Street trees are those trees that grow in the right-of-way between the street and adjacent tax lot. They are an important public asset in urban environments, where they serve as a buffer between our transportation corridors and our homes. In this role, street trees filter stormwater, reduce the effects of car emissions, increase property values, calm traffic, and regulate summer temperatures, among other benefits.
In Portland, street trees are managed in partnership between PP&R Urban Forestry and property owners. Urban Forestry regulates street tree removal, planting, and maintenance through a permitting process, and home owners are responsible for the care and maintenance of trees. A healthy urban forest depends on the active engagement of neighbors to care for street trees. Empowering neighborhood groups to care for their urban canopy is what the Tree Inventory Project is all about.
"I learned to identify trees, I participated in an activity in my neighborhood that gave me increased connections both to the physical environment and people in my neighborhood, I enjoyed every minute, and I learned about resources in Portland that are related to parks, trees, and environmental improvement."
Whether you’re an individual or a neighborhood group, there are many reasons to participate in the Tree Inventory Project.
The Tree Inventory Project offers opportunities for individuals to volunteer and get involved in caring for Portland’s street trees. The Tree Inventory Project can help you:
- Learn to identify trees!
- Learn to assess tree health and site condition
- Gain experience collecting forestry data
- Learn the basics of GIS data entry
- Meet other people who love trees
Each tree inventory is customized to a neighborhood’s needs and goals. Urban Forestry will help groups solidify goals early in the process to ensure that the appropriate data are collected, propose a practical timeline, and staff appropriately. The Tree Inventory Project can help neighborhood groups:
Learn more about neighborhood trees:
The inventory maps the location, size, and health of all street trees in the neighborhood.
Find new places to plant trees:
The inventory identifies possible planting locations, and maps them by priority.
Increase neighborhood awareness of trees:
The inventory provides a powerful tool to educate neighbors about the important role of trees in their neighborhood.
Develop a Neighborhood Tree Plan:
At the Tree Summit, neighborhoods identify short and long-term goals based on inventory data, as well as action steps to meet goals.
Inventory work days and tree teams offer a great opportunity to connect with neighbors who care about trees.
Engage neighbors to help care for and protect existing trees:
As a volunteer-driven project, the inventory empowers neighborhoods to manage their street trees from the ground up.
Forge a partnership with Urban Forestry:
Urban Forestry commits to provide tools, staff time, and expertise to help neighborhoods complete the inventory and meet their tree plan goals.
Specifically, neighborhood participants receive:
- Custom site maps and excel sheets illustrating inventory findings.
- Detailed analysis of inventory data and recommended next steps for tree care.
- Support implementing actions to reach Neighborhood Tree Plan goals.
Once an inventory of neighborhood street trees is complete, neighborhoods use the data to create a management plan with concrete action items to improve neighborhood tree canopy. Urban Forestry helps neighborhoods implement the action items they choose to move forward with. A list of possible action items is here.
Some example action items are:
- Neighborhood pruning and young tree care workshops
- Neighborhood tree planting events
- Educational tree walks or tree bike tours
- Tree diversity workshops
- Tree pests and diseases workshops