Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

It’s Winter, It Must Be Time For a Palm Tree Ride

Posted by on January 18th, 2008 at 10:31 am

Ride poster illustrated
by ride leader Shawn Granton.

Shawn Granton is an urban history renaissance man who delights in sharing Portland’s backroads.

He’s well known in bike circles for his monthly Pedal Potluck Picnics, theater history rides, and illustration talents that have graced countless ride and event posters over the years.

This Sunday he’s leading his annual Wintertime Palm Tree Ride that scours Portland’s alleys and side streets in search of rare and tropical trees.

As a former Californian, I’ve got a soft spot for palm trees and I jumped at the chance to join Granton and a hearty bunch of folks on last year’s edition of the ride.

Wintertime Palm Tree Ride

Under a monkey puzzle tree
at last year’s ride.
(Photo Β© Jonathan Maus)_

Not only did I learn some new routes around town (Granton knows the streets like the back of his hand), but to this day, my daughters and I point out monkey puzzle trees (which Granton told us have been around since the dinosaurs) whenever we see one.

So grab some friends, bundle up, and learn some fun facts while you pedal around Portland peering pretty palms.


    Wintertime Palm Tree Ride
    Led by Shawn Granton
    Sunday, January 20th at 11am
    Meet at Hawthorne Hostel (3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd.)
    More information here

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  • McAngryPants January 18, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Great back story on the Monkey Puzzle trees…The seeds arrived in Portland with a Chilean delegate in 1904 when the young city hosted a world’s fair, the Lewis and Clark Exposition. Fair goers received seeds as a gift from Chile (where they are native).

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  • McAngryPants January 18, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    grrr…Portland\’s World\’s Fair was in 1905

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  • Tasha January 18, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    This looks fun. And I think it\’s supposed to be somewhat sunny on \”Sun\” day – yay!

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  • Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com January 18, 2008 at 3:30 pm


    Yes, but ground breaking for the fair was in 1904, and for whatever reason, the 1904-1905 period seems to be considered as a two-year-long world\’s fair by many locals:


    It may have something to do with the fact that it was actually the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition, and they spent the winter of 1804-1805 in the Pacific NW, so the centennial expo would necessarily also span two years to cover the winter?

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  • Carl January 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Garlynn and McAngryPants,
    Granton would be very pleased with your trivia sticklerhood. I\’m sure you just made his day.

    Know what\’s gonna make MY day? Riding the Palm Tree Ride in shorts on a beach cruiser. Yeah, I said it! Where Granton and I come from, palm trees only grow on travel agents\’ calendars. Let\’s see some festive shorts, Granton. Saw a Fed Ex driver today with bare knees…

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  • destin January 18, 2008 at 4:49 pm


    did not see photos the palm trees and tropical in our front garden at our house on SE 16th between washington and stark πŸ™‚


    palms make me happy πŸ˜€

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  • destin January 18, 2008 at 5:18 pm


    i did not see photos the palm trees and tropicals from our front garden of our house on SE 16th between washington and stark πŸ™‚


    palms make me happy πŸ˜€

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  • McAngryPants January 18, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    @Carl…shorts?!! that\’s just crazy talk. Actually, I\’m just mostly concerned about my toes and fingers…if anything else is cold, I\’m not riding hard enough. but fingers and toes…fingers and toes…

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  • Jim Labbe January 20, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Ugh. Palm Tree Ride!? Don\’t Calfornicate Oregon!… At least not in that way!

    Many great things in Oregon have come from California (including Jonathon Maus)… but palm trees are one of them, IMO.

    They distort our sense of place in the Pacific Northwest, are a surrender to climate change, and are really shotty at reducing stormwater run-off!

    That said, anything led by Shawn Granton will sure be fun and informative.


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  • Antonio Gramsci January 20, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    But Jim..
    I don\’t think the point here is to plant palm trees, is it? Isn\’t it just to look at them?

    It\’s fun to explore our urban environment in both its grandeur and squalor, its tawdry and elegant aspects, and doesn\’t imply we want to spread the squalid or the tawdry.

    Just like Hearst\’s Castle is a garish, tasteless display of conspicuous consumption that I can luridly enjoy from afar without necessarily aspiring to become a robber baron billionaire myself.

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  • destin January 20, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Don\’t be a hater

    No one is forcing your botonical proclivities
    Tropicals do quite well here, ours were planted decades before we bought the house. However it is all a matter of preference. I am not the type to snub anyones choice of fauna and flora. I am quite pleased that we all live in a green and varied place.

    :: I heart variety ::

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  • destin January 21, 2008 at 12:59 am

    I hope I did not sound abrasive in the above comment.
    Twas not my intention πŸ˜‰

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  • David January 21, 2008 at 10:42 am

    This is a for whatever it\’s worth. I\’ve got a California buckeye (Aesculus californica)growing in my back yard in Lents! It\’s about 15 yrs old now. Seed was obtained at Petrolia, Humboldt Co at the northern end of it\’s range. It bloomed for the first time last year. It is one of the few – if only one – of it\’s kind in Portland. Not much to look at right now though.

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