A trifecta of transportation partners will see that the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree safely makes its way from Oregon to West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the 2018 holiday season. An annual gift to the nation, this year’s tree will come from the Willamette National Forest with support from nonprofit Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon. This is the first time the tree has come from the Willamette and the second time from the state.
The tree will be cut on the Sweet Home Ranger District in early November and prepared for the 3,000-mile expedition. The coast-to-coast journey will trace the Oregon Trail in reverse and include a series of community celebrations throughout Oregon and across the United States. The journey will culminate with the official tree lighting on the West Lawn in early December.
Eugene-based Papé Kenworth is the presenting sponsor of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program. Founded in 1938, Papé is a fourth-generation, family-owned business with more than 90 locations and 2,700 team members. Papé serves the capital equipment needs of the trucking, construction, forestry, agriculture, warehousing, and material handling industries throughout the West.
“We are thrilled to help bring the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program to life,” said Susie Papé, Board Chair of The Papé Group Inc. Dave Laird, President of Papé Kenworth added, “We look forward to being a part of this annual year-long celebration and sharing a piece of Oregon heritage with the nation.”
Central Oregon Truck Company (COTC) of Redmond will haul the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. For the past five years, drivers have nominated COTC as Best Fleets to Drive For®, for providing the best workplace experience. It also won the competition for the 2018 Best Fleets to Drive For – Best Overall Fleet for Small Carrier and have been named to the Top 20 in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 competitions. COTC was designated one of the 2018 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon and 2015 Top Workplaces. CEO Rick Williams and longtime partner Phil Taylor will drive much of the way, with plans to include some tenured drivers for special legs of the trip.
“It is an honor to be selected to carry the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and to represent the great state of Oregon during the tree’s journey to Washington, D.C.,” said Rick Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Central Oregon Truck Company. “Hauling this precious cargo and the joy it brings to Americans across the country will certainly be one of the most memorable loads of lifetime.”
Kenworth Truck Company is a fifth-year sponsor of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program. A specially-decaled Kenworth truck will transport the 54th U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. “Kenworth is proud to once again play a part of delivering the ‘People’s Tree’ to our nation’s Capitol,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The cross-country tour offers the opportunity for people to see this national symbol of celebration, and a Kenworth is the right truck for this important job.”
Additional transportation partners include SkyBitz, Truckload Carriers Association, Pilot Flying J Travel Centers, Hale Trailer, Eaton and Permit Wizard, in addition to local and national partners including Alaska Airlines, Axis Crane, Eugene Emeralds Baseball Club, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, and the Willamette Valley Visitors Association.
“The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong partnerships throughout Oregon and beyond state lines,” said Bruce Ward, President of Choose Outdoors, non-profit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. “We’re grateful for the time and resources these invaluable partners are providing to help make this the best tour to date.”