Help Portland Plan for the Future of the City’s Trees

News Article
Survey and open house coming soon to help revise the Portland Urban Forest Plan
Published

(Portland, OR) – 

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) invites community members to help update the City of Portland’s Urban Forest Plan. The Bureau is leading the effort to update the plan, funded by the 2020 Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy).

The plan was last updated in 2004. The revision effort will set new canopy goals and guide the City so people and wildlife can enjoy the benefits of Portland’s trees for generations to come.When complete, the plan will serve as the City’s roadmap for protecting, preserving, restoring, and expanding the urban forest equitably and sustainably.

A group of schoolchildren jump, smile, and celebrate a Portland tree planting they helped with.
A group of schoolchildren jump, smile, and celebrate a Portland tree planting they helped with.

Trees are part of the very fabric of our city

Trees help keep Portland green and healthy. They offer shade; lower temperatures in homes and neighborhoods; provide wildlife habitat, beauty, and cleaner air; and help mitigate the effects of climate change. PP&R regularly plants new trees in areas of town where the canopy is not yet as robust as others. Still, our most recent study showed Portland’s tree coverage has declined in recent years.

“Trees are vital to our city,” notes Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan. “It’s clear how important it is to update the Urban Forest Plan. Data show that, for multiple years in a row, Portland lost tree cover equal to the size of Mt. Tabor Park. I look forward to the conclusion of this work, and to having actionable recommendations for achieving and monitoring tree-related goals for Portland.”

“The revised Portland Urban Forest Plan will give the City an updated framework to act on,” says PP&R Director Adena Long. “It will allow us to equitably and sustainably grow the urban forest, ensuring the benefits of a healthy tree canopy are realized by all Portlanders. A critical role of Portland’s trees is to mitigate the impacts of the heat island effect and climate change.”

Portlanders have several chances to help shape the new Urban Forest Plan. PP&R wants to hear from people of diverse backgrounds. This includes those who have been involved in urban forest and environmental advocacy for a long time, and neighbors from traditionally underserved communities.

Get involved and let your voice be heard

There are two ways to get involved with the plan this spring. Take the project survey and share your vision, values, and priorities for trees in our community. 

The survey will be open from March 25 to May 2, 2024.

Complete the survey and enter a drawing for a gift card to Fred Meyer. Multiple people will be selected each week until the survey closes.
 

Join Portland Parks & Recreation for an April open house!  

  • When: Wednesday, April 24, from 5 to 7:30pm
  • Where: The Commons at McDaniel High School, 2735 NE 82nd Avenue

Learn about the plan at this family-friendly event and help create a vision and goals for the future. There will be activities and opportunities to speak directly with the project team.

Everyone is welcome, bring your friends and neighbors! Childcare, translation services, and light refreshments will be provided.

PP&R will host additional activities for public input throughout 2024. Visit the Portland Urban Forest Plan webpagefor more information. 

Sign up for project updates

Contact Belinda.Judelman@PortlandOregon.gov to be added to the email list. 

Project timeline

The project is progressing on schedule. PP&R began the project in fall 2023 and intends to have the draft plan ready for public review by early 2025.

Project background

The City is updating its current Urban Forest Management Plan, created in 2004. The revised Portland Urban Forest Plan will build on past work, like the Urban Forest Action Plan (2007), Growing a More Equitable Urban Forest: A Citywide Tree Planting Strategy (2018), Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland (2023), findings from the City’s tree inventories, and other City efforts.

The plan is being created in partnership with the community and staff from multiple City bureaus and regional and state agencies. Three committees are advising PP&R staff in this work, including a technical advisory committee, the Urban Forestry Commission, and a community advisory committee. The community advisory committee, community engagement liaisons, and 10 workshops are helping the City to connect with and center the voices of underserved communities throughout this project. 

About PP&R’s Urban Forestry department  

The mission of PP&R’s Urban Forestry department is to manage and care for Portland's urban forest infrastructure. Our urban forest consists of more than 220,000 street trees, 1.2 million park trees, and about 2.9 million private property trees. Some of the many services Urban Forestry provides include creating and implementing the City's Urban Forest Management Plan; fostering community awareness and stewardship of trees; developing tree policies and programs; monitoring and assessing the urban forest; issuing permits for planting, pruning, and removal of public and some private trees; and responding to tree emergencies.

Parks Local Option Levy leads to better and more tree care in PP&R system

With funding from the Parks Levy, passed by voters in November 2020, PP&R is preparing work on restoring natural areas, planting more trees, safeguarding clean water, protecting wildlife, diminishing the effects of climate change, and providing the appropriate care for the 1.2 million trees in Portland’s parks system. The levy is also funding the Portland Urban Forest Plan and related work.

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