the Fort Vancouver District during office hours at 360-693-1741.

People at a couple of different wood recycling operations say it's not unusual to see withered, crispy Christmas trees straggle in through the summer … and as late as November.

Yard debris collection

Waste Connections will pick up one Christmas tree from each yard-debris recycling customer through January.

The tree must be 5 feet or shorter, or cut into pieces no longer than 5 feet.

The tree should be placed inside the debris cart or -- if the tree is too big -- next to an empty cart. If the cart is full of other yard debris, there will be an additional fee for a tree placed next to the filled cart.

Drop-off sites

• Central Transfer and Recycling, 11034 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver (360-256-8482): Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $1 per tree (first three trees).

• City Bark, 2419 N.E. Andresen Road, Vancouver (360-253-8461): Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; $1 per tree.

• H&H Wood Recyclers, 8401 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver (360-892-2805): Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; $1 per tree.

• McFarlane's Bark, 8806 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver (360-892-6125): Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; $3 per tree.

• Triangle Resources, 612 S.E. Union St., Camas (360-834-7253): Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; $2 per tree.

• Washougal Transfer Station, 4020 S. Grant St., Washougal (360-835-2500): Public hours 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; $1 per tree (first three trees).

• West Van Materials Recovery Center, 6601 N.W. Old Lower River Road, Vancouver (360-737-1727): Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; $1 per tree (first three trees).