A Shady Cove tradition literally fell apart when the 125-year-old "Sandal Tree" split in half with part of the tree crashing down at the Rogue Rafting Company at Rogue River Drive and Highway 62. The oak tree recognized by residents and rafters as the tree with hundreds of pairs of sandals and river shoes dangling from its limbs, fell Sunday, August 5 at 5:30 a.m. waking David Logan, an employee who lives on the property.
Logan said a loud cracking noise woke him. He found the front door blocked by the huge tree, although the building itself had sustained no damage. Because of the hour, Logan said he went back to bed and notified the owners at 7:30 a.m.
Owners, Carolee and Dennis Enriquez and son Devon Stephenson, rushed to
the scene. Carolee Enriquez said they were "totally booked" for raft
trips that Sunday and had to get the downed portion of the tree moved
in a hurry. The community pitched in and got the parking lot cleared of
debris in time for regular business hours. Many of the volunteers
brought saws, she said.
Greg Joelson, owner of the Edgewater
Inn located across the street, assisted in the cleanup aided by Josh
Walters, head of maintenance at the Rogue River R.V. Park, also owned
by Joelson. Desk clerk Sandie Hight, who had alerted Joelson and
Walters, said there were quite a few other people also helping out.
next day on Monday, Stefan Gala, owner of a tree removal company, cut
down the second half of the tree. Graham Wilson, an arborist employed
by Gala said, "The tree had years and years of parking on the roots,
causing a compacting that finally caused root rot." The parking lot is
situated over the roots.
The tradition of hanging shoes in
the tree began about six years ago. Ciara Stephenson, daughter and
granddaughter of the owners, suggested hanging them on the tree because
the company was storing a large number of shoes left behind by rafters.
Ciara was ten-years-old at the time, Stephenson said.
it is a tradition, people now demand for their shoes be thrown up into
the tree. Some are even signed with names and dates. There were shoes
from all over the world hanging in the "Sandal Tree," said Stephenson.
often asked if they could have shoes from the tree. Stephenson says the
standard reply was, "If you can get them out." And people were told not
to throw anything else into the tree because it would bring bad luck.
The superstition seemed to work because only shoes hung in the tree, he
The collection of shoes will soon be dangling again.
Two trees on the property (to the left of the building) will be the new
"Sandal Trees." Although the trees are not as large as the stately Oak,
in time they will grow too. And meanwhile, the fun tradition will live
on in this small town with the slogan, "and a river runs through it."
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent