On April 13, 2011, the Portland City Council unanimously approved the Citywide Tree Policy and Regulatory Improvement Project. The new requirements, the first of which will take effect July 1, 2011, represent a comprehensive overhaul of the City's tree rules and will eventually oblige property owners to secure permits for many tree-related activities that were previously unregulated.
The new policy covers a range of activities, such as tree planting, trimming, and removal, and includes tree density standards that apply to both new development and exterior alterations within certain zones. In addition, tree plans are required in a broad array of development situations.
Perhaps the most significant change, however, is that property owners will be required to secure permits to remove private trees 12 inches or more in diameter (and 6 inches or more in diameter in certain overlay zones and plan districts). This is a dramatic departure from the current permitting scheme, which only regulates the trimming and removal of street trees and trees on certain properties (e.g., those within the scenic resource zone).
Although many of the requirements will not apply until February 1, 2013, initial zoning code changes will take effect July 1, 2011.