Take Action: Complete Quick Survey to Help Improve City of Portland Tree Protections

Planting and protecting trees is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve the health of our urban environment and community – benefiting wildlife and humans alike. This is why greater tree protections have been a priority of Bird Alliance of Oregon’s urban conservation agenda.

Last winter with your help, along with fellow tree advocates we were able to push Portland City Council to move forward on making some much needed improvements to the flawed Portland Tree Code (Title 11). Some protections went into effect immediately, including increased mitigation standards, designed to ensure sufficient mitigation in cases where our largest trees are removed.

Other important improvements were slated for internal review and additional public process: 

  • Remove exemptions for protection and planting requirements of trees on industrial and commercial zoned property
  • Lower the threshold for inch-for-inch mitigation requirements to trees 20 inches and larger

Take Action: Complete a Quick Survey to Guide Improvements to the Tree Code

Now you have the opportunity to complete a survey to further direct improvements to Title 11. Comments due May 15! See notes below.

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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.

The two changes currently being considered – removing exemptions on industrial and commercial property and lowering mitigation threshold requirements – would have profoundly positive impacts for Portland’s tree canopy and greater community health.

It is critical that industrial and commercial landowners be held accountable for protecting trees on their lands which are often adjacent to underserved neighborhoods and important natural areas. Lowering the inch-for-inch threshold for mitigation requirements to trees 20 inches and larger will ensure that far more neighborhood trees are adequately mitigated in situations where removal cannot be avoided.

The survey unfortunately pits tree protection against industrial land use and affordable housing. We believe that this is a false narrative promoted by industrial interests. We encourage people to let the City know in section 4 that:

  • It is a false narrative to pit trees against industrial land availability. It is critical that industrial land owners be required to protect the environment. If they cannot do so onsite, they should be required to mitigate off site to ensure neighboring communities are less impacted.
  • It is wrong to pit trees against affordable housing. It is critical to ensure that our most vulnerable populations have a healthy environment close to home. To that end, the city must protect and increase trees in low income areas and use mechanisms, including subsidies, to ensure tree protection and affordable housing go hand in hand.