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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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PP&R Urban Forestry working hard to address storm cleanup citywide

POSTED ON DECEMBER 12, 2016

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s Urban Forestry division (UF), coordinating closely with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is working to address areas where has ice and snow have resulted in downed trees impacting roads, rights-of-way and/or private and park property. PBOT and PP&R combined have received reports of around 260 distinct locations impacted by downed tree issues since the winter blast began last week.

Photo: a landslide and downed trees force a portion of NW Cornell Rd., near the Audubon Society of Portland, to remain closed. PBOT, PP&R and utility crews are working together to mitigate hazards and debris so the road can reopen.

As of 11am on Monday, December, 12, 2016, Urban Forestry crews had addressed more than 160 of these tree emergencies, and around 100 remaining issues will be investigated today.  The first priority for UF tree inspectors and work crews is to ensure that all hazards in a given area are mitigated - both on the ground and overhead in the surrounding trees. Next is to work clearing roads – major arteries and highways are all reported as clear; UF crews will be working on area streets which allow people to get to and from their homes and neighborhoods.

“The City is very proud of and grateful for the hard work and dedication of Portland Parks & Recreation and PBOT staff during and after the storm,” says Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “We are thankful that there are no reported injuries to our staff while they responded to emergencies to clear our roads of dangerous tree debris.”

PP&R’s Urban Forestry calls the recent winter weather one of the biggest event to impact trees citywide this decade. PP&R arborists and tree inspectors responded as soon as reports of downed trees began coming in last week, sometimes working until 3am and returning to work around 7am to address tree emergencies citywide.

Currently PP&R has five tree inspectors and three crews of arborists out in the city, working as hard as they can. The focus for work crews is on safety and access, rather than immediate clean-up.

“Our dedicated Urban Forestry workers are persevering with the extensive and difficult work, and we offer them our continued thanks,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “We have had extensive coordination and cooperation with PBOT. If you've already reported a tree issue, please know that we will get to it, and thanks for your patience as crews address the hundreds of separate issues.”

Weather forecasts are calling for the possibility of more snow later this week. To help prevent further weather-related tree issues, Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry urges homeowners to have their trees trimmed, maintained and regularly assessed using Certified Arborists. And drivers and people on foot should always use extra caution while driving or walking in winter weather conditions. If you come across a downed tree or limb, look UP as well as down at the ground.  Proceed carefully, knowing that the tree branches came from somewhere nearby; and potential other hazards may remain.

If anyone sees a new issue of hazardous tree in a City right-of-way, please email trees@portlandoregon.gov, or call 503-823-TREE.  You will need the site address, a good description of the issue, and kindly provide your name and contact info in case of any questions.

-Please visit the Urban Forestry website or consult a practicing certified arborist for helpful tips on maintenance and information on species that are best suited for our area when planting trees

- Neighbors are urged to please consult an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist to care for your trees, including street trees, adjacent property owner is required to maintain street trees in line with City Code.

- PP&R has a list of local tree care providers on our Urban Forestry website. These are Certified Arborists who have attended training on city urban forest management goals and regulations, and have no tree permit violations in last year.

- Trees provide important health and environmental services to city residents like cleaning air, reducing high summer temperatures on streets and in homes, providing wildlife habitat, and beautifying our neighborhoods.

Other weather-related impacts:

  • Forest Park – the Newton Road entrance to the park is closed due to large tree blocking road and parking lot.  Gate will remain closed at top of road until situation is safe for entry. 
  • Hoyt Arboretum -most trails continue to be unsafe due to down wood and overhead hazards.  Many trails have yet not been fully assessed at this time.  SW Fischer Lane and SW Bray Lane are still closed. 
  • Washington Park roads – all roads leading into and through Washington Park are now OPEN as of 12:33 December 12, 2016.
  • Washington Park archery range is CLOSED pending a full inspection for ice/road conditions and downed trees.
  • Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial is impacted by a number of downed trees and branches. Visitors are urged to use extreme caution at this time. PP&R staff expect to address this area by Tuesday morning, December 13, as capacity and circumstances permit.

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