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Portland Trees

Call before you cut

phone: (503) 823-TREE (8733)

email: trees@portlandoregon.gov

1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97201

Qualifying for a Tree Removal & Replanting Permit

When will a Tree Removal and Replanting Permit be granted?

Street Trees

Generally, a Tree Removal and Replanting Permit will be granted for street trees when the tree is dead, dying, or dangerous and the applicant agrees to replace the tree with an appropriate tree.

Private Trees

A Tree Removal and Replanting Permit will be granted for regulated trees on private property when the tree meets at least one of the following conditions and the applicant agrees to replant as required:

  • The tree is dead, dying, or dangerous.
  • The tree is within 10 feet of a building or attached structure.
  • The tree is a nuisance species identified in the Portland Plant List
  • Up to 4 healthy trees smaller than 20 inches in diameter will be permitted to be removed per site per calendar year if they are not Heritage Trees or trees required as the condition of a permit. 

Replanting Requirements

In order to be eligible for a removal permit, the applicant must agree to replace the trees as follows: 

Street Tree Replanting Requirements

Learn how to measure DBH

Tree size and condition

Tree Replacement Requirements

Dead, dying, or dangerous trees

Tree for tree

Trees that are not dead, dying or dangerous:

     Trees less than 12” DBH

     Trees > or equal to 12” DBH but <20” DBH

          1-4 trees/year

          5+ trees/year

     Trees 20” DBH or larger

 

Tree for tree

 

Tree for tree

Up to inch for inch

Up to inch for inch

Private Tree Replanting Requirements

Learn how to measure DBH

Tree size and condition

Tree Replacement Requirements

Dead, dying, or dangerous trees

Tree for tree

Trees that are not dead, dying or dangerous:

     Trees within 10 feet of a building

     Nuisance species on the Portland Plant List

     Non-nuisance trees

          Trees > or equal to 12” DBH but <20” DBH

               1-4 trees/year

               5+ trees/year

          Trees 20” DBH or larger

 

Tree for tree

Tree for tree

 

 

Tree for tree

Up to inch for inch

Up to inch for inch

"Tree for tree" means if one tree is removed, one tree must be planted. The replacement tree must meet the minimum caliper size defined below.

"Up to inch for inch" means that the number of caliper-inches required for planting may be up to the number of diameter-inches removed, at a maximum. The number of caliper-inches required for replanting may be reduced from the maximum based on the condition of the tree removed. 

If there is no room to replant the required replacement tree, a fee must be paid into the Urban Forestry Tree Planting and Preservation Fund based on the fee schedule. The maximum fee may be reduced based on the condition of the tree.

Where to replant?

Street trees removed should generally be replaced with new street trees. When a private property tree is approved for removal, the replacement tree may be planted in the right-of-way (encouraged), in the front yard, in a side yard, or in the back yard. Replacement trees should not be planted within 10 feet of a building. If there is no room to replant onsite, the property owner may plant on another property they own within the City of Portland or in a neighbor's right-of-way. The neighbor must sign an agreement to plant and care for the tree. If none of these options are available, a fee-in-lieu-of-planting may be required. See the fee schedule for more details.

Removal Standards

Removal permits are valid for 30 days. The tree must be removed, the stump ground, and the debris cleared while the permit is valid.

Call the Oregon Utility Locate Hotline (811 or 503-246-6699 (local) or 1-800-332-2344 (toll free)) to check the location of underground utilities before grinding the stump. 

Due to the difficult and potentially dangerous nature of removing large trees in urban environments, is recommended to hire a practicing certified arborist to conduct the tree removal and stump grinding.

Elm Wood Disposal

The State of Oregon has a quarantine restricting activities regarding elm trees in order to reduce the spread of Dutch elm disease. All elm wood must be disposed of properly by chipping or de-barking and burying. No elm wood may be stored for any purpose. 

Replanting Standards

The City of Portland Street Tree Planting Standards must be followed when planting a tree in the City right-of-way. 

Tree Species for Planting

Street tree species for planting must be selected from the Approved Street Tree Planting List that corresponds to planting site conditions. 

Trees on the nuisance list may not be planted as street trees or on private property. 

Tree Size Requirements

Newly planted trees must be a minimum caliper size as defined below. This is to encourage planting large caliper trees, which have more desirable established structure and are less prone to vandalism. Tree caliper is measured at 6” above the tree’s natural ground line for trees <4”, or at 12” for trees >4”.

Broadleaf tree size requirements:

Development type

Street tree minimum
caliper size

Private tree minimum caliper size

One and two family residential

1.5”

1.5"

Multi-dwelling residential

2.0”

1.5"

All others

2.5”

1.5"

Conifer tree size requirements: Conifer trees must be a minimum of 5 feet in height at time of planting.

Planting Season

The planting season in Portland extends from October 1 through April 30. Planting during this timeframe is recommended. Planting during the summer months (May 1-September 30) is not recommended. Trees planted during the summer months should receive extra watering as needed to ensure tree survival and establishment.

If a permit is issued outside of the planting season, planting may be deferred until the next planting season in order to promote survivability. Talk to your Tree Inspector about deferring planting until the planting season.

Correcting a Violation of a Tree Removal and Replanting Permit

If you are found inviolation of a Tree Removal and Replanting Permit or found in violation of removing or topping a tree without a permit, you will be required to submit a violatio review application and take correcitve action. Learn more

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