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City branches out with tree programs

BPS E-News Issue 12 - June

With the adoption of the Citywide Tree Project, the City has a new and improved tool in its regulatory “toolbox” to protect and enhance Portland’s urban forest (see Susan Anderson’s message). But other bureaus, like Water, Parks and Environmental Services are already working to improve the tree canopy and further the goals of the Urban Forest Management Plan, through programs that plant more trees, control tree-harming invasive species, and educate residents about proper tree care.  

Portland’s trees not only enhance the landscape by managing stormwater, mitigating temperature, improving air quality, providing wildlife habitat, calming traffic and softening the city's sharp edges, studies have shown that trees in residential areas can also raise property resale values and in commercial areas encourage shoppers to browse longer and spend more.  

Trees hold water to reduce stormwater runoff, as well as filtering air pollutants and providing bird habitat. Trees stabilize soil to prevent erosion, provide shade and absorb carbon to reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Trees improve property values, and street trees can slow traffic, making streets safer for pedestrians, bike riders and motorists.

There are also many community-led urban forestry resources -- check out Tree Link.

Grey to Green: Transitioning to green infrastructure solutions

City Council approved the Grey to Green Initiative in 2008 to accelerate implementation of the Portland Watershed Management Plan. Investments in green infrastructure, such as bioswales, ecoroofs and green streets, improve watershed health and manage stormwater in a more natural, cost-effective way than sewers, drains and pipes. They also improve air quality, reduce energy consumption, enhance community livability and promote a variety of health benefits. A major component of the Grey to Green initiative is boosting the City's tree canopy by planting 83,000 trees.

Already, the Bureau of Environmental Services, in cooperation with public, nonprofit and neighborhood partners, has planted more than 23,000 new trees in Portland's streets, yards, highways and byways. “This is a great example of how the city and neighborhoods can work together successfully,” proclaimed Bob Pallesen, board member for the Concordia Neighborhood Association.

Thanks to the diverse set of partners, the Grey to Green initiative improves Portland's environment, invests in local green jobs, reaching all parts of the city. As the effort moves forward, the partners will continue to invest in Portland through citywide education and tree planting campaigns.

Where will you plant your tree? Check out to learn more.

Community Tree Inventory Initiative: Urban forestry helps neighbors take stock of their trees

There are nearly 1.5 million trees on streets and City-owned land, with even more trees on private lots. City Forester David McAllister recognizes that "it takes a village" to properly manage and improve this impressive tree canopy asset.

In 2010, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, Urban Forestry (UF) Division launched the Community Tree Inventory Initiative. Working with neighborhoods to inventory their street trees to identify existing tree resources and management issues helps the City and residents:

  • Determine the location, species, size and health of trees
  • Identify locations to plant new trees
  • Increase awareness of the important role trees play in making urban environments more livable
  • Engage residents to help care for and protect existing trees
  • Develop a Neighborhood Stewardship Plan
  • Forge a partnership with Urban Forestry

Grant funding provided through the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation Service supported a botanic specialist and her team to work with volunteers in the Concordia neighborhood to inventory and collect data on all street trees. Portland State University students have analyzed the data, which will inform Urban Forestry arborists' specific tree management recommendations.

Having completed an inventory of Concordia’s tree types and conditions, Urban Forestry is gearing up to conduct street tree inventories for Eastmoreland, Sellwood-Moreland, Kenton, Overlook and St. Johns neighborhoods in the summer of 2011. Information about the Concordia Tree Inventory results, as well as opportunities to volunteer for upcoming inventories are at

The Urban Forestry (UF) program, in Portland Parks and Recreation, plays a significant role in reaching the goals outlined in the Urban Forestry Management and Action plans.


More trees on tap for the Water Bureau

Established in 1895, the Portland Water Bureau has proudly served clean, cold and constant water to the residents of Portland. In addition to the Bull Run watershed, the Water Bureau manages facilities on numerous city properties. Planting and maintaining trees and removing invasive vegetation on these sites are just some of the ways the bureau is supporting the urban forest.

Powell Butte: At Powell Butte, the Water Bureau has already planted more than 900 trees. After completion of the new Powell Butte reservoir, the bureau will plant approximately 1,400 additional trees. These plantings will improve portions of the existing Douglas fir/Western red cedar forest, provide forest cover around existing wetland areas, and establish an oak savannah landscape. This, along with the extensive planting of native ground cover plants, is expected to significantly enhance the wildlife habitat value of the butte, support migrating bird populations, improve carbon sequestration, and contribute to the natural environment of Portland. In addition, the Water Bureau partners with Portland Parks and Recreation on removal of invasive plants from the butte.

Kelly Butte: The bureau is developing plans to restore native vegetation as well by creating an oak savannah habitat on the south side of the butte and enhancing the Douglas fir/hemlock forest on the north side of Kelly Butte. This will provide habitat and environmental benefits similar to those at Powell Butte.

HydroParks: HydroParks are Water Bureau facilities that also serve as neighborhood greenspaces. In 2009, the Water Bureau partnered with Friends of Trees to plant 15 trees at Gilbert HydroPark, 48 trees at Hazelwood (including a demonstration fruit tree orchard of 17 trees next to the community garden), and two at Sabin HydroPark through volunteer neighborhood tree plantings. The Bureau is also removing invasive English ivy at many HydroPark sites.

Bull Run Watershed: Most of Portland’s water comes from the Bull Run Watershed, where the Water Bureau has an active invasive species control and monitoring program. Winter surveys of invasive English ivy and clematis (traveler’s joy) are conducted, with invasive plants being removed where possible. Defoliating insects, such as gypsy moth and mountain pine beetle, are also tracked, though they are not widely established in the area. Trees, shrubs and groundcover are planted in areas disturbed for construction projects. All of these actions help to protect the canopy and the natural ecosystem benefits to our city's water system.

Sustainable Business Spotlight: Viking Motel

BPS E-News Issue 12 - June

North Interstate motel goes green with help from BEST Business Center and Portland Development Commission

When Hari Karia bought the Viking Motel on North Interstate in 1978, the mid-century motel provided lodging for nearby shipyard employees. Today, the MAX train takes guests from the motel’s front door straight to downtown, past growing neighborhoods and businesses on North Interstate Avenue.  

While Hari greets guests and checks them into Viking Motel, his wife and three children have worked alongside him to support the family business. Because the whole family recognizes the immediate cost savings and environmental benefits of sustainability, the father and son long ago implemented simple practices such as energy-efficient lighting, recycling and low-flow shower heads.

This year, Hari turned to BEST Business Center for free evaluation of their operations and recommendations for sustainable improvements. Because substantial changes require significant up-front investment for small-business owners, the Karia family was pleased to discover their eligibility for Portland Development Commission’s Green Features Grants program, which provides grants for small businesses to achieve greener operations in designated urban renewal areas such as the Interstate Corridor.

“Working with BEST took a lot of confusion out of creating a sustainability plan for the Viking Motel,” said Hari Karia. “When you’re caught up thinking about business, you miss glaring opportunities for sustainable improvements and you don’t know where to start. BEST business consultants looked at our parking lot and saw immediate potential for stormwater reduction – something we never would have thought of on our own.”   

While BEST consultants helped Hari create a sustainability plan, the Green Features Grants program makes implementation possible by allowing the motel to invest in new sustainable technologies and make big changes.

“The BEST Business Center promotes sustainability across all industries, not just in businesses we typically associate with green practices,” says BEST Business Consultant Genevieve Joplin. “By making the Viking Motel a leader in sustainable practices, the Karias can impact other small businesses while gaining community recognition and reaching new clients.”  

Are you a Portland businesses seeking similar assistance? Get started with a visit to

From our director, Susan Anderson: Trees! Trees! Trees!

BPS E-News Issue 12 - June

In April, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted the Citywide Tree Project, milestone legislation to protect and enhance the city's urban forest. Portland's new tree rules will help preserve large healthy trees, while ensuring that new trees are planted as development takes place and old trees are replaced when they are removed.

Trees beautify our neighborhoods, enhance property values and support our local business districts. A large and robust tree canopy is essential to clean our air and water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as called for in Portland’s Climate Action Plan.

Collaboration and Innovation

The Citywide Tree Project represents some of the most extensive collaborative work the City and this bureau have undertaken to date. The project began as a response to residents in Southwest and East Portland neighborhoods who were concerned about the loss of trees to development. Builders and developers were also frustrated with sometimes inconsistent or rigid codes related to trees.

To address these concerns, City Council launched the Citywide Tree Project, assigning the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to lead the project. The Bureaus of Parks and Recreation, Development Services, Environmental Services, Transportation and Water were active partners in developing a new response to tree regulation and improving customer service. The bureaus worked closely with the community to design a reasonable and equitable system to clarify the rules and enhance Portland’s urban forest. Portland’s Urban Forestry Commission, Planning and Sustainability Commission, and City Council worked closely with staff and community stakeholders to hone the proposal into one that works for both Portland residents and developers alike.

What’s New?

The project resulted in several key actions:

  • Create a new single point of contact for tree questions and publish a tree manual to make it easier for Portland residents and businesses to get the information and answers they need.
  • Establish new standards to improve tree preservation and planting on development sites, and create a streamlined, standardized permit system for tree removal.
  • Replace the City’s existing street tree pruning permit with a free “self-issued” permit that property owners can obtain online.
  • Consolidate the tree rules into a single new code title – Title 11, Trees.
  • The City will phase the project over a 3-year period to provide additional public information, education and assistance.

The Tree Project demonstrates the value of collaboration – City government, developers, residents, businesses and environmentalists all coming together to improve the system and ensure Portland has a healthy and dynamic tree canopy far into the future.

The Tree Project is just one of many efforts that City bureaus are making to enhance our community. See related story here.

All the best,


Susan Anderson
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Updates from our Solid Waste and Recycling Program

BPS E-News Issue 12 - June

2011-2012 Curbside Collection Rates

Every year, the City sets residential garbage, recycling and yard debris collection rates based on a thorough evaluation of what it costs to provide these services to residents. Starting on July 1, 2011, rates for all Portland residential customers, including food scrap pilot households, will increase due to higher costs for landfill disposal and increased fuel and equipment costs, including lower-emission trucks.

Most residents will see an increase about of about 60 cents (2 percent) on their monthly bill. If you have questions about your rate or service level, please contact your garbage and recycling company.

Curbside Collection E-Schedule

The City of Portland is proud to announce that your recycling, yard debris and garbage schedules are now available online through Portland Maps!

This new web tool allows you to check your collection schedule online and even download a calendar reminder to your computer or mobile device.

To access the Curbside Collection E-Schedule, visit


Compost bins: Discover new bin sizes, styles for home composting

Location: MetroPaint Store on Swan Island
4825 N Basin Avenue, Portland
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Learn more about Metro’s composting resources at




Events: Join BPS staff and volunteers at community events this summer

Good in the Neighborhood
Saturday, June 25, 12 - 9:30 p.m.
King School Park, NE 6th Ave. & Humboldt St.

Sunday Parkways North
Sunday, June 26, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Route connecting Peninsula, Arbor Lodge, Kenton, and McCoy Parks, plus the Willamette Bluff.

Sundown at Ecotrust Summer Concert Series
Thursdays, June 30–July 28, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. 721 NW 9th Ave.

Mississippi Street Fair
Saturday, July 9, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
North Mississippi Ave. from Fremont St. to Skidmore St.

Sunday Parkways NW/ Downtown
Sunday, July 24, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Route connecting downtown, Old Town/Chinatown, Pearl District and Northwest neighborhoods.

East Portland Expo
Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Ed Benedict Community Park, SE 100th Ave. & Powell Blvd.

Build It Green! Home Tour’s Info Fair
Saturday, September 24, 2011, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
EcoHaus, 819 SE Taylor Street

CC2035 Symposium Series Completion, N/NE Quadrant Open House

BPS E-News Issue 12 - June

Central City 2035 (CC2035) will complete its twelve-part symposium series with Historic Resources as the final integrated theme under discussion on June 17. The symposiums have featured a wide spectrum of participants sharing valuable ideas and perspectives on themes such as mobility, housing and community development and economic vitality. CC2035 is an update to 1988 Central City Plan, and will guide the future of the Central City for the next 25 years. The results of the discussions provide direction for CC2035 in developing draft goals and an overall Draft Concept Plan, which is expected to be completed in late summer or early fall. Next steps are gathering all of the results of the past few months and setting goals and a direction for CC2035.

N/NE Quadrant Open House on June 29

Meanwhile, the N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans have been gathering ideas from numerous public events and meetings, and project staff have now developed land use and transportation concepts to illustrate how the area could develop over time. These will be featured at an open house on June 29.

The intent of the open house is to share the current work being done and allow for any public input or general feedback. The open house will be held on June 29, from 4:30pm-6:30pm, at the Metro Council Chambers. This project is a joint effort between BPS, PBOT and ODOT.

Some of these concepts involve proposals for open spaces, green systems, options that emphasize the growth of different uses (residential, employment and entertainment, or a residential/employment blend), and transportation system improvements for the quadrant, as well as specific options for the I-5 Broadway/Weidler Interchange area.

This project seeks to realize the potential of the N/NE Quadrant area, which includes Lower Albina and the Lloyd District. There is tremendous capacity for dynamic and vibrant growth within these areas, and a number of options are on the table for guiding the future development of the N/NE Quadrant of the Central City.

For more information about the June 29 Open House event, contact Stephanie Beckman, City Planner, 503-823-6042 or; or Todd Juhasz, ODOT, 503-731-4753 or