By Sharon Kelly | CNA Media Team
Portland City Council will consider amendments to the five-year-old tree code, Title 11 Trees, in September and October to save more trees in Concordia and throughout Portland.
Bruce Nelson hopes neighbors will help influence the city council to approve the amendments. He’s a Cully resident, retired horticulture professor, Portland Urban Forestry Commission member and a founding member of Trees for Life Oregon (TFLO).
“We’re losing too many trees because it’s too easy to take them down,” he pointed out. “We’ll gradually lose older large trees, a lot of those to development.
“It happens one lot at a time,” he added. “But give it 40 years, and many will have to go to a park to sit under the shade of a tree. It’s not that people are opposed to trees, they just don’t make trees a priority.”
Jim Gerbach, Concordia resident, neighborhood tree steward and also a founding member of TFLO explained, “Concordia has a lot of smaller affordable homes and has already been targeted for in-fill development and the construction of duplexes.”
According to Jim, with the August approval of the Residential Infill Project, infill will accelerate with four to six homes on a lot.
“It’s important that Concordians know about the protections for trees in their neighborhood and speak up, or they may find that trees they’re used to seeing will not be there.”
In an effort to strengthen the existing tree code and address inequities, city staff proposes the requirement that trees on private property with a diameter of 20 inches or larger be preserved, or developers pay mitigation fees for removal. Currently, the preservation threshold measurement is 36 inches.
City council will also vote on removing exemptions from some properties zoned commercial and industrial.
Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA), TFLO, Audubon Society and many other tree advocates call for support, even stronger code and incentives for creative design to protect trees. “We encourage the city to remove minimum lot size exemptions…ensuring our neighborhood’s tree profile remains consistent throughout,” reported a letter to the city from CNA signed by chair Astrid Furstner.
Key dates to testify in support of the amendments are:
- Sep. 8: Planning and Sustainability Commission and Urban Forestry Commission joint public hearing
- Sept. 17: Urban Forestry Commission meeting and vote
- Sept 22: Planning and Sustainability Commission meeting and vote
- Oct. 29: Portland City Council public hearing – written testimony also accepted prior to the in-person hearing For details about those dates and testifying, visit TreesforLifeOregon.org and TreesForLifeOregon.org/how-totestify.
Editor’s note: Sharon has more to tell about the tree code, tree advocates’ enthusiasm for changes, the impact on trees at affordable housing sites and online references for more information. For “the rest of the story,” visit ConcordiaPDX.org/2020TreeCode.
Sharon Kelly uses her outreach and coordination skills to support trees, farmers, small businesses, and engage people to create more healthy, equitable, sustainable communities. She’s best known locally as market manager for Cully and Woodlawn farmers markets and as web manager for Trees for Life Oregon. Contact her at NaturalFarmerPDX@gmail.com.