Update: Fee Waiver Deadline Extended for Retroactive Permitting for Storm-damaged Trees

News Article
Important information on permitting requirements for trees regulated by Portland City Code Title 11 Trees.

Permitting for Storm-Damaged Trees

The storm event which began on January 12 has resulted in a high number of tree and limb failures across the city. In recognition of the severity of this storm and the impact on property owners, Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan has announced an extension of the fee waiver for all retroactive tree permit applications from January 12 through March 8.

For assistance with tree related questions, please email Trees@PortlandOregon.gov or call 503-823-TREE (8733). Please note the tree hotline is not answered live. Urban Forestry generally responds to calls within three business days, depending on call volume.

Retroactive permitting 

Retroactive permitting requirements apply to street trees and private property trees measuring 12 inches in diameter at breast height or greater that either failed or experienced limb failures during the storm. In these cases, the hazardous portion of the tree may be removed without first obtaining a required tree permit but must be followed by the submission of a retroactive tree permit application.

Urban Forestry recognizes that a large number of trees were damaged in the storm, and that many residents are recovering from property damage and power outages. In response, retroactive tree permit application fees will be waived until March 8, 2024. 

This is a temporary extension beyond the normal seven-day retroactive permit application submittal requirement. 

This is a temporary fee waiver beyond the normal, applicable fees.

To the best of your ability, please provide evidence of the clear and present danger requiring pruning or removal of the hazardous portion of the tree through: 

  • Photographs 
  • Written statements from an arborist 
  • Insurance claim indicating tree-related damage 
  • Leaving physical evidence on site for the inspection 

You can apply for a permit in the following ways: 

  • Online through the DevHub
    • For retroactive permits, when prompted, please select “Yes” when you see the prompt for "Fee Waiver Requested?"
  • By mailing a paper application to the address on the application form
  • In-person by scheduling an appointment online here.

To find a tree care professional near you, please refer to the list of local tree care provider companies who have participated in our training program.   

Visit our website for more general information about tree permits and regulations and retroactive permits.

Tree fallen across a road during a winter storm event
Tree failure across a public street  January 19, 2024

Why do I need a permit for a tree damaged by a storm event? 

Tree permits are the way in which the City confirms trees that are removed are also replaced to ensure the continuation of the essential services provided by Portland’s urban canopy. When a tree falls and is removed due to a storm the impact to the overall tree canopy is no different whether a tree removal occurs as a planned or unplanned event. Replacing trees for those that are lost maintains and sustains the urban forest infrastructure. 

Portland’s Tree Code addresses storm-related tree failures and removals by allowing emergency removal. Permits can be issued retroactively once the tree work has already taken place and accompanied by appropriate documentation. 

Retroactive permitting requirements apply to regulated trees that failed or experienced limb failures during the storm. Please refer to the tree regulations and permits, and retroactive permits websites for situations which require immediate attention. Permits can be applied for on-line through the DevHub. Permit fee financial assistance may be available for applicants who qualify. Please refer to the list of local tree care provider companies who have participated in our training program.   

For Trees which have fallen or are imminently threatening to block a public street or sidewalk:

  • Call 503-823-TREE (8733) 24 hours a day, seven days a week for tree emergency dispatch services.
  • If you have emailed a report of a tree emergency blocking or threatening a public street or sidewalk, please also call 503-823-TREE (8733) Option 1 for emergency dispatch by PDX311. 
    • Emailed reports will result in delayed response and are only monitored and responded to Monday through Friday during business hours.

If you are inquiring about a debris pile left on-site it may take up to six weeks for Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry to return for pick-up. 

  • To avoid waiting, please consider safely using the City’s weekly compost bin service or contact a Tree Care Provider or lawn care professional to assist with the debris pile.