Take Action to Ensure Portland City Council Protects Trees

We need your help to ensure that Portland City Council adopts strong protections for Portland Trees! Follow this link to sign up before 4 p.m. today to testify on Thursday afternoon for greater protections for trees in Portland. View Bird Alliance of Oregon’s comments here.

Thanks to ongoing advocacy from Bird Alliance of Oregon activists and others, tree code reform is finally in front of the City Council on Thursday October 29 at 2 p.m. City Council will consider two proposals to update the City’s Tree Code (Title 11). There is both good and bad news:

The good news: Both proposals includes strong new inch for inch mitigation requirements for trees greater than 20 inches diameter at breast height (DBH) and would remove exemptions from tree protections that are currently in place for General Industrial (IG1), Central Employment (EX), and Central Commercial (CX) zones.

The bad news: Only one proposal (Exhibit B) includes removing exemptions for tree protections on Heavy Industrial Lands (IH). Under the Planning and Sustainability Commissions’ (PSC) proposed package, Heavy Industrial land owners along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and Columbia slough will continue to be exempted from any tree regulations! Protecting trees on Heavy Industrial lands is critically important–these lands produce high levels of air pollution, have some of the highest urban heat island effects in the city, pollute our rivers, and negatively impact surrounding neighborhoods. It is long past time for these wealthy corporate landowners to be held accountable for doing their fair share to protect our urban trees. 

A photo looking up at the tree canopy with the sun filtering through the trees.
Gorgeous leaf canopies in the Portland area. Photo by Wil C Fry.

Take Action

Please email Portland City Council and urge them to adopt Exhibit B in the proposed amendments that includes removing the exemption for tree protections on Heavy Industrial lands:

  1. Submit written testimony to the City Council Clerk; cctestimony@portlandoregon.gov or through the City’s MapApp
  2. Sign up to testify by 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27 to testify at the hearing on Oct. 29.

Talking points

  • Let Council know that you strongly support the amendments which would require inch for inch mitigation for trees over 20 inches and removal of exemptions for tree protections on General Industrial (IH(, Central Employment (EX), and Central Commercial (CX) zones.
  • Urge Council to Adopt the Tree Ordinance with Exhibit B to which also includes removal of the exemption for protecting trees on heavy industrial lands.
  • Heavy industrial areas overlap with some of our most important natural resource areas such as the banks of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and Columbia Slough. 
  • Heavy industrial areas have some of the highest urban heat island effects in Portland. Trees are essential to reducing urban heat island for workers and adjacent communities.
  • Heavy industrial areas have some of the worst air pollution, Trees are vital to protect air quality.
  • Heavy industrial areas are directly adjacent to neighborhoods which are often more diverse and lower income. Trees are vital to protecting neighborhoods and vulnerable populations
  • Applying tree protections on heavy industrial lands would not reduce the industrial land base. Property owners have a choice of either retaining trees or paying into a mitigation fund when trees are not preserved.
  • It is long past time for heavy industrial land developers to be required to do their part to protect trees. 

Thank you for advocating for Portland’s tree canopy and the environmental and community benefits it provides.