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Statement from PP&R regarding Friends of Trees

News Article
Portland Parks & Recreation explains tree planting contracts and current agreements as we work with the community to help plant trees for all the benefits and services they offer.

Friends of Trees is a valued partner of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R). PP&R has an active contract with Friends of Trees to plant and establish trees in our community. The City of Portland pays contractors to plant trees and perform other services. Friends of Trees (FOT) is one of those contractors and has an active five-year agreement (now in its second year) to plant and establish trees for the City’s tree program with PP&R’s Urban Forestry team. PP&R is the Bureau that manages the City’s urban forest and currently works with two other contractors in addition to FOT for this important work. 

Young trees await planting at a Portland Parks & Recreation Arbor Day event.
Young trees await planting at a Portland Parks & Recreation Arbor Day event.

Through their current contract with PP&R, FOT helps to plant trees and provides watering and tree establishment. Friends of Trees was allocated $139,000 for this tree planting season, which they have not fully utilized. Under their contract FOT is eligible to provide up to $1 million in contracted on-call services with PP&R annually.  

This contract with PP&R remains in place and is unaffected by any other contracts held by Friends of Trees with other City bureaus. As a community group, Friends of Trees (and all Portlanders) are welcome to plant trees in the right of way – as long as they have secured written property owner permission, a free permit, and perform the work according to required standards and guidance.  

City contracts are created through a public process that aims to create fair and equitable opportunities for organizations - including those led by Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color; Disadvantaged, Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, Emerging Small Businesses, and Service-Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises. 

PP&R performs whole life cycle tree care in partnership with a diverse range of governments, community organizations, and Portlanders. Most tree care such as right-of-way tree planting and maintenance is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner and private property planting is the responsibility of that property owner. Street tree maintenance is not currently funded by the City of Portland.  

An essential part of PP&R’s urban forestry work is a strategic, systematic, and targeted approach to tree planting and City partners. This is in line with the Growing a more equitable urban forest: Portland’s citywide tree planting strategy  developed by engaging diverse community members. PP&R also leadsefforts to track changes to our urban forest, such as the Tree Canopy Monitoring Report. This strategy utilizes data and City resources to plan for tree equity, working to prioritize equitable access to trees and urban forest services for communities of color, including low-income households, refugee and immigrant communities, and low-canopy neighborhoods. 

PP&R’s Urban Forestry (UF) team directly engages Portlanders in community tree stewardship, including tree planting. Our UF staffers will plant over 4,000 trees in the 2022-2023 season with help from volunteers, contractors, partners, and property owners. Portlanders volunteered over 51,000 hours during 2020 with PP&R for efforts in planting, caring for, and learning about trees and the urban forest.  PP&R’s planting and community tree care programs are growing, and we anticipate increased planting next season thanks to funding from the City’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund and the Parks Local Option Levy.  

Current planting programs include:

Free Street Tree Planting

Neighborhoods in high need of trees are selected for free street planting each year. Planting and three years of establishment care are included.  

  • 2021-22: 700 street trees planted in Lents, Argay, Parkrose, and Parkrose Heights neighborhoods.  
  • 2022-2023: We expect 1,200 street trees to be planted (site surveys are ongoing now). 

Yard Tree Giveaway events: 

Portlanders can receive two free yard trees per household from many desirable, available species for planting in their yard. Registration opens annually in September for fall pick-up. Delivery and planting services are available for anyone needing assistance. 

  • 2021-2022: 1,730 trees given away. 
  • 2022-2023: 2,000 trees planned to be given away. 

Schools, Parks, and other Public Spaces:  

Schools receive planning, free trees, planting, and three years of establishment care through the Learning Landscapes program. Students and volunteers plant trees alongside Urban Forestry staff. Applications are accepted year-round and tree plantings occur in spring. 

PP&R works with community members to plant trees at Parks and in other Public Spaces.  Planning, trees, planting, and three years of establishment care are included. 

The bureau’s Natural Area Volunteer Stewardship program plantings thousands of native plants and shrubs annually with volunteers and community partners. 

Portland Parks & Recreation plants trees at Parks and City owned sites to replace dead trees and increase canopy.

These trees are planted by Urban Forestry’s Operations team. 

  • 2021-2022: approximately 2,000 trees planted (final count still pending). 
  • 2022-2023: 2,000 tree plantings planned. 

As mentioned, PP&R's focus on growing a more equitable forest includes increasing contracts directly with Disadvantaged, Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, Emerging Small Businesses, Service-Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises (D/M/W/ESB/SDVBE) contractors and sub-contractors. PP&R intends to honor our commitment to inclusion by engaging with Portlanders directly, with a distinct focus on underserved communities. 

PP&R has other opportunities for tree planting through grants and partnership opportunities. For more information, please contact  

Additional Information:

For more information about the important work of PP&R on tree-planting please refer to the following resources: 

· Free Street Tree Planting

· Yard Tree Giveaway 

· Growing a More Equitable Urban Forest: Portland’s citywide tree planting strategy  

· Local Tree Care Providers List – if you are unable to plant a tree on your own, see this list of contractors who may provide this service. 

· Approved Street Tree Planting lists 

Information on tree permits including for tree planting.