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Chapter 11.40 Tree Permit Requirements (No Associated Development)


11.40.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this Chapter is to manage, conserve and enhance the urban forest when development activity is neither proposed nor occurring. The provisions of this Chapter encourage preservation of high quality trees, large trees, and groves; regulate pruning and planting on City-owned and managed sites and streets to protect public safety and public infrastructure; and ensure replacement for trees that are removed. The permitting procedures that are required to implement these provisions are intended to not only enforce maintenance, removal and preservation requirements but also to educate property owners about the intrinsic urban benefits of trees as well as the principles of tree care.


11.40.020 When a Tree Permit is Required.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 187216, effective July 24, 2015.) A tree permit is required for all trees in the City of Portland as further described below, unless the activity is exempt from the requirements of this Chapter as specified in Section 11.40.030. 

A.  Street Trees. Street trees of any size are regulated by this Chapter unless otherwise specified in Table 40-1 or 40-2.

B.  City Trees. City trees 3 or more inches in diameter are regulated by this Chapter unless otherwise specified in Table 40-1.

C.  Private Trees. Private trees 12 or more inches in diameter are regulated by this Chapter unless otherwise specified in Table 40-1. Trees required to be preserved by a condition of a land use review may be subject to other requirements.

D. Emergency pruning or removal. Emergency pruning or removal of trees is regulated by this Chapter as follows:

1. If an emergency exists because the condition or location of a tree presents such a clear and present danger to structures or the public that there is insufficient time to obtain a tree permit, the hazardous portion of the tree may be removed without first obtaining a required tree permit.

2. In the course of performing unexpected or emergency road, sewer or water maintenance activities, representatives of the Responsible Engineer may trim, prune or remove a tree as required to perform the immediate work without first obtaining a required tree permit. If such activities occur during normal business hours, these representatives shall first attempt to contact the City Forester to determine if technical assistance can be made immediately available. If such assistance is not immediately available, then the pruning or removal may occur in accordance with proper arboricultural practices.

3. Any person who prunes or removes a tree under the provisions of this Subsection shall, within 7 days of such action, apply for a Type A tree permit. The application shall include photographs or other documentation to prove that an emergency existed. The City Forester will evaluate the information to determine whether an emergency existed. Failure to submit an application or provide information documenting the emergency nature of the event may be pursued as a violation per Chapter 11.70.

E. State, Federal and court orders. Trees that must be removed or pruned by an order of a court, or of a State or Federal agency are not subject to the public notice and appeal procedures of Chapter 11.30 and approval standards and review factors of this Chapter. However, a tree permit is required and the tree replacement requirements of this Chapter shall be met.

F. Hazardous Material Cleanup Orders. Hazardous material cleanup orders, are not subject to the permit procedures of this Title; however, a person removing a regulated tree pursuant to a Hazardous Material Cleanup Order must comply with the tree replacement requirements of this Chapter.

G. Trees on levees. Trees on levees that have been identified by a public Drainage District as violating federal regulations or requirements are subject to the requirements of this Chapter for a Type A permit for removal of trees. Required replacement trees shall be placed outside the critical cross section area of the levee, and may be placed on any property in the same watershed that is owned by the applicant; or on property for which the applicant possesses a legal instrument approved by the City, such as an easement, deed restriction, or interagency agreement, sufficient to carry out and ensure success of the replacement.

Table 40-1

Tree Removal in Overlay Zones and Plan Districts [1]

Overlay Zone or Plan District T11 Tree Size Title 11 tree permits for removing[2] T33 Tree Size Title 33 Zoning Code review for removing
Environmental conservation and protection overlay zones “c” “p” See: 33.430.080 Street all City  ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings or attached structures

• Nuisance species trees

• Non-native non-nuisance trees

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees when wood 12 inches in diameter and greater is left in the same ownership, unless the City Forester approves removal of diseased wood from the site because it will threaten the health of other trees

• Trees projecting into a City-designated view corridor

Street all City all Private all • Healthy native trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table
Greenway overlay zones “n” “q” “g” “i” “r” See: 33.440.320 Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

• Nuisance species trees

• Dangerous trees

• Trees landward of the greenway setback in “g” “i” “r” overlays

Street all City all Private all

• Native Trees

• Non-native non-nuisance trees

• Dead or dying trees

• Trees not meeting the listed situations when located within or riverward of the greenway setback in “g” “i” “r” overlays

• Trees not meeting the listed situations when located in “n” “q” overlays

Pleasant Valley Natural Resources Overlay Zone “v” See: 33.465.080 Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings or attached structures

• Nuisance species trees

• Non-native non-nuisance trees

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees when wood 12 inches in diameter and greater is left in the same ownership, unless the City Forester approves removal of diseased wood from the site because it will threaten the health of other trees

Street all City all Private all • Healthy native trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table

Scenic Resource Overlay “s”

 

Only applies to trees that are within the scenic corridor setback.
See: 33.480.040 B.2.a.

Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6" • Trees within 10 feet of buildings or attached structures
• Nuisance species trees
• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees
• Trees associated with the repair and maintenance of water, sewer or storm water lines
• Trees within 20 feet of a public safety RF Transmission Facility
• Street, City, or Private trees up to and including 12 inches diameter provided that replanting per 33.480.040.B.2.h(7) is met [3]
Street 
 ≥ 6”
City
≥ 6"
Private ≥ 6"
• Trees within the scenic corridor setbacks that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table

Cascade Station/Portland International Center Plan District See: 33.508.340

Only applies to trees located in a "c" or "p" overlay

Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings or attached structures

• Nuisance species trees

• Non-native non-nuisance trees

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees when wood 12 inches in diameter and greater is left in the same ownership, unless the City Forester approves removal of diseased wood from the site because it will threaten the health of other trees

• Trees projecting into a City-designated view corridor

Street all City all Private all • Healthy native trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table

Columbia South Shore Plan District See: 33.515.262 & 33.515.274

Only applies to trees located in a "c" or "p" overlay

Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥6"

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings or attached structures

• Nuisance species trees

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees when wood 12 inches in diameter and greater is left in the same ownership, unless the City Forester approves removal of diseased wood from the site because it will threaten the health of other trees

Street all City all Private all

• Healthy native trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table

• Healthy non-native non-nuisance trees that do not meet the  applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table

Johnson Creek Basin Plan District 33.537.125

• Only applies to trees:

• Within 20 feet of the Springwater Corridor lot line;

• On a site with any portion in the special flood hazard area; and/or

• On a site with any portion in the South Subdistrict.

Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

 

• All Street Trees

• Nuisance species trees

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings, attached structures, or right-of-way improvements

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees  • Trees associated with the repair and maintenance of water, sewer or storm water lines

• Any other 6” to 12” tree provided that at least two trees are planted. [3]  Trees removed within 20 feet of the Springwater Corridor must be replaced within 20 feet of the corridor

Street n/a City ≥ 6" Private ≥ 6" • Trees within 20 feet of the Springwater Corridor lot line; on a site with any portion in the special flood hazard area; and/or on a site with any portion in the South Subdistrict that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table
Portland International Airport Plan District See: 33.565.540 Applies only to trees located in a "c" or "p" overlay Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings or attached structures

• Nuisance species trees

• Non-native non-nuisance trees

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees when wood 12 inches in diameter and greater is left in the same ownership, unless the City Forester approves removal of diseased wood from the site because it will threaten the health of other trees. This does not apply in landscaped areas of golf courses

• Trees projecting into a City-designated view corridor

Street all City all Private all • Healthy native trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table
Rocky Butte Plan District See: 33.570.040 Street all City  ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6"

• All Street Trees

• Nuisance species trees

• Trees within 10 feet of buildings, attached structures, or right-of-way improvements

• Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees

• Trees associated with the repair and maintenance of water, sewer or storm water lines

• Any other 6” to 12” diameter tree provided that at least two trees are planted [3]

Street n/a City ≥ 6" Private ≥ 6" Trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table
South Auditorium Plan District See: 33.580.130 Street all City ≥ 3" Private ≥ 6" • Dead, Dying, or Dangerous trees provided at least one tree is planted in the same general location or in accordance with the adopted landscaping plan Street all City ≥ 6" Private ≥ 6" Trees that do not meet the applicable Title 11 situations listed in this table

Note [1] If a site is in more than one overlay zone or Plan District, the regulations for both areas apply.         [2] All Plan Districts and overlay zones require tree replacement, or as allowed by the City Forester.

        [3] Minimum planting is required to meet zoning code requirements.

 


11.40.030 Exemptions.

The following are exempt from the requirements of this Chapter:

A.  Heritage Trees. Heritage Trees are addressed in Chapter 11.20:

B.  Trees outside City Limits. Trees that are outside the City Limits, including "County Urban Pocket Areas."

C.  Programmatic permits. Activities carried out by public agencies operating under a programmatic permit per Chapter 11.45.

D.  Tree Removal in association with development permits addressed through Chapter 11.50, Trees in Development Situations.

E.  Agricultural use. Trees on lots that are part of an allowed farm or forest operation, including plant nurseries, when such removal is a customary and necessary activity for the associated agricultural use as provided for in Title 33, Planning and Zoning. Timber harvesting is subject to Oregon Department of Forestry requirements, ORS Chapter 527, and OAR Divisions 600-665.

F.  Work done by the City Forester and City Forestry crews involving City and Street Trees. However, the City Forester shall keep records of the location and number of City and Street Trees planted, pruned, and removed.


11.40.040 City and Street Tree Permit Standards and Review Factors.

Type A and B permit applications for tree related work affecting City or Street Trees shall be reviewed using the following applicable review factors and standards in accordance with the application procedures set forth in Chapter 11.30.

Table 40-2

Summary of Permit Requirements for City and Street Trees

Activity

Permit Type

Tree Replacement [1]

(See Section 11.40.060)

Public Notice /
Public May Appeal

No Permit is required for:

- pruning branches or roots <1/4”;

- removing City Trees <3” in diameter;

- removing street trees that are sucker shoots, self-sown trees < 1/4”; or

- other activities that are exempt from the requirements of this Chapter (see 11.40.030).

Planting trees

Pruning branches or roots larger than ¼”

Other activities as described in 11.40.040 A.3

A

n/a

No

Removal of any regulated tree that is:

- dead, dying, or dangerous

A

tree for tree

No

Removing up to 4 healthy trees per site, or abutting right of way per year as follows:

- less than 3” in diameter

A[2]

tree for tree

No

- 3 to <12” in diameter

B

tree for tree

No

- 12 to <20” in diameter

B

tree for tree

No

- 20” and larger in diameter

B

inch for inch

Yes

Removing more than 4 healthy trees per site, or abutting right of way per year as follows:

- less than 3” in diameter

A [2]

tree for tree

No

- 3 to <12” in diameter

B

tree for tree

No

- > 12” in diameter

B

inch for inch

Yes

- 20” and larger in diameter

B

inch for inch

Yes

[1] “Tree for Tree” means one tree is required to be planted for each tree removed, “inch for inch” means the City Forester may require up to an equivalent number of inches be planted for the total diameter inches of the tree being removed.

[2] Applies to all Street Trees, in addition to any other City Trees planted as part of a landscaping or mitigation requirement, including trees planted to replace trees removed under a previous tree permit.

 

 A.  Standards and Review Factors for Type A Permits for City and Street Trees.

1.  Planting. Planting shall meet the specifications in Chapter 11.60 and the following:

a.  Street Trees. If the City Forester determines that a proposed Street Tree planting is suitable for the space available, and that the species of the tree is appropriate for the location, then the City Forester will grant the permit.   The Responsible Engineer may require the City Forester to submit planting proposals in streets for review for the purpose of protecting existing utilities and sewer branches, and to ensure that the proposed trees are not likely to obstruct the visibility of drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.

b.  City Trees. If the City Forester determines that a proposed planting on City property is of a species of tree appropriate for the site and that the applicant has the written consent of the City bureau to whom responsibility for the property has been assigned, the City Forester will grant the permit.

2.  Pruning or root cutting. The City Forester will grant a permit for pruning or root cutting of branches or roots 1/4 inch or larger if the applicant demonstrates to the City Forester's satisfaction that the pruning or root cutting will be performed in accordance with proper arboricultural practices, and that it will not adversely impact the health or structural integrity of the tree.

3.  Other activities. A permit is required to attach permanent objects (e.g. lights, signs, or artwork) to a tree or its supports (e.g. guides, wires, stakes), or for any other type of activity the City Forester determines has the potential to harm a City or Street Tree. In reviewing these requests, the City Forester may impose limitations on the method, location, or duration of such activities.

4.  Removal. Trees shall be replaced as indicated in Table 40-2. The City Forester will grant a permit to remove a tree if the City Forester determines that the proposed removal is exempt or allowed by Title 33, Planning and Zoning; and meets at least one of the following:

a.  Dead trees. The tree is dead or has been damaged beyond repair or where not enough live tissue, green leaves, limbs, roots or branches exist to sustain life.

b.  Dying trees. The tree is in an advanced state of decline because it is diseased, infested by insects, or rotting and cannot be saved by reasonable treatment or pruning, or must be removed to prevent spread of the infestation or disease to other trees or is imminently likely to be become a danger or die. The City Forester may apply a condition of approval to the permit to require specific disposal methods for infected wood.

c.   Dangerous trees. The City Forester will evaluate the removal request by first evaluating practicable alternatives to the removal. If the City Forester finds either that the cost of the alternatives significantly exceeds the value of the tree, or that such alternatives will not substantially alleviate the dangerous condition, the City Forester will grant the permit.

B.  Standards and Review Factors for Type B Permits for City and Street Trees. Because Type B permits for City and Street Trees are required only for removal; the standards and review factors of this Subsection are specific to tree removal.

1.  Standards. The City Forester shall determine that the following standards are met before granting a Type B permit:

a.  For trees located in one of the overlay zones or plan districts identified in Table 40-1, the proposed removal is exempt or allowed by Title 33, Planning and Zoning;

b.  The tree is not required to be preserved by a condition of a land use review, provision of this Title or the Zoning Code, or as part of a required stormwater facility;

c.  Trees removed shall be replaced as specified in Table 40-2.

2.  Review Factors. The City, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, will not permit the removal of a healthy, functioning Street Tree. Maintenance or replacements of sidewalks or curbs, removal of tree litter, or other minor inconveniences do not constitute extraordinary circumstances. Decisions regarding removal of healthy, functioning Street Trees are fact-specific, and are made on a case-by-case basis by the City Forester. In determining whether extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant removal of a healthy tree, the City Forester will consider:

a.  Whether the species of tree is appropriate for its location, and whether it is a nuisance species tree;

b.  Whether the tree’s crown, stem or root growth habit has developed in a manner that would prevent continued healthy growth or is negatively impacting other trees;

c.  Whether the maintenance of the tree creates an unreasonable burden for the property owner; and

d.  The impact of removal and replanting on the neighborhood streetscape and any adopted historic or other design guidelines.


11.40.050 Private Tree Permit Standards and Review Factors.

Type A and B permit applications for tree related work affecting Private Trees shall be reviewed using the following applicable review factors and standards in accordance with the application procedures set forth in Chapter 11.30.

Table 40-3
Summary of Permit Requirements for Private Trees 

Activity

Permit Type

Tree Replacement[1]
(See Section 11.40.060)

Public Notice /
  Public May Appeal

No permit is required for:

-  planting trees

-  pruning trees outside of the environmental protection (p), environmental conservation (c), or Pleasant Valley Natural Resource (v) overlay zones;

-  removal of trees smaller than the sizes regulated by this Chapter (see 11.40.020 B.); or

-  other activities that are exempt from the requirements of this chapter (see 11.40.030)

Pruning native trees in c, p, or v overlay zones

A

n/a

No

Removal of any tree that is:

-  dead, dying, or dangerous

-  a nuisance species identified in the Portland Plant List

-  located within 10 feet of  building or attached structure

A

tree for tree

No

Removing up to 4 healthy non-nuisance species trees per site per year as follows:   

-  Smaller than 20” diameter

A

tree for tree

No

-  20” diameter and larger

B

inch for inch

Yes[2]

Removing more than 4 healthy non-nuisance species trees per site per year as follows:

12” diameter and larger

B

inch for inch

Yes

[1]   “Tree for Tree” means one tree is required to be planted for each tree removed, “inch for inch” means the City Forester may require up to an equivalent number of inches be planted for the total diameter inches of the tree being removed.

[2] No public notice or opportunity for public appeal is required for removal of one healthy tree > 20” diameter per lot per year in any residential zone.

 A.  Standards and Review Factors for Type A Permits for Private Trees.

1.  Pruning. A pruning permit is required only if the tree is a native tree in the Environmental (c, p) or Pleasant Valley Natural Resource (v) Overlay Zones.

a.  Exceptions. A permit is not required for pruning trees in the following situations:

(1)  Pruning trees located within 10 feet of a building or attached structure;

(2)  Pruning coniferous trees that are within 30 feet of structures, when the structure is within the wildfire hazard zone as shown on the City’s Wildfire Hazard Zone Map;

(3)  Pruning to abate an immediate danger;

(4)  Pruning for trail maintenance when not exceeding a height of 8 feet and a width of 6 feet as shown in Figure 40-1; or

Figure 40-1 Trail vegetation pruning and maintenance area

(5)  Crown maintenance and crown reduction of trees within the Portland International Airport Plan District or Cascade Station/Portland International Center Plan District that project above or will, upon maturity project above the height limit delineated by the "h" overlay zone or are identified as attracting wildlife species of concern related to air traffic safety.

 b.  Standards. The City Forester will grant a Type A Permit for pruning if the applicant demonstrates to the City Forester's satisfaction that the pruning will meet the following:

 (1)  Pruning is limited to 5 native trees per calendar year per 10,000 square feet of site area;

 (2)  An arborist shall prepare and submit a pruning plan and supervise or conduct the work. The pruning plan shall describe the nature and extent of the proposed pruning as necessary to ensure proper arboricultural practices are followed; and

 (3)  Additional pruning may be allowed if the applicable criteria are met through an environmental review or natural resource review per Title 33, Planning and Zoning.

 2.  Removal. Trees shall be replaced as indicated in Table 40-3. The City Forester will grant a permit to remove a tree if the City Forester determines that the proposed removal is exempt or allowed by Title 33, Planning and Zoning; and meets at least one of the following:

 a.  Dead trees. The tree is dead or has been damaged beyond repair or where not enough live tissue, green leaves, limbs, roots or branches exist to sustain life.

 b.  Dying trees. The tree is in an advanced state of decline because it is diseased, infested by insects, or rotting and cannot be saved by reasonable treatment or pruning, or must be removed to prevent spread of the infestation or disease to other trees or is imminently likely to be become a danger or die. The City Forester may apply a condition of approval to the permit to require specific disposal methods for infected wood.

 c.  Dangerous trees. The City Forester may evaluate the removal request by first evaluating practicable alternatives to the removal. If the City Forester finds either that the cost of the alternatives significantly exceeds the value of the tree, or that such alternatives will not substantially alleviate the dangerous condition, the City Forester will grant the permit.

 d.  Nuisance species trees. The tree is listed on the "Nuisance Plant List".

 e.  Trees within 10 feet of a building or attached structure. The trunk of the tree at its base is located completely or partially within 10 horizontal feet of the wall of a building or attached structure.

 f.  Healthy trees. Up to 4 healthy trees may be removed per site per calendar year if each tree meets the following:

 (1)  Each tree is less than 20 inches in diameter;

 (2)  None of the trees are Heritage Trees; and

 (3)  None of the trees are required to be preserved by a condition of a land use review, provision of this Title or the Zoning Code, or as part of a required stormwater facility;

 B.  Standards and Review Factors for Type B Permits for Private Trees. Because Type B permits for Private Trees are required only for removal; the standards and review factors of this Subsection are specific to tree removal.

 1.  Standards. The City Forester shall determine that the following standards are met before granting a Type B permit:

 a.  For trees located in one of the overlay zones or plan districts identified in Table 40-1, the proposed removal is exempt or allowed by Title 33, Planning and Zoning;

 b.  The tree is not required to be preserved by a condition of a land use review, or provision of this Title or the Zoning Code; and

 c.  Trees removed shall be replaced as specified in Table 40-3.

 2.  Review Factors. The City encourages retention of healthy Private Trees where practical alternatives to removal exist, and where those alternatives meet the owner’s objectives for reasonable use and enjoyment of the property. Factors are considered to ensure that significant adverse impacts are avoided or mitigated, weighing the broader economic, ecological, and community concerns. These decisions are fact-specific and are made on a case-by-case basis. In making these decisions, the City Forester will consider:

 a.  Whether there are practical alternatives that meet the owner’s objectives without removing the tree;

 b.  Whether the species of tree is appropriate for its location;

 c.  Whether the tree’s crown, stem, or root growth habit has developed in a manner that would prevent continued healthy growth or is negatively impacting other trees; and

 d.  Whether the removal will significantly affect public safety or neighborhood character based on the following:

 (1)  The age, size, form, general condition, pruning history and any unique qualities or attributes of the trees;

 (2)  The visibility of the trees from public streets and accessways;

 (3)  The cumulative impacts of current and prior tree removals in the area; and

 (4)  When the tree is associated with a grove, whether removal of the tree will have a significant adverse impact on the viability of other trees or make other trees considerably more vulnerable to windthrow.


11.40.060 Tree Replacement Requirements.

Generally, the City Forester will require replacement of trees removed under a Tree Permit as specified in Subsection A. However, the City Forester may instead allow payment into the Tree Planting and Preservation Fund as specified in Subsection B., or may waive or reduce the replacement requirement as specified in Subsection C.

A.  Tree replacement specifications

 1.  Quantity. Specific tree replacement requirements are shown in Tables 40-2 and 40-3. Where the requirement specifies "up to inch for inch" replacement, the City Forester will determine the appropriate number of new trees that are required based on the total number of diameter inches of the trees removed. The replacement requirement will compensate for the lost functions of trees removed, and ensure the application meets the applicable standards and review factors.

 2.  Planting. Size, species, location, timing of planting, and on-going maintenance of replacement trees shall be in accordance with the technical specifications in Chapter 11.60.

 B.  Payment into Tree Planting and Preservation Fund. When the City Forester determines that there is insufficient or unsuitable area to accommodate some or all of the replacement trees within the street planting area or site, the City Forester may require payment into the Tree Planting and Preservation Fund instead of requiring replacement trees. Payment is based on the adopted fee schedule.

C.  Waivers. The City Forester may waive or reduce the replacement requirement when the City Forester determines:

 1.  The abutting right-of-way and site already meet the tree density standards of Chapter 11.50; or

 2.  That the full mitigation required by this Chapter would impose an unreasonable burden on the applicant.