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Tree Trimming Guidelines

  • Property owners are responsible for the care and maintenance of street trees located in the public right-of-way next to their properties.

    Here's how to to keep your trees, shrubs and vegetation in compliance with City codes.

    Basic guidelines

    • Trees and shrubs must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk, and 12 feet above the street.
    • Vegetation must not block views for at least 150 feet from stop signs and other signage.
    • Vegetation cannot grow or hang into the sidewalk or street.

    Why do I need to trim my trees?

    • Pedestrian and vehicle safety: Overhanging trees and vegetation can block views of stop signs, oncoming traffic and street signs. Bikers and pedestrians can get hit by low-hanging branches.
    • Allows for essential services: Garbage pickup, mail delivery, street repair and street sweeping are impacted if overhanging vegetation is in the way.

    How to trim your tree

  • Step 1. Measure your tree

    Picture showing measurements of 8 feet between tree limb and sidewalk and 12 feet between tree limb and streetTrees and shrubs must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk, and 12 feet above the street.

    Measure the height of the lower branches on your trees or other vegetation in the public right-of-way, and those on your property's edge.

    An inexpensive piece of PVS pipe, cut or marked at 8 feet and 12 feet, can help you determine if trees need to be trimmed.

    Step 2. Don't block signs

    Picture showing a tree limb blocking a stop signVegetation must not block views for a minimum of 150 feet from stop signs and other signage.

    If a stop sign next to your property is partially blocked, it violates the City's ordinance for visibility and must be trimmed.

     

     

    Step 3. Don't block sidewalks

    Picture that shows a tree encroaching on a sidewalkVegetation cannot grow into the sidewalk or street.

    If vegetation is blocking the sidewalk, it must be trimmed back flush with the edge of the sidewalk and curb.

     

     

  • Frequently asked questions

  • Can I do the trimming myself?
    • Yes, you can trim your own trees.
    • Learn more about how to prune trees
    • If you choose to hire a professional arborist, please share the City's guidelines with them so they understand the City's codes about trees.
    Where do I get rid of the trimmings?
    • Use your weekly yard debris collection service.
      • Trimmings must fit in cart.
      • Trimmings cannot exceed 120 pounds.
      • Trimmings must be cut to 4 feet or shorter.
    • Find a yard debris disposal site on Metro's website or at 503-234-3000.
    Can I remove my street tree?
    What happens if the City finds violations to its tree rules?
    • If a tree violation is identified, the City will send a letter to the property owner requesting action.
    • It is up to the property owner to correct the problem within the time indicated in the letter.
    • If the violation is not corrected, the property owner may be charged a fee, per City code. See GRC 7.15.700 for more information.
  • Contact

    • Code Compliance, 503-618-2463
    • Department of Environmental Services, 503-618-2626