I just love when a good news story comes along and I love to be able to share it with you. So first the background thanks to Capi Lynn at the Statesman Journal in Salem:
Shortly after that story came out I received an email from a constituent:
Dear Rep. Post,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Gone to Pieces Quilt Guild. We have been working on a fourteen foot diameter Christmas Tree Skirt for the US Department of Agriculture. The Capitol Christmas Tree and the smaller trees for various offices in DC are coming out of the Willamette National Forrest out of Sweet Home, Oregon. Each of these 70+ trees are accompanied by a tree skirt and ornaments. The 20 foot Douglas Fir for the US Department of Agriculture’s headquarters is being accompanied by our 14 foot tree skirt.
The Tree Skirt has been a project of ours sense April. We designed it to be a wagon wheel with each wedge between the spokes depicting different aspects of Oregon. Wedges depict Timberline Lodge, the Columbia River, Crater Lake, Haystack Rock and the Beach, The Lighthouses on the Coast, Our Native Tribes, the Pendleton Round Up and the John Day Fossil Beds, The Symbols of Oregon, The Symbol of the Capitol Tree, The Wine country, and a Signature wedge of everyone who put at least a stitch in it. We had the Tree Skirt at the Yamhill County Fair and were hand quilting parts of it there and let anyone who wanted to to put a few stitches in it. It has become a real community effort.
The reason I’m letting you know about this effort is that after Christmas, we would like the Tree Skirt to come back to us. In the past most of the tree skirts are put in archival storage and are rarely put on display again. They have never asked for a 14 foot tree skirt before and we feel we have put too much effort in to this one for it to be put away, forgotten. What we would like you to do, if you are willing, would be to use your influence to ask for the Tree Skirt back. We would love for it to be used in Oregon’s Capitol in Christmas 2019. There are a few quilt stores who have provided support for the project would also love a chance to display it. After 2019 we hope to find an appropriate museum that would take care of it and display it.
I am attaching some photos of the Tree Skirt so you can see what I am talking about. If you would like to see it in person, the Tree Skirt will be at the Oregon State Fair.
Thank you for your time reading this.
Here are a couple of pictures of the skirt as it’s being quilted
Needless to say, I was quite concerned about this. I mean why the heck put this skirt into a vault somewhere never to be seen again? So I immediately informed Capi that it might be a good story for her and I went to the United States Forest Service:
I received the email below from a constituent and I think they have a great idea that I hope we can address.
Please let me know if I can help in any way.
Representative Bill Post
House District 25
I had forwarded Sarah’s email from above. Soon after I received this email from the Forest Service:
The tradition has been to NOT have any of the handmade items- ornaments or tree skirts returned to the Host State.
That being said give me a few days to try and identify a person in the USDA office that can aide in this request to return the tree skirt.
I should have a response for you next week.
I have always despised in any setting the old “that’s the way we’ve always done it”! So I replied:
Thank you for getting back to me….I’m one who has never liked “that’s the way we’ve always done it”….LOL! So, I would love to start a new tradition!
Well this morning I found this email I had been cc’d on in my inbox:
I have been informed that we should be able to get your tree skirt returned. I will be your point of contact for the tree skirt return effort. I have been in contact with the Public Affairs Specialist in D.C. and they are searching out a contact in the USDA executive services area that will take responsibility for boxing and shipping the skirt back to you in January 2019.
Can you please supply me with an address that you would like the tree skirt returned to?
P.S. I’m supper excited about this, I know it will look great at the base of the USDA Tree, your guild has really put a lot of thought and hard work into this beautiful tree skirt!!! I look forward to seeing the skirt at the State Fair in a few weeks when I’m up there working at our ornament making both.
Now we just have to hope all goes as planned and we get that skirt back for Christmas 2019! Thanks to Sarah and her friends for their hard work, Capi for a great story and to Ron at the Forest Service for “changing” a tradition! THIS is why I like what I do!