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 four and a half 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 codes outlining regulations for trees (either street or private trees).
Please carefully review the standards and review factors prior to applying:
For answers to common questions regarding replanting requirements, read the Approved Street Tree Planting Lists, read our Street Tree List FAQs.
Proper planting and establishment are key factors in maximizing long-term tree survival as well as the benefits of trees. Be sure to use the above resources (Street Tree Planting Standards, City of Portland Approved Street Tree List Master Table, Street Tree List FAQs) to ensure property planting and establishment.
Trees on Private Property
Minimum requirements for replacing a tree, as well as helpful lists and considerations in choosing trees that meet the replacement criteria are both available on our Private Property Tree Replacement Lists page. Review these lists and use them as guides to help you select a species to plant on your property.
How Do I Close a Permit When Completed?
Urban Forestry removal and replanting permits will be closed in the following ways:
- Permit Expires: After 365 days, all removal and replanting permits expire and are no longer valid for any trees that were not removed. All replanting requirements must be met prior to expiration. If they are not, the case will be considered non-complaint.
- Final Inspection: Urban Forestry staff inspect the site to verify permitted trees have been removed and replanting requirements have been met.
- Self-Certification: Prior to your permit expiration date, you can self-certify private property planting by submitting a self-certification form with photos. The self-certification form is online only and can be found HERE (https://www.portland.gov/trees/self-certification). Urban Forestry staff will review your submission. If the submission is incomplete or insufficient, Urban Forestry staff will conduct a staff inspection (see above).
Administrative Rule for Tree Planting Requirements
Title 11 Trees - City Code
Report Someone Removing a Tree Without a Permit?
To report a tree code violation, 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.
How To Know if It Is a Street Tree or a Private Property Tree?
If the tree in question is partially on private property and partially in the right-of-way, it is a street tree. Any tree that straddles a private property line and the street is a Street Tree. If you are not sure whether you need a permit, read the Do I Need a Permit page.
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. Before the implementation of Title 11, Portland's Tree Code, most of these trees were unregulated, with no restriction on removal and no requirement for replanting. City Code Title 11 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.