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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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1/8/2008 Linfield College's Old Oak topples

press image Linfield College's Old Oak tree, one of the most recognized landmarks on campus, crashed to the ground today, January 8.

The Oregon White Oak tree, estimated to be some 250 years old, toppled toward the Linfield Oak Grove, burying the senior bench in the soggy ground. No one was injured and the concrete bench appears undamaged.

Howard Leichter, professor of political science, heard the tree fall from his office in Pioneer Hall, located 50 feet from the tree.

"I heard a big rumbling sound, as if there might have been some sort of accident," he said. "When I looked from my fire escape, the limbs were still vibrating. It looked as if it didn't even have a root system."

Leichter has enjoyed the view of the oak from his Pioneer office for 27 years and said it will be missed.

"It was an iconic piece of Linfield," he added.

The tree had been in failing health for years, due to a combination of age, summer irrigation, fertilization, mowing and continuous activities under the tree. In addition, a recent infestation of carpenter worms added to the distress. Linfield worked with an arborist and tree consultant to prolong the life of the Old Oak.

No plans have yet been made for use of the wood.

Memories of the old oak and suggestions for use of the wood can be emailed to

See Story in the Oregonian