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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry News and Activities 

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View a calendar of Urban Forestry events

Join the Heritage Tree Committee

New Committee Members Sought

Thank you for your interest in the Heritage Tree Committee! We are seeking new committee members. 

Please complete a committee interest form by August 1, 2015 and email to Interest forms will be reviewed in August for a September start date.

About Heritage Trees
Heritage Trees are trees that have been formally recognized by City Council for their unique size, age, historical or horticultural significance. Heritage Trees are protected by City Code; once designated, no Heritage Tree can be removed without the consent of the Urban Forestry Commission and the Portland City Council. The program is administered by the Heritage Tree Committee and Portland Parks Urban Forestry. The committee Chair is a member of the Urban Forestry Commission. Volunteers and staff work together to review nominations, monitor tree conditions, and educate the public on the program.

Committee Members must be able and willing to:

  • Commit to a two-year appointment
  • Commit to 60 hours of volunteer time per calendar year
  • Attend meetings and field tours. Meetings are held every two months on Fridays from 8-10 am. Field tours occur approximately twice a year and occur on weekdays from 8 am – 3:30 pm.

 Committee Member responsibilities include:

  • Attend meetings and field tours
  • Become familiar with the 300 trees in the system by visiting trees independently and reviewing program materials
  • Evaluate nominated trees for fit into the program
  • Assist with updating tree measurements
  • Maintain and write meeting minutes, policies, and bylaws
  • Respond to some public inquiries on the program
  • Participate in educational events on Heritage Trees alongside Urban Forestry staff

Download the interest form here

Flowering Tree Tour

When: Saturday April 25 1-3 pm
Where: Belmont Library, 1038 Cesar E Chavez Blvd

Join the Sunnyside Street Tree Team for a walking tour to explore and learn about spring flowering trees in the neighborhood. Meet at 1 pm for refreshments and introductions and the tour begins at 1:30 pm. 

Treevia! With Woodstock Tree Team

Treevia! With Woodstock Tree Team

When: Wednesday, April 15  5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Where: Woodstock Wine and Deli, 4030 SE Woodstock Blvd

Register here

End tax day with a rousing round of Treevia with the Woodstock Tree Team. This tree-centric trivia night offers prizes, comraderie, and a chance to show off your tree knowledge. Minors welcome.

Can you name this tree?

May 6th Portland Tree Care Providers Workshop

 Tree Marked for Inspection for Removal

April 2, 2015

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Mark Ross, Public Information Officer

503.823.5300; cell 503.823.6634

Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry offers commercial tree care provider training for Portland area arborists, landscapers and other green-industry professionals who want to be recognized on Portland Parks & Recreation website.  

What:                  Portland Tree Care Providers Workshop 

When:                 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Where:                Mt Scott Community Center, 5530 SE 72 Ave Portland, OR 97206

Cost:                   Free to all commercial arborist and landscape companies space is limited and registration is required

To register:

(Portland, OR) – Portland is a city of trees. There are over 238,000 street trees alone, and another 1.2 million trees in our parks and natural areas. The rest of the urban tree canopy, which covers over 29% of the city, are trees on private property, including neighborhood yards and gardens.

Most homeowners and businesses depend on professional arborists to help them maintain the trees in front of and on their property.

To increase understanding and compliance with city rules and regulations regarding tree care removal and planting, the City is providing training for companies that care for trees in Portland.  Training will cover:

               •             Title 11 rules and regulations for public and privately-owned trees

               •             How to fill out a tree permit

               •             Tips for ensuring your permit is approved

               •             Tree mitigation plans and tree selection 

               •             Working with customers to explain the tree code

Upon completing the workshop and providing City and State license numbers, participating businesses will be added to the  “Portland Tree Care Providers List” on the Portland Parks & Recreation website.  In addition, certified Arborists will be eligible to receive two International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) continuing education units for attending this workshop.  Please bring your ISA certification number with you to receive credits.

The City of Portland is committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing our urban forest. The work done by green-industry professionals is crucial to achieving these goals. Local arborists, landscapers and others, are encouraged to take advantage of this free workshop and learn more about the City’s rules and regulations. Please call Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry at 503.823.TREE or email for more information.

Planting Cherry Trees Creates Living Memorial to Japan’s Tsunami and Earthquake

Akebono Cherry March 24 2008

March 11 marks the fourth anniversary of the massive earthquake and accompanying tsunami that struck eastern Japan in 2011. The earthquake was the fourth strongest ever recorded anywhere. Together with an accompanying tsunami, it claimed more than 15,000 lives, with over 2,000 people still missing and presumed dead.  It was the costliest catastrophe to hit Japan since World War II. To commemorate it, the Japanese, like so many other cultures memorializing tragedies, are planting trees. But they are doing so in a unique way.

Over the next decade, some 17,000 pink-flowering cherry trees will be planted to mark the line where the tsunami unleashed by the 9.0 earthquake reached inland, in some cases six to 12 miles from the ocean. When fully planted, this living memorial will stretch for 105 miles. Everything seaward of where the trees will stand was engulfed by the roiling wall of seawater, which claimed more lives than the shaking ground. Proponents hope the memorial will help survivors of any future earthquake know how far inland they need to evacuate to be safe from a tsunami.

Cherry trees were a natural choice for the memorial because in Japan the lovely but short-lived blossoms symbolize life’s sweet beauty and its fragile, fleeting nature. For at least a thousand years the Japanese have been admiring cherry blossoms each spring in outings known as hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.

Cherry trees are also being planted here in the United States. A Japanese business executive has started planting cherry trees at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio to symbolize Japanese gratitude for flights of relief supplies, search and rescue missions, and reconstruction aid. This hearkens back to the first gift of Japanese cherry trees to this country a little over a century ago. Each April those trees bring thousands of visitors to Washington, D.C. to view the delicate display, a reminder of hopes for peace between the two nations.

One of the best places to view cherry blossoms in Portland is at the north end of Waterfront Park in the Japanese-American Historical Plaza. Dedicated in August 1990, the plaza’s living glory is the double row of Akebono cherry trees, a white-flowering cultivar that originated in Japan. Administered by the Oregon Nikkei  Endowment, Inc., the plaza tells the story of Portland’s Japanese and Japanese-American community. Plaques recall the forced internment in remote inland camps of people of Japanese ancestry – whether immigrants or U.S.-born citizens – during World War II. The plaza was created with support from Portland Parks & Recreation and many others, including the Metropolitan Arts Commission, Portland Development Commission, and a number of private foundations and businesses.

 Japanese Historical Plaza April 11 2011

This year the Japanese-American Historical Plaza cherry trees are scheduled to peek the week of March 9th.