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Busy street now recognized as ‘Avenue of Oaks’

Southeast 8th Avenue has been renamed to draw attention to Oak Harbor’s namesake trees.

A local group hopes people driving on Southeast Eighth Avenue will appreciate a series of signs atop the street signs meant to draw attention to Oak Harbor’s namesake trees.

The “Avenue of the Oaks” aims to highlight the Garry oaks, or Quercus garryana, that grow throughout the city. Many Garry oaks line Southeast Eighth Avenue, which is why the Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society picked it for the designation.

It took about a year and a half to raise funds and design the light brown signs that feature a tree’s silhouette in the middle.

The signs were installed in September. Oak Harbor City Council granted the street its honorary name this spring.

The group was formed in 2015 with the aim of preserving the history of the Garry oaks, as well as the trees themselves, through education and outreach.

Dr. Richard Lansdale gave Oak Harbor its name after seeing the gnarled trees by the bay in 1851, according to the group, and next year will be the 170th anniversary of the naming.

“By naming the street the Avenue of the Oaks approaching this important anniversary, it just helps to tie everything together and draw attention to that,” said Laura Renninger, president of the Garry Oak Society.

She said she hopes drivers will slow down to appreciate the trees.

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