Do I Need A Tree Permit?
If you plan to hire an arborist to care for trees on your property or in the public right-of-way (between the sidewalk and curb), you will most likely need to acquire a permit from Portland Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry. Pruning, planting and removal of trees are regulated within the City of Portland, and require permits that depend on things like your property’s zoning, and the tree’s species, size and location.
Portland tree permitting rules are complex, and tree care companies are generally not allowed to apply for the permit on the property owner’s behalf. Failing to get the proper permit could cost you a fine of up to $20,000. Give us a call and we can help sort out whether or not you need permission from the city to have tree work done.
A permit is required before performing any pruning on public or street trees. Permits for pruning public trees can be obtained online if the street tree is abutting residential property; you will be pruning branches less than 6″ in diameter; you will be performing young tree pruning, crown cleaning or crown raising for the purpose of clearing the street or sidewalk; and if the street tree is not a Heritage Tree. Other types of pruning may be permitted for public trees, but require a tree inspection.
Urban Forestry will consider your request to remove a street tree and suggest alternatives to tree removal unless no viable alternative exists. Removal will only be approved if the tree is dead, dying or dangerous. If your tree is merely dropping leaves for fruit, seems too tall, is making too much shade or is costing you too much to maintain, a permit will likely not be granted. If a removal permit is granted, it will require that a 2″ caliper tree be replanted.
For the removal of trees growing in yards, not in the public right-of-way, you must still adhere to certain regulations. On particular private properties, it’s prohibited to cut trees larger than 12” in diameter. Also, if your property is located in an environmental zone, if existing trees are protected through land use rules, or if your property is dividable, you may need a permit.
If you are planning on planting a tree (recommended in the cool, wet months) in the public right-of-way, you will need to obtain a planting permit, which are free and include an on-site inspection. To guarantee that the tree provides the most benefit and needs little maintenance as it grows, an inspector will help you choose suitable tree varieties, determine the appropriate planting location, and locate utilities.
For more information, visit PortlandOregon.gov, or call Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry at 503-823-4489.