US Capitol Christmas Tree

Papé and The Tree

Monday, December 10, 2018

 

“It’s hard to put into words the experiences I had — and continue to have — following the tree from the original site in the Willamette National Forest, through the State of Oregon Whistle Stops, and now on my way to D.C., to witness the lighting of the tree and festivities. For me, it’s been all about the people that have touched the process – the organizers, the sponsors, the U.S. Forest Service Team, the communities we visited – their pride in being a part of history – a reason to celebrate together.I look at my role as somewhat of an ambassador for Papé as I traveled through the State of Oregon – sharing information about Papé, our rich history in providing equipment and services for 80 years in the communities we live, and connecting with team members along the way.” — Heidi Coleman, Corporate Events Specialist

This event, as Heidi so eloquently stated, is not only a proud moment for Papé as our team traveled through Oregon, but an opportunity to impact our communities and home state during such an integral piece of U.S. holiday tradition. Connection, collaboration, and tradition - just a few words that come to mind when you ask various members of our company what Papé’s involvement has meant to them. For those that were able to attend either the tree cutting ceremony or any of the whistle stops, the sense of comradery and excitement was contagious. The time, effort, and sheer number of people it took to make this journey a success is an incredible feat and could not have been done without the support of every community that the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree visited across the country.

The journey of “The People’s Tree” was an expression of the innovative and dedicated Oregonian spirit, that has been ingrained within the company ever since our founder acquired his first capital equipment dealership in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

As Susie Papé, Papé Group Board Chair, fervently stated in her opening remarks for the tree cutting ceremony, this tree - “The People’s Tree” - commemorates Oregon’s independent spirit and beautifully varied landscape, celebrating our proud Oregonian roots.

“Let our tree be a gift from all Oregonians, that unites our nation in celebration, gratitude and reflection of our deep roots, that each American puts down in the name of freedom, civility, opportunity, and faith in one another.”

Our involvement in the Capitol Christmas Tree’s journey was second nature, as the tree was sourced from our own backyard, the Willamette National Forest. President of Papé Kenworth, Dave Laird, expressed the sentiment best:

“From the moment we became aware that the capitol Christmas tree was coming from Oregon we knew we wanted to be involved. With Kenworth providing the new W990 and Central Oregon Truck Company providing the drivers, it made perfect sense for us to join our partners to see the tree get to the capitol.”

 

The Capitol Christmas Tree project naturally coincided with the industries we serve. Our Papé Machinery, Construction & Forestry member J.R. Crownover delivered the equipment that made felling the tree possible. Papé Kenworth contributed the truck that was driven by our valued customer, Central Oregon Truck Company, and Papé employees at every level of our organization volunteered at and attended events from Oregon to Washington D.C. As a company we are dedicated to creating end-to-end solutions for our customers and we hope we provided the same support for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree team, U.S. Forest Service, and other partners.

While sponsoring this momentous occasion was a perfect fit for the company, it all stems from the sense of community that comes from working together toward a common goal. All of the conversations and comments from the public and members of Papé, bring up similar themes that our Marketing Coordinator, Cassidy Davis frames flawlessly, “it was so inspiring to see how the tree brought people and communities together. Across each city and at every stop, the tree was able to bring out the true spirit of the holiday season.”

It’s those aspects of inspiration, togetherness, and celebration that mean the most to us as people of the U.S., and as a company. We are so happy that we were able to provide support, encouragement, and participate in such a fantastic event, because, “it’s opportunities like this that make our jobs worthwhile, having the chance to be a part of not just Oregon, but U.S. history.” — John Woodruff, Director of Marketing.

 

 

Watch the project highlight video produced by FPW Media for The Papé Group

 

Tree Lighting Takes Place Dec. 6

Thursday, December 06, 2018

The holiday season officially begins as 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was lit on the West Lawn on Thursday, Dec. 6. Watch the ceremony from the recorded live feed.

 

Meet the 9-year-old girl who helped Paul Ryan light the Capitol Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 06, 2018

 

From The Washington PostShe played violin before an audience at the National Press Club. She’s met members of Congress, Cabinet officials and rock stars. On Thursday, she stood with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and flipped the switch to light the Capitol Christmas Tree.

But Brigette Harrington is no dignitary or head of state.

She’s a 9-year-old girl from Oregon.

Brigette, who would tell you that she is actually “9 and a half,” is from Hillsboro, near Portland. This is her first time in the District.

It’s a little almost overwhelming,” she said Wednesday, flashing her festive green-and-red braces with a wide smile.

Brigette won the chance to travel to Washington and light the Capitol tree — a noble fir plucked from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest — in a statewide contest that asked elementary schoolers to write about why they love the state’s outdoors.

It has become a tradition at the Capitol to invite a child from the same state as the tree to help light the symbol of holiday cheer. The writing contest in recent years has served as a way to choose the child.

Written in the style of “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” Brigette’s poem recalled ­Oregon’s changing fall colors, winter snow, spring rains and summer days filled with adventures.

“I tried to think of some good things to put in the poem, some details and topics, and I came up with the four seasons and how lucky Oregon is to have those, because not everybody does,” she said. “Everything that my family has done over the four seasons — picking berries, hiking, kayaking. We do so much. We love the outdoors.”

On the October morning she learned she won, Brigette was sitting in class at Jackson Elementary School when the governor walked in, surrounded by a gaggle of cameras and trailed by Kim and Scott Harrington, Brigette’s parents.

 

“I was a little suspicious, because it’s not every day the governor walks into your classroom,” Brigette said. “At first I was like, ‘Maybe somebody won here, but it’s probably not me’ — because there were a couple other entries in my classroom and it could have been any of us.”

Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that Brigette’s poem had triumphed over 1,200 other entries from fourth-graders throughout the state.

“I cried tears of joy,” Brigette said, miming tears cascading down her face.

Even then, the Harringtons said, they had no idea what they were in for.

For the next two months, Brigette toured Oregon, reciting her poem in various cities and towns along a 23-stop tour. She followed the tree, a noble fir indigenous to the American Northwest, as it was paraded throughout the state before starting the 3,000-mile trip to Washington.

“None of us initially realized that this was not truly about a tree, that it’s so much more,” said Kim Harrington, 43. “The most amazing thing for us is seeing how this has brought such joy and happiness and such a connectedness among all the people it touches.”

Even then, the Harringtons said, they had no idea what they were in for.

For the next two months, Brigette toured Oregon, reciting her poem in various cities and towns along a 23-stop tour. She followed the tree, a noble fir indigenous to the American Northwest, as it was paraded throughout the state before starting the 3,000-mile trip to Washington.

It’s been quite the week.

Accompanied by her parents and three grandparents, Brigette has been ushered into galas and lunches and receptions since she arrived in the District on Saturday. Every sign, program and invitation has been addressed to “Brigette Harrington and guests,” her father chuckled.

“We’re just riding around on her shirttails,” said Scott Harrington, 43.

Brigette has met Chuck Leavell, the Rolling Stones keyboardist who has taken on environmental activism; Oregon’s two U.S. senators, Jeff Merkley (D) and Ron Wyden (D); U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue; and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.).

She visited the Capitol Rotunda to pay respects to the late George H.W. Bush, who served as president 20 years before she was born.

On Sunday, she lost a tooth in the National Museum of American History.

“I was just eating a rice crispy — and then I swallowed it with that rice crispy,” she said. “The tooth fairy said: ‘It’s okay you swallowed your tooth. Most kids do it anyway.’ ”

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as “The People’s Tree,” began when House Speaker John W. McCormack (D-Mass.) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn in 1964.

Six years later, the Architect of Capitol office asked the U.S. Forest Service to find a Christmas tree for the Capitol grounds. Every year since, the Forest Service has set out to find a tree from a national park.

Willamette National Forest, the origin of this year’s tree, is a coniferous forest in the Cascade Mountains that encompasses more than 1.6 million acres. It’s the first time a tree from that park has been featured at the Capitol.

“We’re pretty proud of that,” Scott Harrington said. “We produce a lot of Christmas trees out in Oregon.”

On Thursday, Brigette read a shortened version of her poem, which clocks in at about three minutes unabridged, before helping Ryan (R-Wis.) light the tree.

“ ’Twas the month before Christmas, and all through my mind / Swirled thoughts of my Oregon, all intertwined / The four seasons how extraordinary, each one of a kind,” she wrote.

She said she found inspiration all around her — the creek in her backyard, the trees in the woods nearby, the mountains, the ocean, the snow and the rain.

What does she think of the District of Columbia?

“It’s amazing,” she said. “But all anyone back home wants to know is if I’ve met the president. I have not.”

 

 

 

Opinion: Thinking of my home, our state, my Oregon

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

By Paul Barnum - This year’s lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on Thursday holds special significance for Oregonians.

For just the second time in more than 50 years, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is an Oregon tree – a noble fir from one of Oregon’s 10 national forests.

Don’t confuse this tree with the National Christmas Tree that bedecks the White House lawn – the executive branch. Oregon’s noble fir, standing dignified on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, is the “People’s Tree,” symbolizing the federal legislators who represent the 325 million people living in these United States.

Oregon is the perfect parent of this year’s People’s Tree, with the state’s legacy of Tom McCall populism and rugged individualism, tempered by an historic willingness of its citizens to work together during tough times.

The 80-foot fir took a remarkable journey, a 3,000-mile Oregon Trail in reverse, under the banner “Find Your Trail.” The U.S. Forest Service, dozens of corporate sponsors and hundreds of volunteers made the trip possible.

Harvested in early November deep in the 1.5 million-acre Willamette National Forest, the tree was hoisted onto a donated flatbed truck and then trucked to 23 different locations along the route for community celebrations. In addition to the single noble, 70 smaller “companion” trees from Oregon commercial tree growers were shipped east to adorn legislative and administrative offices.

The Capitol Tree always comes from one of our country’s 154 national forests. That this year’s companion trees come from Oregon commercial operations highlights the state’s niche as the nation’s No. 1 Christmas tree grower. According to the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, Oregon produced 5.2 million Christmas trees in 2016. North Carolina came next with 3.5 million. Oregon’s dedicated growers and world-class tree-growing climate will ensure that we maintain our top spot.

The gift of a noble fir is an iconic symbol of what former SOLVE Executive Director Jack McGowan often described as “this treasure we call Oregon.” We treasure the state’s abundant green forests for the commodities, water, wildlife and sanctuary they provide. We cherish the clean air provided by Oregon’s forested landscapes, and we take comfort that forest owners and managers are managing for sustainability and the long-term.

In the lead-up to selecting, harvesting and transporting Oregon’s tree to the Capitol, Gov. Kate Brown held a contest asking fourth-grade students to write letters about what they love about Oregon’s outdoors. Brigette Harrington from Hillsboro wrote the winning article, selected from more than 1,200 entries. The win earned Harrington an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony.

Brigette’s poem, based on the Christmas tale, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Moore, best sums up the shared love for our beloved state.

It’s time to cut our Christmas tree, we’ve got to find the right one,

Can’t wait to get it home inside, all decorated and done!

So, as I close my eyes for sleep, my heart holds memories dear,

Thinking of my home, our state, my Oregon, how glad I’m here.

-- Paul Barnum is a fifth-generation Oregonian, the former president of SOLVE and past chair of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute. 

Tree Lighting date moved to December 6, 2018

Monday, December 03, 2018

Due to the passing of President Bush, the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. The ceremony will take place at 5:00 p.m. on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The event is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required. It will remain list from dusk every evening through January 1, 2019.  

The lighting ceremony will be broadcast on C-SPAN and live feed available on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Facebook page.