Tree City USA
The Tree City USA program provides national recognition for urban and community forestry projects across the country.
To achieve Tree City USA status, a city must meet four core standards established by the National Arbor Day Foundation, including hosting an annual Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation. This is the eighteenth year Tigard has received this honorable recognition for its urban forestry management efforts.
Though the city does not encourage removal of trees, sometimes it is necessary. This is especially true when trees are considered hazardous or in poor condition. If you are unsure of the condition of your tree, we recommend that you have a certified arborist take a look at it.
Step 1. Determine if a Tree Removal Permit is Required
Step 2. Complete a Tree Removal Permit Application
Six types of trees that require a permit for removal (street tree, median tree, sensitive lands tree, urban forestry fund tree, heritage tree, and development-required tree). In general, you may remove a tree EXCEPT when one of the listed situations exists.
Full descriptions of the situations that require a tree removal permit can be found in Tigard's Municipal Code Chapters 8.08 through 8.16.
To apply for a permit, fill out and submit a completed Tree Removal Permit Application
, to the Permit Center, addressing all the relevant approval criteria, and pay the applicable fee
Permits are approved by one of two processes:
- Staff process (for simple situations), or
- By a Tigard board or commission (for complex situations).
of simple and complex situations. There is no fee when trees are removed for simple situations.
If you need assistance with the application process, contact the planner on duty at 503-718-2421.
Tigard's Heritage and Significant Tree Program was established to identify and raise public awareness of rare and/or exceptional trees due to their age, size, species, horticultural quality or historical importance.
Heritage Tree Program
This program may offer incentives to private landowners who protect heritage trees growing on their property. The heritage tree track provides city assistance for maintenance in exchange for regulatory protection. Incentives offered include permanent financial and technical assistance with tree maintenance and preservation. Trees on city property are also eligible for the heritage tree designation. Each heritage tree will be identified with a plaque and included on the city's Heritage Tree and Significant Tree Map. The city has the capacity to designate up to two heritage trees per year.
Significant Tree Program
The significant tree track allows trees to be publically recognized without regulatory restrictions. Significant trees are not eligible for city assistance for maintenance because property owners are allowed to remove the tree at any time. Each significant tree will be included on the city's Heritage Tree and Significant Tree Map.
If you have a special tree growing on your property, or if you discover a noteworthy tree in Tigard, you may nominate the tree for Heritage Tree designation by completing a nomination form. All nominations will be reviewed by a city contracted Arborist, the Tigard Tree Board and ultimately the City Council.
The Heritage Tree Nomination form is available online or by contacting the Community Development Department at 503-718-2421.
Each season before the worst of the weather arrives, examine the trees on your property with an eye towards potential hazards. The International Society of Arboriculture recommends a more thorough assessment of your trees by an ISA Certified Arborist if your answer is yes to any of the following questions:
- Are there large dead branches in the tree? Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?
- Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
- Are honey colored mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
- Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
- Have any branches fallen from the tree? Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
- Has the trunk developed a strong lean?
Visit Pacific Northwest Chapter of the ISA (PNWISA) for more information and to find an ISA Certified Arborist in our area.
Are you concerned about a neighbor's tree? Download and review the Hazard Tree Evaluation and Abatement Program Brochure.
The City of Tigard supports the planting of trees on both public and private property in order to maximize the environmental and aesthetic benefits provided by trees. The city actively plants trees within the city's parks, floodplains, riparian areas, and on other public lands.
Need tree planting ideas?
Approved Trees List
Nuisance Tree List
Q: Do I need a permit to remove a tree at my house?
A: Maybe. Trees on individual single family lots do not require a permit, unless they are a street tree, heritage tree, a tree planted using the Urban Forestry Fund or are native and located within sensitive lands (steep slopes, 100-year floodplain, stream corridors, significant habitat areas or wetlands). In these situations a tree removal permit is required. Q: Do I need a permit to remove a tree on my commercial, industrial or apartment/condominium property?
A: Most likely. In addition to the situations listed above, permits are required to remove trees that were required with development. Trees in commercial, industrial or apartment/condominium developments most likely were required by land use approval.
For trees required with development, there are two options for review:
- The City Manager decision-making process outlined in Section 7 of the Urban Forestry Manual, or
- The City Board or Committee decision-making process.
In most cases, a replacement tree is required. For more information about both processes and which might apply to your situation, please see Tree Permit Requirements.
Q: Do I need a permit to remove a tree from the planter strip or public right-of-way fronting my property?
A: Yes, trees in these areas, usually referred to as street trees, can be removed through either the City Manager decision making process or the City Board or Committee decision-making process. In most cases, a replacement tree is required. For more information about both processes and which might apply to your situation, please see Tree Permit Requirements.
Q: How do I get a permit and how long does it take?
A: The application can be found online. Submit the completed application, supporting documentation and any applicable fees to the city for review and approval. Most tree removal permits can be processed within 10 days.
Q: What should I do when a tree is lifting up the sidewalk in front of my house?
A: Consult with an ISA certified arborist about preserving the tree. If this is not possible, find out whether a tree removal permit is required and obtain one, if necessary. A Public Facility Improvement application is required for the repair of the sidewalk.
Q: What is the penalty for illegally damaging or removing a tree?
A: As specified in Section 1.16.640 of the Tigard Municipal Code, the penalty is:
- Not less than $250 per unlawfully removed tree and not more than the city's cost to plant and maintain for three years an equivalent number of 1 ½ inch caliper trees with a combined caliper equal to the DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) of each unlawfully removed tree.
As of July 1, 2015, the city's cost to plant and maintain a 1-½ inch caliper tree for three years is $550. Therefore, the maximum fine for illegally removing a 12-inch DBH tree is $4,400. The tree must be replaced per the Urban Forestry Manual replacement standards specified for each type of tree.
Q: Do I need a permit to plant a tree in the planter strip or public right of way fronting my property?
A: Yes the city must approve the species and planting location for street trees per the Urban Forestry Manual
, Section 2
. Check with the city regarding specific permit requirements.
Q: Is it true that the city offers free street trees for Tigard property owners?
A: Yes, the city's free street tree program offers street trees to Tigard residents annually.
Q: I'm worried about my street tree. Can the city come out and inspect it?
A: Street trees, although they may be in the public right of way, are the adjacent property owner's responsibility. We recommend hiring ISA certified arborists
for tree inspections. Q: How do I determine who owns a tree or is responsible for its maintenance?
A: The only way to definitively determine the ownership of a tree is by hiring a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) to survey the tree in relation to property lines. A local PLS can be found at www.plso.org
Q: Will the city maintain or remove the street tree in front of my house?
A: No, street tree maintenance is the responsibility of the fronting property owner. Additionally, Tigard (as with most cities) requires that street trees be maintained per tree care industry standards. In addition, tree branches need to be maintained 8 feet above sidewalks and 13-18 feet above the street depending on the street type (see Urban Forestry Manual
Section 2, Part 2
for details). The city recommends working with an ISA certified arborist to maintain street trees.
Q: I'm worried about the condition of a tree on my property. Can the city come out and inspect it?
A: No, trees on private property are the owner's responsibility. We recommend hiring an ISA certified arborist for tree inspections.
Q: I'm worried about a tree on my neighbor's property. What can the city do?
A: We recommend first contacting your neighbor to try and work out a solution. The Dispute Resolution Center offers mediation services to Tigard residents which may be helpful in resolving hazard tree issues.
If these efforts are unsuccessful, the city offers a hazard tree evaluation and abatement program. You can pursue the informal reconciliation process outlined in the Urban Forestry Manual
, Section 1. If the issue is still unresolved, you may request the assistance of the city through a formal reconciliation process. Contact the city for more information.
Q: I'm worried about the condition of a tree on city property, such as a park or greenway. Who should I contact?
A: Contact the City of Tigard Parks Department, 503-718-2598 or email@example.com
Q: I plan on developing my property. Am I required to plant trees? Are there incentives for preserving existing trees?
A: Yes. The Community Development Code contains information regarding the city's tree canopy requirements. Incentives for preserving existing trees, such as receiving double credit towards the canopy requirements are also found in this section. There are additional incentives for preserving significant tree groves such as clustering development, increasing building heights and reducing setbacks.
Beautify Your Block
The street tree program seeks to increase the city’s tree canopy and beautify the community by supplying Tigard homeowners and neighborhood groups with free trees.
Tree selection and planning typically begin in early November with delivery and planting scheduled for late November through December each year. Please see the approved street tree list to help you make your selection.
For more information, please contact Adam Jensen at 503-718-2606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The street tree program is funded by developers who are unable to meet urban forestry requirements at their project sites. When this occurs, the city collects funds which are used to plant trees elsewhere in the city.