County Christmas tree goes up at courthouse

November 17, 2018

The traditional Christmas tree at the Douglas County Courthouse signifies the Christmas season is near, and in the early hours of dawn, the tree arrived at the courthouse on a county lowboy trailer. It took crews about an hour to erect the tree in the permanent stand on the courthouse lawn, in preparation for the annual tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1.

This year’s tree is about 45 feet tall with a 16-inch diameter at the base. The tree came from the Tenmile area where it was encroaching on power lines. With the aid of Douglas Electric, county workers were able to harvest the tree. County officials said the tree was growing into the lines and would have had to come down anyway, so they decided to give it a useful and productive end of life.

Public Works Director Scott Adams said they start looking for a tree several weeks ahead of time.

“We try to find it on county right-of-way if we can, I put feelers out to timber companies, the Forest Service, (the Bureau of Land Management), and we look on our own properties,” he said.

The tree was hauled on a county trailer and then with the aid of a crane from Jack Mathis Construction, it was lifted off the lowboy trailer and lowered into the stand in front of the courthouse.

“This one’s a little heavier than most of them, but it went fine,” said crane operator Ron Covey, who has been helping with the tree for more years than he could remember.

Building and facilities employees will start decorating the tree and the courthouse building right away to get them ready for the lighting ceremony.

Eric Irby, from the county’s Building and Facilities Department, was ready to start as soon as the tree was in the ground and the equipment was moved out of the way.

“It takes about four days to do it all,” he said. “The tree is the toughest part, I’ve done it a few times when I got so tangled up I had to cut them all out, it was horrible,” Irby said.

After issues with a tree two years ago that drew complaints from the public, Building Facilities Director Janet Coleman said she wasn’t going to let that happen again.

“Last year, I had just started and I was told my lot in life was to make sure the tree was a good one,” Coleman said.

In conjunction with the Downtown Roseburg Association, Douglas County will host the 2018 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 1.

The tree lighting ceremony is free and the DRA will be hosting festivities before and after the lighting, including a visit from Santa.

There will also be a live nativity scene at the First Christian Church across the street from the Courthouse beginning at 4:30 p.m., with free cookies, hot chocolate, apple cider and coffee.

For more information about the festivities, contact the DRA at 541-673-3352.

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