Most City offices closed Wednesday, June 19, to observe Juneteenth

The City of Portland recognizes Juneteenth as a formal day of remembrance to honor Black American history and the end of slavery in the United States. Learn about Juneteenth.

Street Visibility, Tree Clearances, Safety, and Sidewalk Problems

Crews work on traffic signals at the intersection of SW Naito Parkway and SW Columbia Street as part of the SW Naito Improvement Project. These updates will make it easier to manage traffic flow during construction. Photo by PBOT.
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 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