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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Trees

Call before you cut

phone: (503) 823-TREE (8733)


1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97201

Root Pruning Permits

This page describes the process for root pruning trees in the right-of-way when no development is occurring. For tree activities during development, click here.

When is a root pruning permit required?

  • Street trees: A permit is required to prune roots greater than or equal to 1/4 inch at attachment on any tree in the City right-of-way, which is typically between the curb and sidewalk.
  • Private trees: No permit is required to root prune a tree on private property.

Request a root pruning inspection and permit

Starting July 1st, 2019 apply online at

Have the following information available:

  • The address of the site
  • The location of the trees on the site (i.e. if it is a corner lot, name the street where the trees are for inspection)
  • The number of trees you request an inspection for
  • The sidewalk permit affidavit number
  • Your name, phone number, and relationship to the property (i.e. if you are a contractor or the property owner, etc.)

Timeline and process

The sidewalk must be lifted and the tree roots exposed before you request an Urban Forestry root pruning permit. Request a sidewalk permit from the Bureau of Transportation by emailing or calling 503-823-7002.

Once a root pruning permit application is submitted, an Urban Forestry Tree Inspector will visit the site within two full business days and mark the roots that can be cut with orange spray paint. The Tree Inspector will attach the root pruning permit to a street barricade at the site. 

Qualifying for a permit

A Tree Inspector will only issue a root pruning permit during sidewalk repairs, in order to reduce future damage to the repaired sidewalk. The Tree Inspector may allow tree roots to be cut only if it will not significantly impact the health and structural stability of the tree. 

It is recommended that you hire a certified arborist to do the root pruning.