Tree Concerns and Problems

Photo of fallen tree from old site
Information on reporting tree emergencies, defining "emergencies" and "non-emergencies," and when the City gets involved.
On this page

Helpful Definitions 

  • Emergency: An imminent threat (immediate hazard) to public safety or infrastructure that is time sensitive. 
    • By contrast, a dead tree (for example) maynot qualify as an imminent threat, if this tree work could be permitted in a standard time frame. 
  • Retroactive Permit: A permit applied for after doing emergency tree work. 
  • Right-of-way (ROW): City-owned property, often a strip of land near a street. Tree emergencies in the ROW are handled by the City and Urban Forestry. 

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Report a Tree Emergency

A blocked/imminent threat to the public in the Right-of-Way or City-managed land.

  • The City of Portland - Urban Forestry will respond during all hours to tree emergencies that block or pose an imminent threat to the public in the right-of-way (street or sidewalk) or on City-managed land (parks, etc.)
    • Tree or large branches blocking right-of-way that are too large for you to safely move out of the way
    • Street Tree suddenly split ( fresh, white sapwood visible in a deep crack in the trunk, or where the main branches attach to the trunk)
    • Street Tree or park tree suddenly leaning ( cracks may appear in the soil if the tree starts to uproot)
    • Large hanging limb over street or sidewalk
    • Report a Tree Emergency 
      • Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) (available 24/7) 
        • Press #1 for Tree Emergency Hotline
          • Transfers to emergency dispatch if call received after regular business hours
  • Non-emergency See examples on this page or on Reporting Non-Emergency Tree Problems page.
  • What problems will the City not respond to? 
    • Neighbor's yard tree is hanging over my property.
    • Tree Emergency on private property that does not impact the street or sidewalk
      • We recommend calling an arborist to remove the hazard, then apply for a retroactive permit. 
      • If it is a life-threatening situation call 911 for assistance.
    • For more information see Private Property Tree Emergencies below. 

Private Property Tree Emergencies

If the emergency exists on private property and is NOT blocking or threatening the right-of-way or City-managed land, Urban Forestry suggests that you contact an arborist to remove the hazardous portion of the tree.

A retroactive permit is required for any work that generally requires permitting (Pruning, Removal and Replacement Permits), this option is only for emergencies when a hazard to people or property is imminent. 

Retroactive Permits for Emergency Tree Work

  • You must apply for a permit within 7 days after doing emergency tree work on a regulated private property tree
  • Photographic evidence is required
  • See the Report a Tree Emergency page for more information 

Emergency Tree Removal

Useful information on what is and is not an "immediate hazard" that necessitates tree removal.​​​​

Reporting Tree Code Violations / Non-Emergency Tree Problems 

Visit this page for information on reporting non-emergency (not an immediate hazard) tree problems, for example:

  • Street tree removal, pruning, or planting without a permit
  • Dead or hazard trees
  • Private tree removal without a permit
  • Topping of trees
  • Neighbors street tree is dead, dying, or dangerous
  • Failure to plant when required
  • Tree grates interfering with street trees
Other Non-Emergency Information/ResourcesResource InformationLink
Tree Limbs, Visibility, or Tree and Sidewalk Issues? 

General contact information page for information on reporting tree related  issues, including blocked visibility for signs, lights, and safe sidewalks and medians. 

Stop signs & signals; and blocked street lights: 503-823-SAFE (7233)

Low limbs: 503-823-CODE (2633)

Online form

City Park Tree Problems?
Report non-emergency city park tree problems via the website.Tree Problems in parks

Correcting Tree Code Violations 

What a Tree Code violation is, the process, and steps towards addressing the violation. 

Tree Permit Violation Review Application
Urban Forestry begins investigating a code violation when it is reported as a potential violation. If a violation is found, Urban Forestry will outline a corrective action plan. 
Administrative Review 
The Administrative Review process allows Urban Forestry management staff to investigate if a violation was found in error. 
Enforcement Waivers and Reductions
Financial Enforcement Waivers: A property owner with lower income or their authorized representative may apply to have certain enforcement remedies and penalties waived.
Enforcement Penalty Lien Reduction: A property owner or their authorized representative may apply to have enforcement penalty liens reduced under certain circumstances once all violation and enforcement cases on the property are closed.

Why does Portland have a Tree Code? 

Fee Schedule

Park Tree Removal 

Park trees are removed for 3 key reasons:


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.


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 the spread of the infestation or disease to other trees.


The condition of the tree presents a foreseeable danger of inflicting damage that cannot be alleviated by treatment, pruning, or by making practicable site condition modifications. A tree may be dangerous because it is likely to injure people or damage vehicles, structures, or development, such as sidewalks or utilities

New trees will be planted following a site assessment.

Trees and Power Lines

Contact information for Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power and Light (PP&L) listed below.

Never attempt to prune a tree that has grown into high voltage power lines. Utility companies regularly prune trees around high voltage power lines with specially trained arborists. If a tree or tree branch is in contact with a high voltage wire, call your utility company immediately.

Portland General Electric (PGE)

Pacific Power

Tree Diseases and Pests

Information on common tree diseases and pests, including information on symptoms, susceptible species, and treatments.

  • Elm Protection Program and Dutch Elm Disease (DED) 

    • Dutch elm disease, or DED, is one of the most destructive plant pathogens in the United States and Europe, having killed millions of elms and persisting despite efforts to control it. With approximately 3,500 susceptible elms throughout the city, DED would have a catastrophic impact on Portland’s urban forest if allowed to prevail unchecked. PP&R Urban Forestry works diligently to manage the impact of DED in Portland.
  • Integrated Pest Management

    • Portland Parks & Recreation's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program manages pests that are harmful to the health, function or aesthetic value of park landscapes in an efficient, effective, and environmentally responsible manner, while paying careful attention to public and employee safety.

Native and Nuisance Trees

The Portland Plant List is comprised of two lists and supporting information: the Native Plants List and the Nuisance Plants List.

Tree Permit Appeals and Public Notices 

Visit this page for more information on how to appeal a tree removal permit that was issued or denied.

Read the Tree Code, Title 11