National Christmas tree set for Enterprise stop

Enterprise Mayor Susan Roberts holds up two drawings which were later transformed into papier- mache models which were covered with shellac to stand up to one month of Washington, D.C., winter weather. The ornaments were made by Enterprise grade school children. Photo by Rocky Wilson

An unusual event will be held Nov. 17 in Enterprise when the Nation's Holiday Christmas Tree stops for a one-hour ceremony at the gazebo next to the Wallowa County Courhouse. On its way to Washington, D.C., to be the featured tree on the West Lawn of the White House, the 70-foot-tall Douglas fir will be harvested from the Umpqua National Forest in southwestern Oregon.

This marks the first time that an Oregon tree has been chosen for the national honor since the program was started in 1964.

An entourage of 30 people will accompany the tree, including a 10 student choir from Umpqua Community College who will be entertaining with music and skits.

The 28-year-old tree which is 21 inches in diameter and has a 40-foot crown diameter will travel to the nation's capital on a brand new patriotically painted logging truck. The tree will be shrink wrapped in plastic and periodically watered on its 22-day trip to Washington D.C.

Enterprise Mayor Susan Roberts has been a big promoter of the program for the past year, working as president of the League of Oregon Cities; hence the short stop in Enterprise.

Wallowa County has generated some 200 decorative ornaments to go on the national tree or on any of some 60 smaller Christmas trees from Oregon that will be displayed in Washington D.C. offices. Creating ornaments have been school children under the direction of Margaret Grace in Enterprise, Wallowa school children under the direction of Valerie Nesemann, members of the Hurricane Creek Grange, members of the South Fork Grange, artist Jan Holt and other individuals.

After Christmas the hand made ornaments will be given to youngsters from the urban Washington, D.C., area.

The Sunday morning Nov. 17 ceremony at the gazebo will begin at 10 a.m.

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