Information on when you are required to obtain a permit for removing a tree, and when you need to replace it. Call us at 503-823-TREE (8733) with any questions.
When Is a Permit Required?
- Street Trees: A permit is required to remove any street tree.
- Private Trees: Generally a removal permit is needed for trees 12 inches diameter at 4.5 feet tall (DBH) and larger.
- Heritage Trees: A permit from Urban Forestry is required before removing, pruning, inoculating, or doing any other tree work on a Heritage Tree.
Will My Permit Be Issued?
Not all permit applications are approved. Trees that do not meet the applicable removal standards and review factors will not be approved for removal.
Below are the links to Title 11 Trees code that outlines the regulations for trees ( either street or private trees).
Please carefully review the standards and review factors prior to applying:
Street Tree Planting Standards
- Street Tree List FAQs
- Proper planting and establishment are key factors in maximizing long-term tree survival as well as the benefits of trees.
- These lists are available to present options and help guide you in selecting a species to plant on your property.
Administrative Rule for Tree Planting Requirements
Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) and leave a detailed message, including the address of the tree and a description of the tree activities. Staff will investigate whether a tree code violation occurred and contact the property owner to correct the violation if necessary.
If the Tree Is Partially on Private Property and Partially in the Right-of-Way, How Do I Determine if It Is a Street Tree or a Private Property Tree?
A tree that straddles a private property line and the street is a Street Tree.
My neighbor's tree looks dead or dangerous and I think it should be removed. What can I do?
- If the neighbor's tree is a Street Tree: Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) or submit an Urban Forestry online code complaint form
- If the neighbor's tree is a Private Tree: Call Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733) or submit an Urban Forestry online code complaint form
What’s the Benefit of Requiring a Permit to Remove a Tree in My Own Backyard?
Roughly a third of all the City’s trees grow on single-family lots. Previously most of these trees were unregulated, with no restriction on removal and no requirement for replanting. The new tree code lets homeowners easily remove problem trees (those that are dead, dying, diseased, dangerous, nuisance species, or too close to buildings) with the provision that a new tree be replanted to replace the one being removed. This will help balance removals with new trees so that the tree canopy in neighborhoods remains in balance, preserving both quality of life as well as property values.
Homeowners who want to remove a large, healthy, non-nuisance species tree that is not too close to buildings can still apply to do so, and their applications will be evaluated against the standards and review factors found in Chapter 11.40.050. In either case, the permit system provides an opportunity for the City to engage with property owners, encourage retention of large, healthy trees, provide tree care information, monitor canopy levels more closely, and ensure that trees removed are replaced over time.