Skip sidebar navigation


Tree Trimming Guidelines

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

Here's how to to keep your trees, shrubs and vegetation in compliance with City codes.

Basic guidelines

  • Trees and shrubs must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk, and 12 feet above the street.
  • Vegetation must not block views for at least 150 feet from stop signs and other signage.
  • Vegetation cannot grow or hang into the sidewalk or street.

Why do I need to trim my trees?

  • Pedestrian and vehicle safety: Overhanging trees and vegetation can block views of stop signs, oncoming traffic and street signs. Bikers and pedestrians can get hit by low-hanging branches.
  • Allows for essential services: Garbage pickup, mail delivery, street repair and street sweeping are impacted if overhanging vegetation is in the way.

How to trim your tree

Step 1. Measure your tree

Picture showing measurements of 8 feet between tree limb and sidewalk and 12 feet between tree limb and street

Trees and shrubs must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk, and 12 feet above the street.

Measure the height of the lower branches on your trees or other vegetation in the public right-of-way, and those on your property's edge.

An inexpensive piece of PVS pipe, cut or marked at 8 feet and 12 feet, can help you determine if trees need to be trimmed.

Step 2. Don't block signs

Picture showing a tree limb blocking a stop sign

Vegetation must not block views for a minimum of 150 feet from stop signs and other signage.

If a stop sign next to your property is partially blocked, it violates the City's ordinance for visibility and must be trimmed.



Step 3. Don't block sidewalks

Picture that shows a tree encroaching on a sidewalk

Vegetation cannot grow into the sidewalk or street.

If vegetation is blocking the sidewalk, it must be trimmed back flush with the edge of the sidewalk and curb.



Frequently asked questions

Can I do the trimming myself?
  • Yes, you can trim your own trees.
  • Learn more about how to prune a tree
  • If you choose to hire a professional arborist, please share the City's guidelines with them so they understand the City's codes about trees.
Where do I get rid of the trimmings?
  • Use your weekly yard debris collection service.
  • Trimmings must fit in cart.
  • Trimmings cannot exceed 120 pounds.
  • Trimmings must be cut to 4 feet or shorter.
  • Find a yard debris disposal site on Metro's website or at 503-234-3000.
Can I remove my street tree?
  • You must get a tree removal permit to remove a street tree.
  • There is no charge for the permit, but you must replace the tree with one from the City’s approved street tree list.
  • If you have questions about tree removal, contact the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or
What happens if the City finds violations to its tree rules?
  • If a tree violation is identified, the City will send a letter to the property owner requesting action.
  • It is up to the property owner to correct the problem within the time indicated in the letter.
  • If the violation is not corrected, the property owner may be charged a fee, per City code. See GRC 7.15.700 for more information.


  • Code Compliance, 503-618-2248
  • Department of Environmental Services, 503-618-2626