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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Frequently Asked Questions

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, the tree you wish to submit must grow to at least 15 feet tall at maturity.

All eligible trees must be planted 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.

How much will my Treebate be?

Treebate credits 50% of the cost of the tree up to a maximum of $15 for small, $25 for medium, and $50 for large trees. Size is determined based on the average mature height and width of the tree. See Program Details for more information.

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 6 feet tall (if broadleaf) or 4 feet tall (if coniferous) and have a trunk diameter of at least 1 inch measured at 6 inches above the soil line.

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 canopy cover is generally lower. Contact Friends of Trees directly to learn whether a planting event is planned in your neighborhood.

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. Note that many dwarf varieties do not grow tall enough to qualify for Treebate credit. Eligible fruit trees are usually considered “small” trees, receiving a credit of 50% of the purchase price up to $15 per tree.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 10 or more trees on a single property, please include a site plan.

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’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?

No. 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.

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.

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 503-823-2255.