Eugene Forester leads ODF program to help cities improve urban forests

One of Eugene’s former urban foresters has taken on a new statewide role overseeing state partnerships with cities to expand their canopies and plan their landscapes to be resilient in the face of harsher regional climate.

Scott Altenhoff, formerly an urban forestry management analyst for the City of Eugene’s Parks and Open Spaces Division, has taken over as head of the Forest Department’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. Oregon in June. He replaced Kristin Ramstad, who retired after more than 30 years at ODF, according to a press release.

Altenhoff now leads a team to help communities in Oregon plan and develop their local urban forests.

“The vast majority of these communities are much smaller and don’t have the dedicated staff and budget to really do what’s necessary to grow and maintain a healthy urban forest,” Altenhoff said. “I will coordinate a team of community foresters who will work in the field, make frequent visits and help these communities.”

Eugene has employed Altenhoff to maintain and expand his urban forest since 2005. He has been involved in efforts to expand the city’s canopy coverage, with these projects aimed at equitable temperatures across the city, improving outcomes health care for residents and to repopulate Eugene’s depleted tree stock with climate change. -cash adjusted.

Altenhoff’s duties in Eugene included strategic planning, capacity building, coalition building and public outreach.

Altenhoff participated in Eugene’s urban forestry program at a time when the city was increasing its interest in their work and devoting more resources to it, allowing for more proactive management around replacement and pruning.

“The thing I’m most proud of – and I can’t take credit for it, but I played a small part – was making a proactive pruning cycle a reality, where in 10 years we can go through the whole inventory of trees. Before that, it was just a pipe dream,” he said. “If I had one thing to focus on with these 240 communities what we’re going to achieve would be to get them to think proactively and work towards a proactive management approach.”

After:New software shows Eugene losing fewer trees than thought

Prior to working with the City of Eugene, Altenhoff spent 13 years as a commercial arborist and forest surveyor throughout the Pacific Northwest. He taught arboriculture at Linn-Benton Community College in the early 2000s.

Altenhoff holds a graduate certificate in urban forestry from Oregon State University. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Board Certified Master Arborist, Municipal Specialist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor.

He is also past president of the Society of Municipal Arborists and sits on the National Steering Committee of the National Urban Timber Network. Altenhoff also co-chairs the board of Canopy Watch International.

Ramstad was part of the panel that picked Altenhoff to replace her.

After:Parts of Eugene remain heat islands, but more city departments consider thermal disparities when planning

“Scott has a long-standing interest in helping people better understand and appreciate trees and urban forests. He is particularly keen to share the science showing the human health benefits of contact with nature in the built environment,” Ramstad said in a press release. “He is passionate about helping communities deal with issues such as ensuring an equitable distribution of these benefits by planning for adequate tree cover in every neighborhood.”

Altenhoff said he plans to continue living in Eugene with his family. He will travel to Salem as he steps into his role and will spend a lot of time traveling to different communities in Oregon, but expects to do some remote work in Eugene.

Contact journalist Adam Duvernay at [email protected] Follow @DuvernayOR on Twitter.

Ryan H. Bowman