At about noon Tuesday, a 30-foot Sequoia tree arrived at the Douglas County courthouse.
It had journeyed here from a tree farm in the Willamette Valley.
For the remainder of what is potentially its very long life, this tree is destined to serve as Douglas County’s official Christmas tree.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, it will be decorated in a quiet ceremony that will be captured on video to share with county residents on Sunday.
The usual large gathering at the courthouse won’t happen this year, another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this tree will — unlike the county’s other Christmas trees over the last two decades or so — become a permanent fixture on the courthouse lawn to be lit up every year.
“It is a bright spot, and that’s one of the reasons we really pushed to have it happen this year with everything going on. We want to create something that’s sustaining but also a hope for the future,” county spokesperson Tamara Howell said.
It took a fair bit of work to get the site ready for a permanent tree. The area around the courthouse was blocked off last week as work began to check for sprinklers and water and power lines. The electrical system had to be moved to accommodate the tree’s location.
Howell said the original intention had been to obtain a Douglas fir tree. However, that proved impractical. A Douglas fir would have grown to 100 feet and spread its root system too wide. And Doug firs large enough to serve this Christmas don’t transplant well.
The Sequoia fit the bill. It also had the advantage of growing in the triangular shape many prefer for a Christmas tree. It will eventually roughly double its size to reach between 50 and 70 feet tall.
Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice had been wanting to plant a permanent Christmas tree at the courthouse for a couple years.
This turned out to be the year, partly due to the difficulty of obtaining a suitable cut tree.
“This will undoubtedly be a different holiday season for many of our residents, so we wanted to do something extra special this year. Our Building Facilities staff have selected a beautiful evergreen tree to permanently grace the front lawn of the courthouse, and they are prepped and ready to make it glow bright with Christmas lights this year,” Boice said in a written statement.
“Our Christmas wish is that this tree stands as a symbol of joy, harmony, peace and hope for our residents and their families; not only this year, but for many generations to come,” he said.