Do I Need a Tree Permit?

Tree Tech
What is a Street Tree? How can I find out if a tree is a private tree or Street Tree? What is a development permit, what is a non-development permit? Get more information on types of permits or move forward with an application. Report a tree emergency or issue a complaint about a tree.
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Is it a Street Tree or Private Tree?

Street trees and private trees are regulated with differing codes and standards.

Start by understanding the difference between these categories.

Street Trees

Image of street trees
Trees planted in the street right-of-way are considered street trees.

A Street tree is any tree growing in the City's right-of-way (ROW), or strip of land near City streets.

Care and maintenance of Street Trees in the right-of-way is the responsibility of the closest bordering property owner (adjacent).

See Trees and Street Visibility, Clearances, Sidewalks, and Safety for basic maintenance requirements.

See Street Tree or Private Tree? to see more photographs and descriptions of trees in the right-of-way.

Street Tree Permits

A permit is required for any activity that may harm a street tree.

A permit is required to remove any street tree.

Pruning permits are required to prune street trees. You don't need a permit to prune sucker shoots or self-sown (volunteer) trees that are less than 1/2 inch in diameter. See How to Measure Trees

Staff will let you know if the property is in a regulated historic or environmentally sensitive zone or plan district. Additional requirements may apply.

Private Trees

Example of Private Tree
Example of a tree in private property

A Private Tree is a tree located on private property. They don't not straddle the right-of-way line. 

 A removal permit is needed for trees 12 inches diameter at 4.5 feet tall and larger. See How to Measure Trees for details.

For more information, see:

Do I Need a Permit to Remove Trees on Private Property?

Private Property Tree Replacement Lists and Requirements

Overlay Zone or Plan District

Private property trees of any size may require a permit for removal in certain environmental overlay zones and plan districts. See the Overlay Zone Map for directions on finding the Overlay Zone and Plan District based by address.

Tools to Determine Property Boundaries and Zoning

Use PortlandMaps to determine your property boundary based on an address search.

Also determine if your property is subject to a Land Use Review and County Urban Pocket zoning.

For details, see Using PortlandMaps, Land Use Reviews, and County Urban Pockets.

Development and Non-development Permits

Is the tree work part of larger project or development? If so, tree permits will be linked to the building plan.

Tree work that is not part of a larger development or project get non-development permits.

Development or Redevelopment Permits

Devlopment tree permits part of a larger project such as new construction, additions, and exterior renovations. 

This process requires submitting plans and going through a review process. 

Tree codes are reviewed as part of a building plan submittal, not by individual trees.

 Trees and Development 

Non-Development Tree Permits

A tree permit not connected to any development project. Examples include:

  • A Street Tree needs a limb pruned
  • A large private tree is dead, or dying and needs to be removed. 

Multiple trees can be permitted through this process.

Apply for a Non-development Tree Permit

Non-Development Tree Permit Types

Remove and Replant Trees

Planting Trees

Pruning Trees

Root Pruning Permits

Heritage Tree Permits

All heritage tree work requires a permit.

Attaching Items to Trees (Including Cables and Braces)

Attaching Ornamental Lights to Street Trees

Chemical Application (Pesticide, Fungicide)

Other Tree Work

Tree Emergencies

A tree emergency is any immediate tree hazard that is blocking or threatening a public street or public right-of-way, or other public property. 

Urban Forestry responds to any tree that has fallen and is blocking the right-of-way. This includes Private Trees.

Report Emergency Street Tree Situations

Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) to report a Street Tree emergency. 

Emergency dispatchers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Emergency Tree Removals

Find useful information on what is and is not considered a tree emergency removal

Tree Complaints

Is there a dangerous or hazardous tree in your neighborhood? Is someone removing a tree without a permit?

Report a tree problem or violation

Do you Have Questions?

Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) or email