Do you have a favorite tree?
Is your favorite tree big, old, rare, does it have a great story? If you said yes to any of these, you may have a Heritage Tree! Portland Parks & Recreation is looking for the next best tree and anyone can submit a nomination. Please see tips and instructions below.
How to nominate a Heritage Tree.
Complete and return this form anytime throughout the year. The nomination deadline is May 1. It takes about a year to receive Heritage Tree designation once the nominated tree has been accepted.
Anyone can nominate a tree for Heritage Tree status. However, if the tree is located on private property the property owner must give consent. The property owner must sign the nomination form when it is submitted.
Heritage Tree Criteria
The Heritage Tree Program celebrates grand trees of Portland, such trees stand out by virtue of any one of these attributes:
Size: The tree is a large specimen. View sizes of current Heritage Trees to see comparisons.
Age: The tree is old.
Type and Horticultural Value: The tree is an unusual or uncommon species.
Historical association: The tree has documented history. Provide details and information with the nomination.
The Heritage Tree Committee seeks to expand the Heritage Tree Program Eastward to ensure that Heritage Trees are widely distributed in the city and available in many neighborhoods.
The Nomination Process
The nomination process can take up to a year to complete:
- May 1: Annual nomination deadline
- June: Nominated trees are inspected by a City arborist for health and sufficient growing space. Nominated trees are then visited by the Heritage Tree Committee, who will evaluate the tree against criteria and vote whether or not to move the nomination forward.
- Summer: Property owners and neighbors of nominees moving forward are notified. Owners of trees on private property must sign and notarize a consent form for Heritage Tree status.
- Fall: Nominated trees are presented to the Urban Forestry Commission for review and approval.
- Spring: Nominated trees are presented to City Council for review and approval. City Council provides the final designation in the form of a City ordinance.
Trees that are impressive but cannot meet our criteria (e.g., because the owner will not consent or because they are in the backyard and not sufficiently visible) may be designated as a Tree of Merit.
Tips and recommendations for identifying promising Heritage Tree Nominees:
The Heritage Tree Committee strongly recommends that each individual or group choose their best one or two trees to nominate for designation as Heritage Trees. We encourage you to use these tips and recommendations throughout your search for the newest addition to the Heritage Tree Program.
Additional factors to consider for your nominee:
- Heritage Trees require sufficient space to grow for both their roots and canopy
- Heritage Trees are in good health and have received proper care and maintenance
- Heritage Trees are visible to the public from some vantage point (from street or alley)
- Nuisance tree species are not eligible for the Heritage Tree Program
Find out the history of your favorite tree: Learn how to research the history of trees in Portland using the Historical Tree Research Guide, developed by Portland historian Dave-Paul Hedberg. The guide covers topics such as web searches, conducting interviews with community members, and how to utilize local archives.
Find the tallest trees in your neighborhood: Portland State University's Canopy Analytics Tool uses recent LiDAR data to map trees over 50' in height. Filter by distance from buildings, ownership (private/public), type (conifer/deciduous), and urban heat island impact.
Find unusual or large trees:
- Urban Forestry's Tree Inventory Project has mapped all street trees in the City. Download and sort date in Excel or ArcGIS to search for unusual and/or large street trees.
- Compare your prospective tree with other, existing Heritage Trees of the same species. Use the Heritage Tree Website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/heritagetree