PORTLAND, Ore. — If you've gone out searching for a Christmas tree this year, you've likely noticed they are in tight supply.
But local charities and nonprofits are working overtime to make sure you get your tree.
Business at the Boy Scout Troop 351 Christmas tree lot on Southeast Powell is good this year, although the scouts had to work a bit harder to find the trees.
"We were short 800 trees this year," said Assistant Scout Master Robert Schultz.
Normally, the troop orders all the trees it needs from local growers, but this year they could not get enough, so they went to work themselves.
"Yeah, our troop went out Saturday before last and cut down 200, and we’re scheduled to go out this Saturday and do another 600," he said.
Nonprofit organizations like the Boy Scouts or L'Arche Portland largely depend on their annual Christmas tree lots to fund their programs.
In order to cover the costs of the more expensive trees, L'Arche Portland raised the prices of its trees by about a dollar per foot this year. Boy Scout Troop 351 raised the price of some of its trees by about $5 per tree.
Not too bad, considering the troop had to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 more per tree.
"Our program has over 65 registered youth and we go rafting, snow shoeing, hiking, scout summer camp ... the lot pays for all of it," Schultz said.
In addition to slightly higher prices, the trees are also going fast which means a little bit more work and patience for buyers like Susie Moran.
"The two places I’ve been are already out of the kind of tree I like," she said. "I would say it's definitely more challenging, not sure what's going on with the tree farms but it looks like they're going to have to get some fast-growing ones."
According to Oregon State University Christmas Tree Specialist Chal Landgren, the Christmas tree shortage is the direct result of fewer tree growers in Oregon, about 400 fewer than 15 years ago.
And not only are tree growers closing down, they're not being replaced. New growers are opting instead to plant less labor-intensive crops.