Meet the Team: Allison O’Sullivan

Local author and Hoyt Arboretum neighbor Phyllis Reynolds interviews Hoyt Arboretum’s staff to introduce you to the people who make up Hoyt Arboretum’s team. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Allison O’Sullivan, Horticulturist at Hoyt Arboretum, who started working at the Arboretum in the spring of 2021.

Born and reared in San Antonio, Allison has free-ranged over much of the world since Texas. She’s a Stanford graduate with a major in anthropological science/archeology. She chose Stanford because it’s in California and so are redwoods, which intrigued her. But soon she was in Peru on a dig; however, while digging she became more interested in agriculture/farms than what was underground. After Peru came two years in the Peace Corps in Ghana.

Allison came to Portland to work at Zenger Farm, a non-profit organic educational farming organization in southeast Portland and because her partner, Martha, would be attending Pacific University. Soon Allison’s interest in trees took her to an arboriculture program at Clackamas Community College, where she also became a certified arborist. In 2018 she began work with Portland Parks & Recreation, with a horticulture portfolio in the North Portland section.

Before Allison came to work at Hoyt (she has been here since spring), she had visited many times, finding the Magnolia Trail and the Winter Garden especially nice.

Home is in Damascus, where she and Martha have lived for a year on a 1.25-acre farm with orchards of cherry trees and Asian pears, six hens, a torty cat, and a dog of border collie/Australian shepherd mix (the cat and the dog are good friends), and space for gardening. When I suggested it was a long ride for her to and from work, she answered that it was worth it—they love their digs.

Allison’s reply to my magic wand question for the Arboretum: two Martins, two Vinnys, two Allisons, ie, more staff.

Phyllis is a Portland native who has written two books about Portland trees and a history of Hoyt Arboretum. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

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