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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

How will development requirements change under the new tree code?


Newly Adopted

1.  Requirements for Tree PRESERVATION

Not required, voluntary

NEW Tree Preservation Standards (in Title 11)

  1. Preserve 1/3 onsite trees 12"+ diameter*, OR pay fee into tree fund, calculated at City cost to plant and establish 2 trees for every required tree not preserved.
  2. Exempt: lots < 5000 s.f., lots with > 85% existing and proposed building coverage, and sites in some industrial and commercial zones.
  3. Creates economic incentive to preserve
  4. Standard so no discretionary review or public appeal
  5. Fee revenues can be used to plant in tree-deficient neighborhoods (equity benefit) 
  6. Extra credit for preserving native trees
  7. Standard root encroachment allowances into root protection zones increases flexibility in site layout.

2.  Requirements for Tree PLANTING - Tree Density Standards

T1 standards (Title 33)

  1. Applies only to new single family development
  2. Can meet by preserving existing trees, planting new trees or paying into fund


Landscaping (Title 33)

  1. Applies to most other development, but not related to tree canopy targets
  2. Can be modified or waived through Adjustment w/out addressing tree targets.

EXPANDED Tree Density standards (in Title 11)

  1. Apply standards to all development - requires minimum # of trees per site*; standards tied to UFMP canopy targets
  2. Standards can be met by preserving existing trees, planting new trees, or paying into fund.
  3. Trees planted to meet other requirements (landscaping, stormwater) also count toward tree density
  4. Standards vary by development type
  5. Standards, so no discretionary review or public appeal
*on large sites and in streets, applicants may define a "development impact area" where tree requirements are applied.

4. Other Development Standards

  1. Inflexible development standards can conflict with tree preservation
  2. Requires adjustment process
  1.  Additional flexibility allows improvements to be located and designed to preserve trees.
  2. Flexibility includes limited reductions in parking, housing density, amenity bonus, etc without review process.

5. Land Divisions and Other Land Use Reviews

  1. Land divisions – rigid numeric requirements for # of trees lack flexibility that would preserve quality trees;
  2. Land divisions - Tree plans last in perpetuity
  3. Trees not explicitly addressed in Design Reviews and Conditional Use/Master Plans
  1.  Land divisions - new more flexible criteria focus on preserving large healthy trees, groves, natives.
  2. Tree preservation plans expire after 10 years
  3. Tree preservation encouraged in Design Reviews and certain conditional uses/master plans
  4. Recording tree plans improves property buyer awareness

      6. Trees in Environmental Resource Areas and Plan Districts

      1. Regs inconsistent, confusing
      2. Stream/wetland setbacks erratically applied
      1. Regs standardized, streamlined
      2. Apply setbacks consistently w/in existing e-zones to help protect riparian vegetation