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Tree Plan Requirements for Development Permits

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Get information about Urban Forestry permitting requirements for Development and construction projects. Tree plans must be included in a building permit application.
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Projects subject to tree preservation and on-site tree density and tree planting requirements need a tree plan. Include information about preservation, density and planting requirements in your plan. 


Tree Plan Requirements and Land Use Approvals

Your tree plan must be drawn to scale and must contain the following information:

  • Any construction staging areas on site
  • Existing improvements
  • Proposed alterations including structures, impervious area, grading, and utilities

Existing trees:

  • A narrative, if applicable, discussing alternative tree protection measures and/or exemptions (such as documentation showing that a tree is in poor health or is a nuisance tree
  • All trees completely or partially on the site that are at least 6 inches in diameter
  • Any Heritage Trees and trees required to be preserved as part of a condition of land use approval
  • Existing trees in the street (adjacent to the development site) – location and diameter size
  • Existing trees on site – indicate location and diameter size
  • Proposed tree activity
  • Trees smaller than 6 inches in diameter when proposed to be retained for tree density credit

Street trees:

  • All trees that are at least 3 inches in diameter
  • Any Heritage Trees and trees required to be preserved as part of a condition of land use approval
  • Location, species, planting size, and number of trees proposed to be planted
  • Trees to be retained and proposed tree protection measures
  • Trees to be removed

For more information about land use approval, visit the related Determine if a Land Use Review governs tree preservation webpage. You can also check out the Land Use Review areaEnvironmental Review and the Portland Tree and Landscape Manual.

More information on Early Assistance and Land Use review


Using a Development Impact Area and Tree Preservation 

Development impact area is defined in Chapter 11.80.020 B 13 as:

"The area on a site affected by proposed site improvements, including buildings, structures, parking and loading areas, landscaping, and paved or graveled areas. The development impact area also refers to areas devoted to storage of materials, or construction activities such as grading, filling, trenching, or other excavation necessary to install utilities or access."

Applicants may define a development impact area on sites larger than one acre or when development is occurring in the street and is not associated with an adjacent development site. Tree preservation requirements shall be based on trees within the development impact area and tree density will be based on meeting standards only within the development impact area. Trees may be planted to meet tree density requirements elsewhere on site (Chapter 11.50.030).

When using a development impact area on a site, applicants must also show:

On Sites:

  • Trees 6”Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger within 25 feet of the development impact area or to the property line
  • Trees 3” DBH or larger in the adjacent right of way

On-Site Tree Preservation 

In Streets:

  • Trees 3” DBH or larger within 15 feet of the development impact area
  • Trees 6” DBH or larger on properties within 15 feet of the development impact area

When an Arborist Report Is Required

An arborist report is required in the following situations:

  • As part of a land division application
  • If alternative (Performance Path) tree protection measures are proposed
  • If a revision to an approved tree plan is proposed after construction activity has commenced

Revisions and Changes to Approved Tree Plans

Changes to approved tree plans that will not affect compliance with an approved land use review may be submitted for consideration as part of the development. If the project has commenced and alternative tree preservation is proposed, an arborist report must be submitted.

The arborist report shall document that the alternative tree protection measures have preserved the health of the trees and the trees have not been injured by the development project. For changes to tree plans approved through a land use review, visit the related Determine if a Land Use Review governs tree preservation webpage.


Protecting Trees During Construction Tree Preservation Inspections

Learn more about protecting trees during construction. Review tree protection options (paths), and the Root Protection Zone. Find information about protecting heritage trees during construction. Get help preparing for your permit review including what to bring to your Urban Forestry meeting.


Emergency Tree Removal

Removal of trees that create a clear and present danger may occur prior to approval of a permit revision if a revised application is submitted within seven days of the action. The revised application must include compelling documentation of why the emergency tree removal was necessary.


Sample Tree Plan Drawing 

View a sample tree plan: 

Street Tree Requirements for Public Works Permits 

The street tree requirements for public works permits are here:

You might also want to visit the Public Works Permits webpage.

Urban Forestry Fees List


More Information About Tree Permits 

Trees indicated for preservation on the tree plan must be protected during development activities. Review the related Protecting Trees During Construction and Tree Preservation Inspections webpage for more information. 

Trees planted as part of the development permit requirements must be planted in accordance with the City's planting standards:

More info on How to Plant Properly page


Read the Tree Code, Title 11