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On July 27, 2010 the Planning Commission voted to approve the Citywide Tree Project staff recommendations and develop a revised draft proposal for public review and City Council consideration this fall. The Urban Forestry Commission also approved the staff recommendations on July 29.
The recommendations, including revisions to the February 10, 2010 draft proposal are posted on the Citywide Tree Project at www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject. Revisions to the earlier draft are intended to address comments raised in public testimony submitted from March through June, and initial direction from both commissions during work sessions in April, May and June. Written testimony is also available on the project website.
The revisions clarify, simplify and reduce the costs of the initial proposal, and strike a clearer balance between the City's urban forestry and development goals. The revised proposal continues to include customer service improvements and contains a more streamlined tree permit proposal for homeowners. The proposal is expected to generate significant additional tree canopy through improved tree preservation, planting and protection during construction.
The commissions also endorsed a phased project implementation strategy, starting with customer service improvements in FY 2011-12 (single point of contact, 24-hour tree hotline, community tree manual), followed by implementation of code changes in FY 2012-13. Most ongoing implementation costs would be covered through incremental changes in building permit and land use review fees. Phased project implementation will provide time for public outreach and, we hope, adequate economic and City budget recovery before revised codes go into effect.