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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are all trees eligible for Treebate?

What counts as a tree?

Do fruit trees qualify for the Treebate program?

Do trees planted in the right-of-way (“street trees”) qualify for a Treebate?

Why must a tree be purchased, planted, and application submitted between September and April?

I’m a landlord with rental properties in Portland. May I plant trees at my rental properties but have the credits applied to my personal utility account?

The City of Portland is not my sewer/stormwater/water utility provider. Can I get a Treebate?

Where do I find my City of Portland sewer/stormwater/water utility account number?

I submitted my Treebate application. When will I get my credit?

How much will my Treebate be?

Why do fruit trees get a smaller credit than other trees?

Why does the credit depend on mature tree size?

Is there a maximum number of trees that I can get a Treebate for?

Do I need a receipt?

Why does Treebate have a minimum planting size requirement?

Do I have to purchase from select nurseries?

Can I get a Treebate for a tree I purchased from Friends of Trees?

Can I get a Treebate for a tree I did not pay for?


 

Are all trees eligible for Treebate?

Treebate does not restrict trees based on species except for “nuisance trees,” trees listed as Nuisance Plants on the Portland Plant List (Nuisance Plants are not eligible for Treebate). Any species of tree is potentially eligible for Treebate so long as it meets other program requirements, such as size and room to grow. Please see the Eligibility Checklist. Consult an arborist or landscape professional if you need help choosing the right tree for your yard.

What counts as a tree?

A tree is a woody plant with a single stem and secondary branches supported clear of the ground. To qualify for the program, and to distinguish trees from shrubs, the tree you wish to submit must grow to at least 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide at maturity.

All eligible trees must be planted in the ground and maintained such that they have the potential to reach their full mature canopy height and width. For example, a tree that grows to 30 feet wide should be planted no closer than 15 feet to buildings and other trees. Trees planted in tight rows to form a hedge or trees pruned to reduce their mature size (such as topiary or espalier) are not eligible for a Treebate.

Do fruit trees qualify for the Treebate program?

Yes. Fruit trees are eligible for Treebate so long as they meet all the regular program requirements. Please note that “ultra dwarf,” “super dwarf,” and columnar varieties of fruit trees, and fruit trees pruned into ornamental shapes, such as espalier, are not eligible for Treebate. Fruit trees planted in pots are not eligible for Treebate.

Sweet cherry, Prunus avium, and its cultivars are NOT eligible for Treebate. This species is considered invasive and is on the City’s Nuisance Plants list, part of the Portland Plant List.

Do trees planted in the right-of-way (“street trees”) qualify for a Treebate?

No, only trees planted in private residential yards qualify for Treebate.

Trees planted in the right-of-way require a free street tree planting permit from Portland Parks Urban Forestry. The street tree planting permit includes a site inspection. During the inspection, a City inspector marks potential planting locations to reduce the likelihood of future utility conflicts or damage to infrastructure as the tree grows. Street trees must be chosen from a list approved by Portland Parks Urban Forestry and have different planting size requirements than Treebate.

If you are interested in planting a street tree, we encourage you to sign up with our non-profit partner, Friends of Trees. Environmental Services partners with Friends of Trees’ Neighborhood Trees Program to help make street trees affordable and accessible to Portlanders. Please note that Friends of Trees focuses on neighborhoods east of the Willamette River, where tree canopy cover is generally lower. Contact Friends of Trees directly to learn whether a planting event is planned in your neighborhood.

Why must a tree be purchased, planted, and application submitted between September and April?

In Portland, cool, moist weather prevails from approximately October through March. Late fall and winter are generally considered the best time to plant trees because they are dormant during that time. Planting a dormant tree in cool, moist conditions should result in the least transplant shock and increase the likelihood that your tree survives. The program window is extended to include September and April to provide customers additional time to purchase their trees and to submit their applications.

Trees planted during the warm, dry season in Portland struggle to survive and are more likely than winter-planted trees to die before they get established. For this reason, we encourage planting during the cool, wet season by limiting the program window. Trees purchased, planted, and/or submitted outside of the program window are not eligible for a Treebate credit.

Treebate only accepts applications for trees purchased and planted during the current planting season (September – April). Trees planted in previous planting seasons are not eligible.

I’m a landlord with rental properties in Portland. May I plant trees at my rental properties but have the credits applied to my personal utility account?

The Treebate credit goes to the utility account at the property where the tree was planted. If you pay that bill, you will see the credit. If your tenants pay the bill, they will see the credit. Only active utility accounts may be credited.

The City of Portland is not my sewer/stormwater/water utility provider. Can I get a Treebate?

Sorry, no. Treebate is a rate reduction program made possible by City of Portland utility ratepayers. The Treebate credit is applied directly to your City of Portland sewer/stormwater/water utility bill. If you receive your utility service from another provider, we encourage you to contact them directly to express your interest in a similar program for your service area.

Where do I find my City of Portland sewer/stormwater/water utility account number?

Your utility account number is located in the top right-hand corner of your sewer/stormwater/water utility bill. The number is ten digits and uses the following format: 29X-XXX-XXX-0. You may also obtain your account number by calling the Water Bureau Customer Service line at 503-823-7770. Treebate staff does not have access to the Water Bureau’s database and cannot look up your account information for you.

I submitted my Treebate application. When will I get my credit?

Treebate credit requests are batched and processed monthly. Your Treebate will appear as an “adjustment” (you will not see the word “Treebate”). When the adjustment is applied depends on your billing cycle. If you have not seen an adjustment on one of the two bills following your application, please contact Treebate staff at treebate@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-7640.

How much will my Treebate be?

Treebate credits 50% of the cost of the tree up to a maximum of $20 for small, $30 for medium, and $50 for large trees. Treebate credits 50% up to $10 for edible fruit trees. Size is determined based on the average mature height and width of the tree. See Program Details  for more information.

Why do fruit trees get a smaller credit than other trees?

When properly managed, fruit trees are kept small to prevent disease and increase ease of harvest. Nonetheless, fruit trees provide an additional benefit of food, contributing to food security and the resiliency of our communities. While they do not manage as much stormwater as other trees, we recognize their special importance to many of our community members.

Why does the credit depend on mature tree size?

Treebate is primarily an incentive to plant trees that will intercept rainwater, reducing the amount of runoff collected in the sewer system during rainstorms and reducing pollution to rivers. Larger trees help us manage more “stormwater” than smaller trees, so we provide a larger incentive for larger trees.

Is there a maximum number of trees that I can get a Treebate for?

You are limited to the number of trees for which there is room on your property for those trees to reach their full mature height and width. All, some, or none of the trees you submit to Treebate may be eligible, depending on the individual situation. All eligible trees must be planted and maintained such that they have the potential to reach their full mature stature. Program staff will request a site plan if they need more information to determine whether trees will have enough space. If you are submitting 5 or more trees on a single property, please include a site plan.

Do I need a receipt?

Yes. Treebate is a cost-share incentive that is based on the price paid for the tree. In addition, Treebate only accepts applications for trees purchased and planted during the current planting season (September – April). Trees planted in previous planting seasons are not eligible. A receipt, or proof of purchase, is necessary to determine both the price paid for the tree and the date the tree was purchased.

It is not necessary to submit the original receipt; you may submit a photocopy, a photo, or a PDF. Please make sure the entire receipt is visible.

If you have lost your receipt, check with the nursery or landscape professional to see whether they are able to reprint one for you.

Why does Treebate have a minimum planting size requirement?

The Treebate Program exists to encourage tree planting for the stormwater benefits trees provide. The minimum size requirements were established as a compromise to credit trees that are small enough that they can be reasonably planted by the utility customer, but large enough that, at the time of planting, they are a sturdy, water-intercepting component of the landscape.

To be eligible for Treebate, a tree must be, at the time of planting, at least 4 feet tall measured from the base of the trunk (not including the pot or root ball).

Do I have to purchase from select nurseries?

No, a tree purchased from any nursery or landscape professional is potentially eligible so long as the tree meets all regular program requirements and you can provide proof of purchase. We are fortunate in the Portland area to have many fine nurseries and landscape professionals to choose from. If you are looking for a specific tree, we recommend calling ahead to be sure the business you choose stocks the tree you are looking for in an eligible size.

Can I get a Treebate for a tree I purchased from Friends of Trees?

Maybe. Trees purchased and planted through Friends of Trees as part of an annual neighborhood planting event have already been paid for in part by our program – so we’ve already cost-shared with you behind the scenes! If you purchased your tree from Friends of Trees during their year-end tree sale and your tree was not planted as part of a planting event, your tree is eligible (if it meets the other program requirements).

Can I get a Treebate for a tree I did not pay for?

No, Treebate is a cost-share incentive, based on the price paid for a tree. If you did not have to pay for the tree, then there is no cost to share. Some trees, such as those planted through Friends of Trees, or picked up at a Portland Parks Urban Forestry Yard Tree Giveaway have already been paid for by other City programs and are not eligible for additional credit through the Treebate Program.