The tree people

Boone Noble

Photo By Tom Angel

Boone Noble, a 22-year-old student at ITT Technical Institute in Portland, Ore., comes down every weekend to help the family out at their tree lot. Noble & Sons Trees has been selling Christmas trees from the same location on Mangrove for the past 17 years and also has a location at the fairgrounds. Noble and his family do all of the work—growing, cutting and hauling the trees on two semis all the way from their tree farm in Molalla, just south of Portland.

It’s basically just you and the family?

Yup, it’s just a family business. And eventually, when my dad retires, either me or my little brother will take over and make sure it keeps on going. It’s fun. Everyone’s in the Christmas spirit, and it’s fun dealing with people.

When do you get everything set up?

We usually try to get everything set up and prepared by Thanksgiving every year because we’ve had people on Thanksgiving Day come and want a tree to get ready for Christmas.

What’s the height range of your trees?

The highest tree we’ve gotten is like 16 or 17 feet, I think. Yeah, they’re pretty big trees. And the smallest, like two feet. It just depends on what you want.

How long are you guys going to be out here?

Usually we try to stay until we sell all the trees. I think the latest we’ve stayed here is Christmas Day, but the past seven or eight years we’ve been staying until Dec. 22.

When do you start knocking the prices down?

We’ll start knocking them down within a week of Christmas or a week and a half, because 80-90 percent of people already have their trees, and we just want to get rid of them.

What’s the lowest you’ve gone on a tree?

Every once in a while we’ll get a tree that has a lot of character to it, if you know what I mean. And just to get rid of it we might do it for it for like $20, if it’s like a 6- to 8-foot tree. It just depends on the tree. But a normal Noble will probably go for maybe $30 to $40.

How do you like living out of a camper?

It gets kind of old after a while. Once you get home it’s kind of nice to be in your own old-time bed, but it’s good enough.

Do you eat a lot of McDonald’s?

We try to. We do at first. Then as the days go by we get kind of tired of it and then we’ll order some pizza from Mountain Mike’s. Every once in a while we’ll go to Round Table. … Starbucks, we do a lot of Starbucks.