Trees

  • Trees are important

    They promote soil stability, reduce flooding and runoff, filter air pollution and traffic noise, provide shade, and add to the overall livability of Gresham.

    Trees add value

    By caring for the trees on your property, you are making an investment for yourself and future generations, as well as the community.

    Trees in Gresham are regulated differently depending on their location, purpose, size, and type. The City regulates the cutting of trees by making sure too many aren’t cut down at once, trees are replaced to maintain or add to our tree inventory, and damaged or overgrown trees don’t become a hazard to you and your neighbors.

    Tree regulations in the Development Code

  • Definitions
    • Regulated tree: Any tree on public or private property that is 8 inches or larger in diameter at four feet high is considered a regulated tree. All street trees, buffer trees, parking lot trees and significant trees are regulated.
    • Street tree: Any tree in the planter strip between the sidewalk and the curb; and trees located within 10 feet of the property line, where there is no (or inadequate) planter strip.
    • Significant trees: Trees adopted by the City, with the approval of the property owner, as trees of significance related to a historic event, uniqueness of shape or species, location, age, or functionality.
    • Buffer tree: A buffer tree helps provide screening between different land uses such as businesses and single-family homes. The City requires buffers in certain circumstances.
    • Tree topping: The severe cutting back of limbs or main stem to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree’s crown to such a degree as to remove the normal top and disfigure the tree. This is a violation and is considered similarly to tree removal. 
    Tree Removal

    Uncontrolled cutting or destruction of trees within the city decreases the community's livability. It is in the public interest to preserve significant trees, to control the cutting of trees, and to protect trees from damage. Trees in Gresham are regulated differently depending on their location, purpose, size, and significance.

    Before removing any tree on your property, and to determine whether you need a removal permit, we recommend contacting the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or POD@GreshamOregon.gov. You can call anytime you have a question about trees in your yard.

    When is a permit not required?

    Any tree less than eight inches in diameter measured at 4.5 feet in height may be removed without a permit. However, relocation of a healthy tree is encouraged.

    Regulated trees

    Trees over eight inches in diameter measured at 4.5 feet are regulated trees. Except on properties in the Hillside, Habitat Conservation Area, or Flood Plain areas or as otherwise specified in the City's tree regulations:

    • Up to three regulated trees on a property 35,000 square feet or less may be removed within a 12-month period.
    • Six regulated trees on a property over 35,000 square feet may be removed within a 12-month period.

    You must obtain a tree removal exemption prior to removal of any regulated trees on your property.

    Obtain a tree removal permit if your property is in the Hillside, Habitat Conservation Area, or Flood Plain areas. You can check whether any of these areas are present on your property by typing your address into GreshamView.

    When is a permit required?

    Tree locations and permits required

    If you have any questions about tree removal contact the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or POD@GreshamOregon.gov for additional information.

    Fees and timelines

    • Permit: Type I tree removal permit: no fee
      Timeline: Up to one week
    • Permit: Type II tree removal permit: see the City fee schedule        
      Timeline: Up to three three months
    • Permit: Type III hearings procedure: no fee 
      Timeline: Up to four months
    Significant Trees

    What are significant trees?

    Significant trees are trees adopted by the City, with the approval of the property owner, as trees of significance to Gresham. The significance may be related to a historic event, uniqueness of shape or species, location, age or functionality.

    Removal of a significant tree must be approved by a Type III hearings official decision, based on criteria in Section A14.004 of the Development Code.

    Nominate a tree

    The preservation of significant trees enhances Gresham's livability, history and is an opportunity for recognition and education. Nominate a tree by submitting a significant tree nomination form to:

    Urban Forestry Subcommittee
    Attn: Tina Osterink
    1333 NW Eastman Parkway
    Gresham, OR 97030

    You may also drop off the forms at City Hall or email them to Tina.Osterink@GreshamOregon.gov or call 503-618-2392.

    Street and Sidewalk Trees

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

    Street trees

    Trees in the planter strip located between the sidewalk and the curb and often trees located within 10 feet of the front property line are street trees. Because street trees are located in the right-of-way, they are regulated by the City and can’t be cut down or planted without a free Type I street tree removal permit. Additionally, the trees must be replaced using the street tree list.

    If you are interested in adding more trees on your block, the City’s street tree list offers lots of choices for trees that don’t grow too high, block sun or views, and that thrive in our climate.

    Why are street trees a big deal?

    The street trees on your block are so much more than just trees. In addition to making a street look more appealing:

    • Cars drive more slowly on streets with trees.
    • Street trees cut traffic noise.
    • Residents walk more on streets with trees.
    • Trees increase property value.
    • Trees improve air quality.

    Trees and sidewalks

    When a street tree lifts the sidewalk in front of your house, the sidewalk must be repaired.

    • Have a tree care professional provide an assessment and estimate for root-pruning or removal of a tree.
    • Contact the City's Public Works Inspector at 503-618-2105 to evaluate sidewalk damage. After the inspection you will need to visit the Permit Center at City Hall to apply for a right-of-way permit. Contact Permit Services at 503-618-2845 for more information.
    • If a street tree causing sidewalk damage requires removal to accommodate sidewalk repairs, you must contact the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or POD@GreshamOregon.gov and submit a Type I street tree removal permit.

     

    Tree Planting and Care

    Property owners are responsible for the care and maintenance of street trees located in the public right-of-way next to their properties. By caring for your trees you are making an investment for yourself and future generations, as well as for the community at large. The information below can help you protect your investment for years to come.

    Planting

    • When to plant: While it is okay to plant a tree any time of the year, the best time to plant a tree is when the tree is dormant during the winter months.
    • Compact soil: Be sure not to pack the soil too tight when planting the tree. Compact soil makes it difficult for roots to grow outward and downward, which can result in raised sidewalks and an unhealthy tree.
    • Mulch: To hold in moisture and discourage the growth of competing weeds, spread mulch around the base of the tree. The mulch should be about four inches deep and kept about six inches from the trunk of the tree. Mulch could include grass clippings, compost or bark dust.
    • Stakes: The tree should be staked for at least the first year after planting. The stakes should be tied loose enough that the tree can sway two inches from side to side.

    Care

    • Trees need water: Your new tree will need 5-10 gallons of water once or twice a week for the first three years after planting. Watering your tree slowly and evenly will promote deep root growth; over watering your tree will promote shallow root growth which can result in raised walkways. A five-gallon bucket with small holes in the bottom is an excellent method for watering your plant slowly.
    • Weed around your tree: Other plants around the tree are competing for water. Be sure to remove competing plants several feet around the base of the tree.
    • Bark damage: Take care when mowing around the tree, bark damage can weaken the tree and make it susceptible to disease.
    • Remove dead branches and suckers: Remove all dead branches in the tree canopy and suckers located at the base of the tree. This will allow the tree to focus its energy where it is needed and desired.

    Pruning

    • No permit is required to prune a tree on private property, unless it is a designated significant tree.
    • Property owners are responsible for maintenance of street trees located in the public right-of-way next to their properties.
    • If the pruning constitutes tree topping, as defined above, a Type I street tree removal permit is required.
    • Street trees are to be pruned in accordance with tree-trimming standards approved by the City.
    • All overhanging branches must be at least eight feet above the sidewalk and 12 feet above the street.
    • If more than 20% of the tree canopy is removed, or if root-pruning is involved, additional requirements may apply.

    Additional resources

     

    Tree City USA

    Gresham has been designated a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This honor is the result of work recognizing trees as an important part of Gresham's quality of life. 

    • Arboretum vista with dog walkers
    • Arboretum grand tree
    • Arboretum teenager walking
    • Arboretum tree tidal wave of texture
    • Arboretum Tina near tree
    • Arboretum butte through trees
    • Arboretum by bike
    • Arboretum work party
    • Arboretum walking path
    • Arboretum red tree and fence
    • Arboretum fall color

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    • The Arboretum is a special place to enjoy the wide range of trees that thrive in the city. Visit the Arboretum at 2303 SE Palmquist Road at Gradin Community Sports Park.

    • The Arboretum is organized around four areas that make up fall, winter, spring and summer tree collections.

    • The street tree demonstration along Palmquist Road includes 25 of the best-known and newest street tree species. Interested in planting street trees in front of your house?

      City-approved street trees

    • Located on the north side of the park, this collection underscores how large conifers can be used as screening among pockets of deciduous trees and drought-tolerant native shrubs.

    • The idea for an arboretum was first suggested in 2009 at a public forum for the Urban Forestry Management Plan. GreenWorks developed the site plan with input from the public and the City's Urban Forestry Subcommittee

    • Still a labor of love, the Arboretum will one day include more than 400 trees of almost 300 varieties.

      Arboretum site plan

    • A perimeter buffer on the west side of the park repeats the theme of the four seasons and examples of native trees for parking lots and large canopy trees with tall frames for parking lots.

    • Many local groups, including the Rotary Club of Gresham and residents on the Urban Forestry Subcommittee, volunteer time and resources to Arboretum plantings and projects so it continues to grow. Development takes place as funding is available.

    • The Arboretum features a one-mile paved path to see the trees, located around the perimeter of Gradin Sports Park. 

    • Signature tree species are repeated throughout the Arboretum, including Flowering Dogwood (Cornus 'Eddie's White Wonder') and Hogan Cedars (Thuja plicata 'Hogan').

    • A sugar Maple shows off its fall foliage at the Arboretum.