From tree to tree, neighboring kids in SE Portland find creative way to stay connected

Children in southeast Portland talking from their "social trees." (KPTV)

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Kids across the metro area are now well into their second week at home, and for some, that might lead to social isolation or cabin fever – but not in one southeast Portland neighborhood.

That’s where 10-year-old Lily Rem is making a near-daily routine of climbing up into the tree in her front yard to connect with her friends, who climb up into a neighboring tree some 15 feet away.

“We realized it’s really hard to keep them physically apart, so we just came up with the idea of a place where they could hang out, but they can’t physically get close to each other,” her mother, Sabrina Rem, told FOX 12.

Long before COVID-19, Rem said her daughter would always be up in the trees hanging out with her friends.

Now that her friends have to be farther away, the tree outside their fence has been dubbed “The Social Tree” – complete with hand sanitizer tied to the limbs.

“There’s a bell there they can ring and then I can hear it from inside the house,” Lily said. “There is some hand sanitizer stuck on the tree where they can wash their hands before and after they sit, and we can just talk to each other from the trees.”

It’s a creative way to stay connected, especially because social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation.

“They stay up here for sometimes an hour just talking,” Sabrina said. “I feel like it’s helping them understand there’s a seriousness and yet they don’t have to be scared. They can still maintain their friendships; they can still maintain some sense of normalcy.”

RELATED: Camas neighbors celebrate girl’s 6th birthday after party canceled due to COVID-19

If your family is finding creative ways to stay connected with each other, your neighbors or community, let us know at FOX 12 Oregon.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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