11.40.050 Private Tree Permit Standards and Review Factors.

City Code Section

(Amended by Ordinances 188278 and 191030, effective November 11, 2022.) 

  1. Type A and B permit applications for tree related work affecting Private Trees shall be reviewed using the following applicable review factors and standards in accordance with the application procedures set forth in Chapter 11.30.

Table 40-3
Summary of Permit Requirements for Private Trees 


Permit Type

Tree Replacement[1]
(See Section 11.40.060)

Public Notice /
  Public May Appeal

No permit is required for:

-  planting trees

-  pruning trees outside of the environmental protection (p), environmental conservation (c), or Pleasant Valley Natural Resource (v) overlay zones;

-  removal of trees smaller than the sizes regulated by this Chapter (see 11.40.020 B.); or

-  other activities that are exempt from the requirements of this chapter (see 11.40.030)

Pruning native trees in c, p, or v overlay zones




Removal of any tree that is:

-  dead, dying, or dangerous

-  a nuisance species identified in the Portland Plant List

-  located within 10 feet of  building or attached structure


tree for tree


Removing up to 4 healthy non-nuisance species trees per site per year as follows:   

-  Smaller than 20” diameter


tree for tree


-  20” diameter and larger


inch for inch


Removing more than 4 healthy non-nuisance species trees per site per year as follows:

12” diameter and larger


inch for inch


[1]   “Tree for Tree” means one tree is required to be planted for each tree removed, “inch for inch” means the City Forester may require up to an equivalent number of inches be planted for the total diameter inches of the tree being removed.

[2] No public notice or opportunity for public appeal is required for removal of one healthy tree > 20” diameter per lot per year in any residential zone.

  1.  A. Standards and Review Factors for Type A Permits for Private Trees.
    1. 1. Pruning. A pruning permit is required only if the tree is a native tree in the Environmental (c, p) or Pleasant Valley Natural Resource (v) Overlay Zones.
      1. a. Exceptions. A permit is not required for pruning trees in the following situations:
        1. (1) Pruning trees located within 10 feet of a building or attached structure;
        2. (2) Pruning coniferous trees that are within 30 feet of structures, when the structure is within the wildfire hazard zone as shown on the City’s Wildfire Hazard Zone Map;
        3. (3) Pruning to abate an immediate danger;
        4. (4) Pruning for trail maintenance when not exceeding a height of 8 feet and a width of 6 feet as shown in Figure 40-1; or
        5. (5) Crown maintenance and crown reduction of trees within the Portland International Airport Plan District or Cascade Station/Portland International Center Plan District that project above or will, upon maturity project above the height limit delineated by the "h" overlay zone or are identified as attracting wildlife species of concern related to air traffic safety.
      2. b. Standards. The City Forester will grant a Type A Permit for pruning if the applicant demonstrates to the City Forester's satisfaction that the pruning will meet the following:
        1. (1) Pruning is limited to 5 native trees per calendar year per 10,000 square feet of site area;
        2. (2) An arborist shall prepare and submit a pruning plan and supervise or conduct the work. The pruning plan shall describe the nature and extent of the proposed pruning as necessary to ensure proper arboricultural practices are followed; and
        3. (3) Additional pruning may be allowed if the applicable criteria are met through an environmental review or natural resource review per Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
    2. 2. Removal. Trees shall be replaced as indicated in Table 40-3. The City Forester will grant a permit to remove a tree if the City Forester determines that the proposed removal is exempt or allowed by Title 33, Planning and Zoning; and meets at least one of the following:
      1. a. Dead trees. The tree is dead or has been damaged beyond repair or where not enough live tissue, green leaves, limbs, roots or branches exist to sustain life.
      2. b. Dying trees. The tree is in an advanced state of decline because it is diseased, infested by insects, or rotting and cannot be saved by reasonable treatment or pruning, or must be removed to prevent spread of the infestation or disease to other trees or is imminently likely to be become a danger or die. The City Forester may apply a condition of approval to the permit to require specific disposal methods for infected wood.
      3. c. Dangerous trees. The City Forester may evaluate the removal request by first evaluating practicable alternatives to the removal. If the City Forester finds either that the cost of the alternatives significantly exceeds the value of the tree, or that such alternatives will not substantially alleviate the dangerous condition, the City Forester will grant the permit.
      4. d. Nuisance species trees. The tree is listed on the "Nuisance Plant List".
      5. e. Trees within 10 feet of a building or attached structure. The trunk of the tree at its base is located completely or partially within 10 horizontal feet of the wall of a building or attached structure.
      6. f. Healthy trees. Up to 4 healthy trees may be removed per site per calendar year if each tree meets the following:
        1. (1) Each tree is less than 20 inches in diameter;
        2. (2) None of the trees are Heritage Trees; and
        3. (3) None of the trees are required to be preserved by a condition of a land use review, provision of this Title or the Zoning Code, or as part of a required stormwater facility;
  2. B. Standards and Review Factors for Type B Permits for Private Trees. Because Type B permits for Private Trees are required only for removal; the standards and review factors of this Subsection are specific to tree removal.
    1. 1. Standards. The City Forester shall determine that the following standards are met before granting a Type B permit:
      1. a. For trees located in one of the overlay zones or plan districts identified in Table 40-1, the proposed removal is exempt or allowed by Title 33, Planning and Zoning;
      2. b. The tree is not required to be preserved by a condition of a land use review, or provision of this Title or the Zoning Code; and
      3. c. Trees removed shall be replaced as specified in Table 40-3.
    2. 2. Review Factors. The City encourages retention of healthy Private Trees where practical alternatives to removal exist, and where those alternatives meet the owner’s objectives for reasonable use and enjoyment of the property. Factors are considered to ensure that significant adverse impacts are avoided or mitigated, weighing the broader economic, ecological, and community concerns. These decisions are fact-specific and are made on a case-by-case basis. In making these decisions, the City Forester will consider:
      1. a. Whether there are practical alternatives that meet the owner’s objectives without removing the tree;
      2. b. Whether the species of tree is appropriate for its location;
      3. c. Whether the tree’s crown, stem, or root growth habit has developed in a manner that would prevent continued healthy growth or is negatively impacting other trees; and
      4. d. Whether the removal will significantly affect public safety or neighborhood character based on the following:
        1. (1) The age, size, form, general condition, pruning history and any unique qualities or attributes of the trees;
        2. (2) The visibility of the trees from public streets and accessways;
        3. (3) The cumulative impacts of current and prior tree removals in the area; and
        4. (4) Whether removal of the tree will have a significant adverse impact on the viability of other trees or make other trees considerably more vulnerable to edge effects such as windthrow, sunscald, and unbalanced canopy.