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Free Street Trees along Improved Roads

New street tree planted in right-of-way in 2021
PP&R Urban Forestry plants free street trees in priority service areas. These trees are funded by Portland’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund and will be watered, weeded, and cared for three years after planting.

Free Street Trees along Improved Roads

Every year Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry plants free street trees in priority service areas. This winter, 2024-2025, up to 1,000 street trees will be planted in Boise, Brentwood-Darlington, Buckman, Creston-Kenilworth, Eliot, Foster-Powell, Hollywood, Kenton, Kerns, King, Mt Scott-Arleta, Piedmont, Russell, South Tabor, Vernon, and Wilkes. Trees will be planted in the public right-of-way planting strip, between the curb and sidewalk. 

In addition to planting, contractors will water and maintain trees for the following three summers. After the third summer, trees become the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to maintain, which is the same for all street trees under Portland City Code 11.60.060.A.2.a.

Tree planting sites are chosen to avoid utilities and maximize tree canopy in priority service areas. Portland residents will have the option of opting out of tree street tree planting, but we ask all residents to consider the essential services that street trees provide including:

  • Summer shade and cooling
  • Reduced air and noise pollution
  • Stormwater absorption
  • More walkable neighborhoods
  • Slower traffic speeds
  • Stress reduction

Trees are funded by Portland’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund, which is used to plant trees to compensate for those removed in property development and other situations. For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions section below.

A river birch tree is planted near the street as part of the free street tree program.

Planting Timeline

For the Boise, Buckman, Creston-Kenilworth, Eliot, Hollywood, Kenton, Kerns, King, Piedmont, Russell, South Tabor and Wilkes neighborhoods:

  • Winter – Spring 2024: Sites surveyed for available planting spaces
  • Summer 2024: Sites selected
  • September 16 – October 15, 2024: Opt out period
    • September 16, 2024: First notices are mailed to adjacent property owners
    • October 1, 2024: Second notices are mailed to adjacent property owners 
    • October 15, 2024: Deadline for adjacent property owners to opt-out of planting
  • November 2024 – March 2025: Trees planted
  • May – October 2025, 2026, 2027: Trees watered and maintained by contractors 

I received a postcard about a Free Street Tree Planting Survey

If you received a Street Tree Planting Survey postcard, it means that your address will be surveyed for potential plantable space. Carefully selected planting sites will be marked in white along the adjacent curb.

If your address is eligible for planting in November 2024 to March 2025, you will receive notices in the mail around September 16th 2024 and October 1st 2024 when our survey is complete. These notices will provide more information on the purpose of the program, and instructions for opting out if you do not wish to receive a free street tree. Please note that opting out before receiving a notification in the mail is not possible.

We will continue to survey the following neighborhoods from February to July 2024. These priority service areas are outlined in “Growing a More Equitable Urban Forest." 

  • Boise
  • Brentwood-Darlington
  • Creston-Kenilworth
  • Foster-Powell
  • Kenton
  • King
  • Mt. Scott-Arleta
  • Russell
  • Vernon
  • Wilkes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a street tree?
A street tree is a tree that is planted on city property in the public right-of-way, usually between the sidewalk and the curb.

City staff spraying tree planting location on curb with white spray paint.

How do I know if I’m getting a street tree?
Carefully selected planting sites will be marked in white along the curb in front of your house. Property owners identified to receive free street trees will be sent two notification letters via mail in September and October. 

Why are you planting street trees?
Trees provide essential services for all Portlanders. Street trees provide shade, cooling, reduced air and noise pollution, storm water absorption, more walkable neighborhoods, slower traffic speeds, stress reduction, and beauty. 

Why are you planting in these neighborhoods?
These neighborhoods, along with others in East and North Portland, have been identified as high-need for additional tree canopy. West of the Willamette River, canopy cover is 56%. However, east of the Willamette River, where 80% of Portland’s residents live, canopy cover is only 21%. This means that the services and benefits of the urban forest are not accessible to many of Portland’s residents. For more information, see Portland’s citywide tree planting strategy, “Growing a More Equitable Urban Forest."

I received the eligibility letter but I don’t want a tree. How do I decline?
Two notification letters will be mailed in September and October to adjacent property owners identified to receive trees. You can decline the free street tree offer if you notify Urban Forestry no later than October 15 of the proposed planting year.

Can people who didn't receive a letter get a free street tree?
Only property owners who are sent a notification letter are eligible for free street trees through this project. However, see this link for information on other City-sponsored tree planting programs.

Can I use this program to fulfill the planting requirements of a permit?
No, trees may not be used to fulfill the requirements of a permit.

When will the tree be planted?
Trees will be planted each year, between November and March.

PP&R UF contractor planting trees in planting strip between curb and sidewalk
PP&R UF contractor planting trees in planting strip between curb and sidewalk

Who pays for this?
This project is funded by the City’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund. The fund is used to plant trees to compensate for those removed during property development and other situations.

How many trees will I receive?
Typically, 1-3 trees are planted per property frontage. Locations were marked in white paint and selected to avoid utility conflicts while providing 15-25’ spacing between trees.

What kind of tree will be planted?
Trees will be chosen from the City’s Approved Street Tree Planting List and will be appropriate for the right-of-way site. Trees are selected to be low maintenance and drought tolerant, maximizing the benefits trees provide to the neighborhood while minimizing conflicts with existing infrastructure. 

Who will be planting the tree?
Trees will be planted by professional contractors on behalf of PP&R Urban Forestry.

Who will take care of the trees? 
City-selected contractors will water, weed, and maintain the trees for three summers after planting. This maintenance includes critical watering to establish a healthy tree. After the third summer, tree maintenance becomes the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, which is the same for all street trees under Portland City Code 11.60.060.A.2.a.

What if the tree damages my utilities or sidewalks?
Trees are selected to be the appropriate size and species for the available space. This program operates in compliance with Portland's Approved Street Tree Planting Lists and Planting Specifications to reduce potential infrastructure damage. Different tree species are approved for different site sizes. Utility locates are completed twice prior to planting. 

The adjacent property owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk at their property. More information on sidewalk repair can be found from the Portland Bureau of Transportation here.

What if I want to remove the tree?
A Tree Removal and Replant Permit will be required.  

Contractor using a hose to water a tree after planting.
A contractor using a hose to water a tree after planting.

What happens if the tree dies?
If the tree dies during the three establishment years, it will be removed and replaced by the City’s contractor. If the tree dies after the three establishment years, the adjacent property owner is responsible for getting a permit to remove and replant the tree.

Can I make a special request?
It depends! Leave us a message at 503-823-4025 to discuss.

Can I have a tree planted in my yard?
This project is focused on planting trees in the public right-of-way. Urban Forestry provides free yard trees to Portland residents through our Yard Tree Giveaway Program.

Who is Urban Forestry?
Urban Forestry is a division of Portland Parks & Recreation. Urban Forestry's mission is to manage and ensure Portland's urban forest infrastructure for current and future generations. Urban Forestry is committed to working with property owners, residents, contractors, and communities to enhance the urban forest and optimize the services that trees provide us all.

New street trees planted in grassy strip between curb and sidewalk.
New street trees planted in the grassy strip between the curb and sidewalk.

It is the policy of the City of Portland that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any city program, service, or activity on the grounds of race, color, national origin, disability, or other protected class status. Adhering to Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II civil rights laws, the City of Portland ensures meaningful access to City programs, services, and activities by reasonably providing: translation and interpretation, modifications, accommodations, alternative formats, and auxiliary aids and services. To request these services, contact 503-823-4000, or for Relay Service or TTY, contact 711.

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