Portland’s trees provide more than a sense of identity as a “green city.” The City is currently undertaking a comprehensive review and update of Portland's tree regulations. The Citywide Tree Project proposal will be released for public review in mid-February. The Planning Commission will hold a briefing on February 23, and the Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission will hold a joint public hearing on March 23. Both the briefing and the joint hearing will take place at 6 p.m., Room 2500, 1900 SW Fourth Ave, Portland.
A draft proposal for the Tree Project is available for public review at www.portlandonline.com\bps\treeproject, and open houses for the public to learn more about the project prior to the hearing will be held on:
March 9, 2010
Multnomah County Arts Center Auditorium
7688 SW Capitol Highway
Portland, Oregon 97219
March 16, 2010
Floyd Light Middle School Cafeteria
10800 SE Washington St
Portland, Oregon 97216
Trees clean and cool our air and water, capture greenhouse gases, reduce energy demand, make streets more enjoyable for walking, enhance residential property values and business district vitality, and provide food for people and wildlife habitat. A Portland Parks and Recreation report valued the annual environmental and aesthetic benefits of Portland’s street and park trees at about $27 million and the replacement value of all trees in the city at roughly $5 billion.
Portland’s 2004 Urban Forestry Management Plan set goals to protect and enhance the urban forest, distribute tree-related benefits equitably and increase the citywide canopy from 26 to 33 percent. The City’s 2007 Urban Forest Action Strategy calls for public education, tree planting and maintenance, and policy and regulatory updates.
But Portlanders have long expressed concern that existing City tree rules are overly complex, confusing, inconsistent, and ineffective in protecting and preserving trees as the city grows. In response, City Council funded the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to lead the Tree Policy Review and Regulatory Improvement Project (aka Citywide Tree Project).
The project charge is to:
• create a consistent, cohesive regulatory framework for Portland’s trees; and
• enhance the urban forest through development and redevelopment.
With extensive input from neighborhood representatives, developers, arborists and environmental organizations, City staff developed a proposal to:
• Create a new comprehensive tree code.
• Address street trees, city trees and private trees more consistently.
• Improve tree preservation and planting for new development.
• Standardize the tree removal permit system, eliminating homeowner exemptions.
• Improve customer service and information on tree programs and rules by establishing a single point of contact, 24-hour tree hotline and Community Tree Manual.
• Provide cost-effective, efficient and practical solutions.
For more information and to learn about the upcoming workshops, visit www.portlandonline.com\bps\treeproject.