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Tree Code

The purpose of the Tree Code is to preserve the wooded character of the City of Lake Oswego and to protect trees as a natural resource of the City by:

  • Regulating the removal of trees;
  • Encouraging and assisting property owner in managing large forested properties; and
  • Prescribing preventative protection measures to avoid damage to trees during site development.

Frequently Asked Questions 

When do I need a permit?

How much does a tree removal permit cost?

How do I measure DBH?

Do I need a permit to trim a tree?

How long is a tree permit valid?

Does the City have an approved mitigation list?

Can I trim a tree on my neighbor’s property that hangs over my property?

What is the Type II tree removal process?

How do I comment on a Type II tree removal application?

How do I appeal the decision on a Type II tree removal application?

My tree is leaning, what is the correct tree removal application?

When is a tree considered dead?

What trees are native?

Do you have a list of approved street trees?

How do I find a local certified or Tree Risk Assessor Qualified (TRAQ) arborist?

When do I need a permit? 

A permit is required to remove a tree with a trunk that is 6 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH) or greater. Stumps, shrubs and hedges, including rhododendrons, camellias, English laurel, Portuguese laurel, photinia, arborvitae, and hazelnuts, are not considered trees.

How much does a tree removal permit cost?

Invasive and Emergency tree removal permits are free.

Type I, Dead, and Hazardous tree removal permits cost $18.

Type II tree removal applications are $191 for one tree and an additional $18 for each additional tree requested for removal. 

How do I measure DBH? 

DBH is determined by measuring the circumference (all the way around the trunk of the tree) in inches of the main trunk at 4.5 feet above the ground and dividing by pi (3.14). If the main trunk splits into smaller leaders below 4.5 feet, measure the circumference just below the trunk split.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I need a permit to trim a tree? 

No, normal pruning and maintenance does not require a permit. Topping, removing 50% or more of the tree (crown, trunk or root), or damaging a tree resulting in its death are all considered removal and can be subject to enforcement action.

How long is a tree permit valid? 

Invasive and Dead tree removal permits do not expire. Type I, Type II, Hazard and Emergency tree removal permits are valid for 60 days from the date of issuance. A one-time 60-day extension can be granted if a written request is received by the Planning Department before the permit expires.

Does the City have an approved mitigation list? 

Mitigation for removal of a native tree species under a Type II permit requires replanting with a native tree species. For a list of native tree species, take a look at our Master Plant List. If you are not removing a native tree, the species of the mitigation tree is generally the applicant’s choice; however, a condition of approval specifying a specific mitigation species type can be required for Type II permits if significant trees are removed. Additionally, Invasive Trees cannot be used as mitigation trees.  Other resources for picking out your mitigation tree include Right Tree in the Right Place and the Tree Mitigation Handout.

Can I trim a tree on my neighbor’s property that hangs over my property? 

Yes, you can trim portions of the tree that hang on to your property; however, you must obtain permission from your neighbor to trim portions of the tree on your neighbor’s property. Normal pruning and maintenance of trees does not require a permit. Topping, removing 50% or more of the tree, or damage to a tree resulting in its death are all considered removal and can be subject to code enforcement without a permit. If you want to apply to remove a tree that straddles a property line, the tree removal application must be signed by both property owners.

What is the Type II tree removal process? 

  1. The applicant submits their application to the City and posts a public notice sign of the pending tree removal application on the property. The City posts the application on the Pending Type II Permit Applications page and emails a notice of the application to the neighborhood association in which the site is located.
     
  2. A 14-day comment period starts from the date of the posting of the public notice.
     
  3. Typically, within two business days after the end of the comment period, City staff makes a tentative decision on the application, which is posted on the Pending Type II Permit Applications web page. A notice of the tentative decision is emailed or mailed to the applicant, the recognized neighborhood association where the property is located, and to anyone who submitted comments during the comment period and provided a valid email or mailing address.
     
  4. A 7-day appeal period starts from the date of the tentative staff decision. Only those persons that submitted a comment during the 14-day comment period, the applicant, and the neighborhood association in which the site is located may appeal the tentative staff decision.
     
  5. If no appeal is filed within the 7-day appeal period, the decision is final.
     
  6. If an appeal is timely filed by an eligible party, an appeal notice sign will be posted on the property and a hearing will be scheduled before the Development Review Commission (DRC). The DRC makes the final decision on the application, which may be appealed to the City Council.

How do I comment on a Type II tree removal application? 

You can submit comments online from the Pending Type II Permit Applications page by selecting an active tree removal application from the map or list view and selecting “log in to submit a comment.” You can also mail comments via US mail to the following address:

                City of Lake Oswego
                Planning Department
                PO Box 369
                Lake Oswego, OR  97034

How do I appeal the decision on a Type II tree removal application? 

The applicant, the neighborhood association, or any person who submitted written comments during the comment period may request a hearing before the Development Review Commission (DRC) by submitting a written request along with the hearing fee (currently $183) to the City Recorder within seven days of the date of Notice of Tentative Decision.    

My tree is leaning, what is the correct tree removal application? 

A leaning tree could be classified as an Emergency, Hazardous, Type I or Type II tree removal application. Please contact the Planning Division to help identify the appropriate application. Staff will ask for a photo of the tree that shows the lean. The photo can be emailed or submitted in person on the third floor of City Hall.  

When is a tree considered dead? 

A dead or declining tree means a tree is lifeless or is in a state of progressive and irreversible decline. Please take a photo of the tree that shows the whole tree’s crown (top) and submit with the application. Staff will conduct a site visit for the removal of dead deciduous trees between November 1 and April 15th.

What trees are native? 

Type II tree removal applications that involve the removal of a native tree requires that the mitigation tree is also native. You can find a list of native trees in the City’s Master Plant List. Additional information regarding native trees can be found on the Oregon State University, Department of Horticulture website here: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/native-or.htm

Do you have a list of approved street trees? 

There is a list of prohibited street trees that can be found in the City’s Master Plant List. A list of appropriate street trees can be found in the Right Tree Right Place guide.

How do I find a local certified or Tree Risk Assessor Qualified (TRAQ) arborist?

Please visit the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) website to search for local arborists and to check arborist credentials, including whether the arborist is a TRAQ arborist. City staff cannot make specific recommendations for arborists or other professionals.