The Trees of Glenmorrie

In the 1960s, John C. Kuhns, then president of the Glenmorrie Cooperative Association (today’s Glenmorrie Water District) wrote that …

“Almost three-quarters of a century ago, Mr. P. Fred Morey, then President of the Portland General Electric Company, selected a six hundred acre tract, comprising the present Glenmorrie community, for a country home and farm.

He built a spacious mansion, stables and other out buildings. Roads were graded, rustic bridges built, orchards planted, and a water system installed.

Access to the Morey home was by the old river road, before the bridge over Oswego creek at the Iron furnace was washed out. A more popular route was by boat on the Willamette River. From a boat landing…a tree-bordered road followed a small creek, then across a stone bridge up past the barns northerly and over another bridge up to the manor house. The original mansion was destroyed by fire; the barns are long gone….

Mr. Morey must have been a lover of trees, for, in this original forest setting, he had planted hundreds of trees, mostly species not native to this area. Some of these still survive, notably the giant Sequoias bordering Glenmorrie Drive….”

As noted in the City of Lake Oswego’s February 2010 newsletter, Hello LO, the insert regarding Century Trees highlighted the Glenmorrie neighborhood with the following:

The Man Who Loved Trees

“The story of Glenmorrie is that of a man who loved trees,” noted Mary Goodall in her book Oregon’s Iron Dream. Parker Farnsworth Morey, the first president of Portland General Electric, visited his farm by river boat, the land between the Bullock claim (Marylhurst University) and Sucker Creek. He built an estate with orchards of fruit and nut trees, and left much of the land wild, and made other parts into a park-like setting accessible with footpaths and roadways.

Morey hired English landscape gardener John Gower to oversee crews of Chinese laborers to do the plantings, but among this pleasure-garden, “the best of the native trees were saved and thinning was done to encourage larger trees.” The native trees that were preserved included “Douglas Fir, White Fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Dogwood, Oregon Maple, Hemlock, Port Orford Cedar, and Red Alder.” Morey also planted “the Giant Sequoia …, the Magnolia, the Tamarack, the English Holly, the Hawthorne, the Cryptomeria and the Empress tree … another favorite was the Camperdown Elm.” Morey’s choice in trees was so wise that many of the same species were chosen for the Hoyt Arboretum twenty years later. The people who live in Glenmorrie now “planned their homes in relation to the trees of Glenmorrie and have a constant reminder of the man who loved trees.”

Today as you walk the Glenmorrie neighborhood you can see examples of those trees native to the area as well as many of those imported by P. F. Morey in the late 1800s. In addition there are exceptional trees and plantings throughout the neighborhood that are not listed as native nor imported by Morey but still have the qualities that contribute to the beauty of Glenmorrie.