Moving the Crescent City Christmas tree's location may raise andquot;bah humbugsandquot; now, but in the long run it's for the best.
A new tree will be planted at the corner of Third and K streets within the next few days. For some time, the city's Christmas tree had been located in the same downtown parking lot but tucked away from the corner.
There's little doubt that old tree needed to be replaced. Its top is missing, making it an unsightly candidate for a civic Christmas tree. Such a tree may be fine for Charlie Brown, but a community that takes pride in itself and is trying to attract visitors shouldn't settle for third rate. We don't have to be gaudy like Snoopy's decorated doghouse, but we should have something that we can be proud of.
The big issue in all of the discussion about replacing the tree is if the city should pull out the old topless one or plant a new one in a better location. The latter definitely is preferable, even if it may cost a few parking spaces.
The new location will make the tree more visible from Hwy. 101. That allows more of the community and travelers passing through to enjoy it. After all, the ability to see the old tree was limited to those already downtown. The new location should ensure the tree serves its dual purpose: creating community pride and attracting visitors to the downtown retail area.
To maximize the impact, the new tree also needs to be larger. The city filled that bill, purchasing a 20-25 foot tall Giant Sequoia, which will stand taller and wider than the current topless pine. With the added height and more space for lights and decorations, the tree should be visible from a longer distance.
Perhaps what is best about the new tree, though, is the spirit of cooperation coming out of the effort to get it here. Sure, there were disagreements during the discussions, but men and and women of good conscience can overcome that. Indeed, a local trucking firm has agreed to haul the sequoia for free from a nursery near Portland. And a local energy company will provide free guide wires to ensure the newly planted tree remains stable. Those efforts will save the city about a couple grand.
Of course, a tree alone won't bring people to downtown. Decorated store windows and street corners also are needed to give shoppers holiday cheer. But a grander tree in a better location is a step in the right direction. And it might just be enough to make a Grinch's heart grow just a little larger.