Tree Code request removed from 2013 work plan

We were disappointed to learn that the Tree Code Group’s request has been removed from the 2013 County Work Plan in spite of letter requesting inclusion and the County board taking a new stance on accepting responsibility for providing urban services.

Work continues as we rethink our strategy. Please reach out to us if this issue is of concern to you.

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Testimony Provided at 5/17 Commissioners Meeting – Tree Work Moves Forward

Erik Mace of the Tree Code Group provided testimony at the the May 17 Washington County Commissioner’s Meeting requesting that the group’s request be adjusted to a phased approach and moved to Tier 1 of the 2011 work plan.

View the 5/17 Board of County Commissioners meeting video :

  • 44:00 – 47:45 testimony
  • 47:45 – 51:15 board discussion on the issue
  • 1:04:25 – 1:08:00  additional discussion on this issue

While the board didn’t accept the request directly, there was clear support for the county taking on group’s requests from Commissioners Malinowski and Schouten, and Commissioner Terry requested a meeting with the group to better understand the group’s work and requests. Land Use and Transportation Director Andrew Singelakis was also supportive of the idea of involving the tree group and some of their recommendations in the upcoming Aloha-Reedville Study and Livable Community Plan work.

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Change in County Sentiments re: Tree Code?

The county had originally relegated the tree group’s request under tier 2 without any further comment, but the staff report for Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting where they will decide the fate of the request now has an update:

Joint CPO Tree Code Group of Washington County
Elizabeth Bowers, on behalf of the CPO Tree Code Group, asks that the group’s request to develop an urban forest management policy for urban unincorporated Washington County be moved to Tier 1. This would be a time-extensive task estimated to require two to three FTE. Currently there aren’t sufficient staff resources to take on a project of this size due to the Division’s other projects.  Therefore, staff recommends maintaining this request as a Tier 2 task.
A limited aspect of this issue may be addressed as part of the Aloha-Reedville Study. An inventory of trees in the town center and corridors will be conducted and that information will be provided to the Citizen Advisory Committee for review.

We are thankful that the county has changed it’s tone somewhat on this important topic. The group will continue to promote a phased implementation approach to an urban forest management policy and supporting code at this Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners hearing where the Board will be deciding on the 2011 Work Plan.


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Oregonian: Odds are grim for a tree-preservation plan in Washington County

The Oregonian ran an article this week about our group’s struggles to get the attention of the county.

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Arbor Day: Cedar Mill Garden Club Donates and Helps Plant Tree With West TV Girl Scouts

Planting Completed

West TV Girl Scout Troup plants tree with Cedar Mill Garden Club

also covered by the Oregonian 5/25 “Girl Scouts plant tree at West Tualatin View Elementary

The Cedar Mill Garden Club contacted the Washington County Tree Code Group looking for an opportunity to donate and help plant a tree in honor of Arbor Day 2011. One of the tree group members had a daughter who’s Girl Scout Troop was attempting to earn their Eco-Action Girl Scout badge. So Paulette Busch from the Garden Club worked with Sandi Schmunk, co-leader of the 4th grade Girl Scout Troop 1606 from West Tualatin View Elementary school, to arrange a tree planting on school grounds during Arbor Week, 2011.

moving dirt

Replacing the dirt

Paulette came to the site and selected an appropriate planting location and worked with her garden club to select an appropriate tree for the partially shaded location, a flowering native dogwood cultivar.

Six of the Garden Club members met with the girl scout troup at the school on April 20 and introduced the tree and tree care to the girls. Erik Mace from the Tree Code Group also presented materials on the importance of trees in the urban settings. One of the Garden Club members surprised the girls with the information that she had also gone to school at West TV when she was a child, and another reported that she had been the school Librarian there many years ago!

Planting with the Guidance of Paulette Busch (right on ground)

Then the girls completed digging the hole at the planting location and planted the tree under the expert instruction of the Garden Club members.

The girls will also be responsible for taking care of and watering the tree through the summer and the next school year, their last year at this school. This should be enough time for this particular variety of tree to become self sufficient and no longer need regular watering.

Join me in thanking the CM Garden Club for their contribution to our community by attending their plant sale on May 7th and 8th at the John Quincy Adams Young House (118th and Cornell).

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Citywide Tree Project adopted by Portland City Council

This doesn’t impact Washington County directly, but it’s great to see our neighbors working to promote the importance of and preserve our urban forest canopy.

Citywide Tree Project adopted by City Council
Proposal to ensure tree preservation and planting means Portlanders will benefit from robust tree canopy
Portland, ORE. — Today, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted milestone legislation to protect and enhance Portland’s urban forest. Three years in the making, the Citywide Tree Project streamlines and strengthens the City’s requirements around trees.
“The Tree Project has been a journey,” proclaimed Mayor Sam Adams. “Thanks to our community’s tenacity, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s leadership and critical assistance from other city bureaus, dozens of disparate viewpoints have been woven into a cohesive framework for the future of our trees.”
Commissioner Nick Fish called the Tree Project “an historic opportunity for Portland to ensure the future of our urban tree canopy. We are all partners in protecting and managing this vital natural resource. Trees provide significant economic and environmental benefits to our community.”
Led by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, multiple City bureaus and community stakeholders tackled tough policy questions and tradeoffs to produce the proposal presented to Portland’s Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission last year, and then later to the City Council.
“The process was unique,” observed Bonny McKnight, Citywide Land Use Group Chair and member of the project Stakeholder Discussion Group. “The Citywide Tree Policy development took place through an effective and – by normal standards – rapid collaboration of many City bureaus to find rules that could be combined, eliminated, clarified and ultimately simplified into a single, understandable [code] (Title 11 - Trees)."

The result is a cohesive regulatory framework, designed to support City goals for tree canopy and healthy watersheds, smart urban development and neighborhood livability. Portland's new tree rules will encourage preservation of large healthy trees and ensure that trees are routinely planted as new development takes place.  The project also standardizes and streamlines the City's tree removal and pruning permit requirements, making them more consistent, fair and user-friendly.

"Trees are an essential part of having a vibrant city.  They help clean our air and water, as well as keep us cool in the summer," stated Bureau of Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott. "The new tree code provides a great step forward as the community tries to grow more trees and protect the ones we have."

Commissioner Amanda Fritz noted that, "This is landmark legislation. Trees are the landmarks in our neighborhoods, and the regulations we are adopting provide landmark protections. So Portlanders will continue to enjoy the many benefits of big beautiful trees for generations to come."

As active participants in the project, the development community sought balance in the new tree rules.  "The Home Builders Association appreciates the collaborative effort with the other stakeholders and the City of Portland to develop a tree policy that created a workable, fair and consistent system for housing development," said Dave Nielson, executive director of Home Builders Association of Metro Portland. "The final result was one that places equal importance on infill homes and a healthy tree canopy."

City Council also directed a set of actions to improve customer service and public access to tree-related information and programs. These include a new single point of contact for the public, a 24-hour tree hotline, an updated tree permit tracking system, and development of a Community Tree Manual.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman noted that, "Completing this phase of the work is an important step, but success will ultimately be measured in terms of more trees across Portland, and community confidence in our ability to implement and enforce the rules."

Said Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland, "This is a huge step forward for our environment and our community. The Tree Project directs the City to protect, educate and enforce as needed to sustain and expand our urban canopy. Portland's trees are an incredible asset, and the costs associated with this approach represent smart, strategic and proactive investments in the City's green infrastructure."

The Tree Project components will be phased in over three years so staff can prepare to implement the new codes, while providing information to developers, arborists and Portland residents.
For more information about the Citywide Tree Project, please visit
About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

To create and enhance a vibrant city, BPS combines the disciplines of planning and sustainability to advance Portland's diverse and distinct neighborhoods, promote a prosperous and low-carbon economy, and help ensure that people and the natural environment are healthy and integrated into the cityscape. BPS provides a forum for community engagement and education, and is a catalyst for action. With a city full of partners, BPS develops creative and practical solutions on issues as far ranging as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and solar technologies. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach strengthens Portland's position as an international model of sustainable development practices and commerce.


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Cut trees cause clear-cut controvery

What are your thoughts on this issue in Clackamas County:

A neighbor cuts down a forest on their own property within the limits of the current law, but it causes significant impact to you and other neighbors including flooding, falling of your own trees, and failing septic systems.

Should this be allowed without consideration for affects to the neighboring properties or impacts to the jurisdiction (i.e. significant increased storm water management costs)?

What do you think?

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Tree Code Group and Volunteers-Over 600 Trees and Shrubs Planted in Cedar Mill

Approximately 30 tree-loving community members, including families and boy and girl scouts, joined the Tree Code Group on January 22, 2011, a rare and spectacular sunny winter morning to plant over 600 native trees and shrubs in the Cedar Mill Wetland just north of HWY 26 and west of Cedar Hills Blvd.

Under direction from Jennifer Wilson, urban land steward for the Tualatin-based Wetlands Conservancy and owner of the property, the group took over

receiving instructions

100 cuttings from established living dogwood, spirea and willow trees and shrubs from the area just south of Barnes Road, and jabbed them into the ground around the ponds north of Barnes Road to establish new wildlife habitat. Wilson indicated that over 60% of them would survive and produce a new root system after just one month.

The group then continued planting over 500 additional bare-root shrubs at preselected locations scattered around the site.

The group also removed invasive blackberries and collected nearly a pickup truck load of litter, including a mid-century wood console television set!

The event was sponsored by the Joint-CPO Tree Code Group, CPO1 and the Wetlands Conservancy. Bareroot shrubs were provided by Clean Water Services. Refreshments were provided by Sunrise Bagels and Albertsons/Starbucks.

Plannig is underway for more planting parties in other ares of the county. Contact the Tree Code Group to be invited to future plantings.

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