Heritage Trees are trees that have been formally recognized by City Council for their unique size, age, historical or horticultural significance. Once accepted by Council, Heritage Trees are designated with a small plaque and listed in the Heritage Tree database.
There are over 300 Heritage Trees throughout Portland, and new trees are added each year. Anyone can nominate a Heritage Tree! Heritage Trees are protected by City Code; once designated, no Heritage Tree can be removed without the consent of the Urban Forestry Commission and the Portland City Council.
The nomination deadline is May 1 each year. It takes about a year to receive Heritage Tree designation once the nominated tree has been accepted.
The Heritage Tree guidebook!
This 76-page guide has maps, species descriptions, best viewing times, and more. Print copies are currently unavailable. Check back in the future!
Announcing a new interpretive walking tour of 10 downtown Heritage Trees: From Stumptown to Treetown: A Field Guide for Interpreting Portland’s History though its Heritage Trees. This award-winning book, written by David-Paul B. Hedberg, a graduate student in the Department of History at Portland State University through an internship with Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry, connects historic photos to living trees in the city and invites you to explore some of Portland’s oldest living features.
Can I prune or remove a Heritage Tree?
A permit from Urban Forestry is required before pruning, inoculating, or doing any other tree work on a Heritage Tree, whether the tree is in the City right-of-way or on private property. Permits for tree work (excluding tree removal) are free and include a consultation by an Urban Forestry Tree Inspector.
A Heritage Tree can only be approved for removal if it is dead, dying, or dangerous. The Urban Forestry Commission and Portland City Council must formally decommission the tree before a permit can be issued for removal.
Heritage Trees & Development
Heritage Trees must be protected during development. Work on or around any Heritage Tree requires the property owner or applicant to schedule an assessment meeting with the City Forester by calling 503-823-TREE (8733). For permit approval, Planning & Zoning needs to see the recommendations that Urban Forestry provides for the tree transferred on to the tree preservation plan. It is recommended to take a copy of the current plan to the onsite meeting with Urban Forestry. The onsite meeting should be scheduled early in the development application process.
See Heritage Trees on Oregon Field Guide
Watch a segment on Portland's Heritage Tree Program here. Skip ahead to 17:08 for the Heritage Tree portion of the video.