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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

Emergency Tree Removals

My tree is an immediate hazard! Can I take it out immediately?

What is an "immediate hazard"?

Generally, an immediate tree hazard is when a tree suddenly starts uprooting (cracks appear in the soil) or a tree suddenly starts splitting (fresh, white sapwood is visible in tree cracks) where the main branches connect to the trunk. Dead trees are generally not immediate hazards. 

If a large branch falls off of a tree, it may be considered a pruning emergency, but if the rest of the tree is still standing solidly it is not considered a tree removal emergency. 

If it is a street tree:

Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733). Emergency dispatchers are available 24/7.
An Urban Forestry Tree Inspector will be dispatched to the site right away to remove the hazard and issue an emergency permit for the pruning or removal of the hazard tree.

If it is a private tree:

If a tree is an immediate hazard, the tree may be removed or the hazardous portion pruned before obtaining a permit in order to eliminate a clear and present danger to structures or people. This provision exists to protect human life and property from imminent tree failures where there is not enough time to obtain a tree permit through the normal process. 

Anyone who removes or prunes a regulated tree on an emergency basis is required to apply for a retroactive Tree Removal and Replanting Permit or Tree Pruning Permit within 7 days of removing the tree. The application fee is still required. Photographs or other documentation (such as a report by a certified, practicing arboristmust be included in the application packet to prove that an emergency existed. 

If the Tree Inspector agrees, given the evidence, that an emergency did exist requiring the immediate removal of the tree in question, a retroactive Tree Removal and Replanting Permit will be issued.

If the Tree Inspector finds that no emergency existed and there was sufficient time to obtain the removal permit, the removal will be considered a violation of Title 11 Chapter 11.70 and the property owner will be required to correct the tree code violation