Cedar Mill Holiday Tree

In early November, Chris Mattocks asked if there was going to be a community tree in Cedar Mill on the Cedar Mill News Group Facebook page. A small and energetic group coalesced around the idea, we had a zoom planning meeting, and with the aid of Ken Findley and his Milltowner Center crew, it became a reality!

The small plaza at the corner of Saltzman and Dogwood was chosen as the location. The tree lighting celebration was originally planned for Saturday, December 10, but we learned that Insomnia Coffee was holding a Holiday Market on Sunday, and that was a great opportunity for synergy, so we changed the date to Sunday, December 11. Insomnia offered to provide coffee and hot water for hot drinks.

Beverly Hernandez and her son Liam designed a cute poster and she and other volunteers distributed them around the community.

The community donated plenty of funds for the event through a GoFundMe, so we purchased cocoa, cider mix, and cookies, along with the tree and the decorations. Third and fourth grade kids from Bonny Slope Elementary manned the refreshment table.

Chris found the perfect tree and he and a group of BSE dads did the decorating about a week before.

Lighting up the tree! Photo by Larry Walsh

Chris and I arrived early to get everything ready. We had a few moments of panic when the lights didn’t work, but Ken Findley showed up at that moment and provided an extra string and we were ready for the lighting ceremony. A group of enthusiastic kids helped me count down and it worked perfectly!

At least 300 neighbors attended! The little plaza was filled with folks in winter coats and hats on the frigid afternoon, but everyone stayed warm and joined in singing carols along with a group of Beverly Hernandez’ friends who led us.

One of our priorities was to collect donations for some local group. We all agreed that the Beaverton School District’s Clothes For Kids was a good choice. We put empty, wrapped boxes around the tree and they were soon filled to overflowing! We also gave folks an easy way to donate funds. We collected $200 in donations and a huge pile of clothing. When Mattocks dropped them off, he said, “The volunteers were blown away!” You can still donate funds here. Select the top option, Beaverton School District, and then choose Clothes for Kids.

Local realtor Megan Jumago-Simpson sponsored photographer Larry Walsh take photos that are now viewable and available for download on this Google Drive page. Were you there? We learned a lot from this initial effort and we’re sure to continue our new tradition!

The remaining funds from the GoFundMe will be used to kickstart the Cedar Mill Community Club. The energy and commitment of this small group of volunteers inspired it. We gained over 100 followers in the first few days that the Facebook Group was up. We’ll get to work on outreach beyond that in the upcoming weeks. We’re looking for ideas of how we can come together to create more community activities and events as a volunteer group, since we don’t have a city to help. If you’re interested and don’t use Facebook, send us an email!