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Tree project goes to City Hall

Portlanders are surrounded by stunning natural beauty and many residents enjoy the city’s canopy of trees. But did you know that trees in your neighborhood actually increase property resale value, help reduce crime and improve mental and physical health? These are just some of the reasons why the City — in partnership with neighborhoods leaders, developers, arborists and others — has been working to foster the long-term health of our trees through the Citywide Tree Project, which goes before City Council in early February 2011.  

Inspired by community residents concerned about preserving neighborhood trees and making the Portland’s tree regulations more consistent, City Council launched the Citywide Tree Project in 2007. Council directed city bureaus to work up a proposal to make Portland’s tree rules more understandable, consistent and effective in protecting and enhancing this valuable natural asset. Now, after extensive collaboration with stakeholders and between City bureaus — and unanimous approval by Portland Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission — the Citywide Tree Project Recommended Report will soon be published for City Council consideration and adoption.

Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2010, at 6 p.m. (time certain) in City Council chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave.

The Citywide Tree Project will establish a cohesive, consistent regulatory framework for trees in Portland — a framework that will protect and enhance the urban forest and support the City’s environmental, social and economic sustainability goals by:

  • Consolidating tree regulations under a new single tree code (Title 11, Trees).
  • Standardizing and streamlining Portland’s tree permit system, and creating a simpler permit process for homeowners.
  • Improving standards for tree preservation and planting when development is proposed, without causing undue increases in permitting timelines or development costs.
  • Improving customer service with a new 24-hour tree hotline, single point of contact for public inquiries, community tree manual and an online tree permit tracking system.
  • Generating more than 100 acres of future tree canopy per year through improved tree preservation and planting requirements.


The Citywide Tree Project proposal includes estimated costs and a budget to fund administration and enforcement of the updated regulations and the customer service improvements. A phased implementation strategy is proposed to provide time for public outreach, development of the tree manual and other informational materials. Project implementation is also tied to City budget stabilization, but the majority of the ongoing implementation costs can be supported through modest development fee increases.

The Citywide Tree Project Recommended Report to City Council will be published in mid-December and posted at www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject. The City will also be holding a public meeting to go over the project proposal and answer questions in early-mid January. If you have questions or are interested in being on the project mailing list, please notify project staff at BPSCTP@portlandoregon.gov.