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Street Visibility, Tree Clearances, Safety, and Sidewalk Problems

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Overgrown trees and shrubs endanger us all when they block our view of traffic signs, pedestrians, or other vehicles.
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Who is Responsible? 

  1. It is the adjacent (next to or adjoining) property owner’s responsibility to keep trees and other plants in the right-of-way (the planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb) from blocking visibility within transportation corridors.
    • Remember a Pruning Permit from Urban Forestry is required before any tree pruning in the planting strip or right-of-way.
  2. It is also the adjacent property owner's responsibility to repair any sidewalk damage caused by street trees. See below. 

Sidewalks Disrupted by Tree Roots

Tree Root sidewalk damage

To report a sidewalk that is being disrupted by tree roots and is a hazard that needs to be repaired, call the Bureau of Transportation at 503-823-1711.

Generally a member of the public who want to do sidewalk repair will begin with a sidewalk permit submitted to Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), regardless if it is believed to be tree related. A Root Pruning Permit with Urban forestry may also be required when applicable. 

Sidewalk-tree conflicts can occur in an urban environment. Learn what you can do to prevent or mitigate the conflict.

Report a sidewalk in need of repair or get a permit to repair your sidewalk by calling 503-823-1711


Street Corners and Visibility 

All intersections must have clear visibility for pedestrians and vehicles - even where no traffic signs or signals are present. When the City is notified of a visibility problem, the adjacent property owner is contacted as a reminder to keep nearby trees and shrubs trimmed. To report a tree blocking visibility when the tree is in the public right-of-way (the planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb), call PBOT at 503-823-SAFE (7233)

Stop Signs

Tree blocks stop-sign
Image of tree blocking a stop-sign

To report tree branches blocking stop signs or traffic signals, call the Bureau of Transportation at 503-823-SAFE (7233).

Street Lights

To report tree branches blocking street lights, call 503-865-5267.


Streets and Sidewalk Clearances

Trees and visibility image
Trees and visibility image

To ensure safe passage for everyone, tree limbs must hang no lower than:

  • 7.5 feet above the sidewalk,
  • 11 feet above residential streets,
  • 14 feet above main arterial streets.

It is the adjacent (closest property) owner's responsibility to maintain the trees in the public right-of-way( the planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb).

To report a tree that does not meet the street and sidewalk clearance requirements ( tree located on private property that has branches that are hanging too low over a street or public right-of-way):

  • Call Bureau of Development Services Code Enforcement Hotline at 503 -823-CODE (2633).
  • Or submit an Online Report 

Trees, Utilities and Powerlines

Never attempt to prune a tree that has grown into high voltage wires. The utility companies prune trees under high voltage power lines on a regular schedule. If a tree or tree branch is leaning on a high voltage wire, call your utility company immediately.

  • Portland General Electric (PGE)     503-228-6322  (Other 800-544-1795)
  • Pacific Power & Light (PP&L)     1-888-221-7070 (Other 877-508-5088)

Identifying High Voltage Powerlines

Trees and Utility Lines
Image of Tree and Utility Lines, displayed phone numbers may be outdated. 

Trees in Medians

Median Trees at Roseway

To report a tree located in a street median that needs pruning, call the Bureau of Maintenance at 503-823-1700.


Read the Tree Code, Title 11