What do I do if the tree emergency is in the street, City right-of-way, or in a park?
Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) to report a street or park tree emergency. Emergency dispatchers are available 24/7.
What is Considered a Street or Park Tree Emergency?
A tree emergency occurs when any of the following events happen on publicly owned property or City right-of-way:
- A tree has fallen over
- A large branch has fallen from a tree and is blocking a street, sidewalk, or public park
- A tree located in a park or City right-of-way is splitting
- A large branch is hanging from a tree over a sidewalk, street, or other public property
- Any other immediate hazard situation on public property or City right-of-way
What Can I Expect When I Report a Tree Emergency?
A dispatcher will send out personnel to respond to the emergency within 24 hours. Priority response is allocated based on the severity of the emergency.
If the tree is located in the City right-of-way, typically the planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb, Urban Forestry staff may clear the street and sidewalk and leave the debris neatly stacked in the planting strip for the adjacent property owner to dispose of.
Tree Emergencies on Private Property
If it is a life-threatening situation call 911 for assistance.
If an emergency exists because the actively failing condition and location of a tree presents:
- A clear and present danger to structures or the public that there is insufficient time to obtain a tree permit, the hazardous portion of the tree may be removed without first obtaining a required tree permit.
The process of getting this work permitted after the emergency is described below.
Apply for a Retroactive Pruning Permit
Urban Forestry suggests that you contact an arborist to remove the hazardous portion of the tree.
- Applies to any private tree that would meet regulated criteria.
- Must be applied for within 7 days after doing Emergency tree work on a regulated private property tree
- Scope of work must be proportional to the immediate hazard or risk.
- For example: If pruning a limb removes the immediate hazard, only a pruning permit would be approved. A removal permit would not be approved if pruning could resolve the emergency.
- You must provide photographic evidence of the danger to a structure or the public and submit photos with a retroactive Removal Permit.
Useful information on what is and is not an "immediate hazard" and an emergency that necessitates a tree removal.
- Example: An immediate tree hazard is when a tree suddenly starts uprooting (cracks appear in the soil) or a tree suddenly starts splitting (fresh, white sapwood is visible in tree cracks) where the main branches connect to the trunk. However dead trees are generally not an immediate hazard.
If utilities have been damaged, or are threatened, contact your utility provider immediately.
- Portland General Electric (PGE) 503-228-6322
- Pacific Power & Light (PPL) 1-888-221-7070
General checklist for determining if a private property tree is regulated by the city.
What Do I Do if a Dangerous Tree Is on My Neighbor's Property?
If the situation does not meet the emergency criteria:
- Dead or hazard trees (thought not an immediate emergency/ clear and present danger)
- Street tree removal, pruning, or planting without a permit
- Private tree removal without a permit
- Failure to plant when required
- Topping of trees
- Tree grates interfering with street trees