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Trees are important

Trees promote soil stability, reduce flooding and runoff, filter air pollution and traffic noise, provide shade, and add to the overall livability of Gresham.

More benefits of trees

Trees add value

By caring for the trees on your property, you're making an investment for yourself and future generations, as well as the community.

Trees in Gresham are regulated differently depending on their location, purpose, size, and type. The City regulates cutting trees to make sure too many aren’t cut down at once, trees are replaced to maintain or add to our tree inventory, and damaged or overgrown trees don’t become a hazard to you and your neighbors.

  • Regulated tree: Any tree on public or private property that is 8 inches or larger in diameter at four feet high is considered a regulated tree. All street trees, buffer trees, parking lot trees and significant trees are regulated.
  • Street tree: A tree located in the public right-of-way between the curb, or edge of roadway, and the property line. Trees located within a public right-of-way where no roadway exists are not considered street trees.
  • Significant trees: Trees adopted by the City, with the approval of the property owner, as trees of significance related to a historic event, uniqueness of shape or species, location, age, or functionality.
  • Buffer tree: A buffer tree helps provide screening between different land uses such as businesses and single-family homes. The City requires buffers in certain circumstances.
  • Tree topping: The severe cutting back of limbs or main stem to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree’s crown to such a degree as to remove the normal top and disfigure the tree. This is a violation and is considered similarly to tree removal.
Tree Removal

Uncontrolled cutting or destruction of trees within the city decreases the community's livability. It is in the public interest to preserve significant trees, to control the cutting of trees, and to protect trees from damage. Trees in Gresham are regulated differently depending on their location, purpose, size, and significance.

Before removing any tree on your property

To determine whether you need a removal permit, contact the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or

  • Contact us with any questions about trees in your yard.
  • Visit our online permit system to apply for a tree removal permit or exception request. If you do not have access to a computer, contact the Planner on Duty.

When is a permit not required?

Any tree less than 6 inches in diameter measured at 4.5 feet in height may be removed without a permit. Outside sensitive areas trees 6-8 inches in diameter may also be removed without a permit. Relocation of a healthy tree is encouraged.

If your tree is fully collapsed or uprooted in a storm or other hazard event, a tree permit is not required.

  • Hazard trees, such as those that are leaning, will still require a permit for removal.
  • Imminent hazard trees (a tree where more than 30 percent is estimated to fall within 72 hours into the public right-of-way or onto a target that cannot be protected, restricted, moved, or removed) may be removed immediately before obtaining a permit.
  • For imminent hazard tree removal, please send in a retroactive permit within 10 days of removal.

Trees in sensitive areas

In the floodplain, hillside and geologic risk and natural resource overlays, trees more than 6 inches in diameter perform special functions, so they have special protections.

  • Contact the Planner on Duty at for specific regulations.
  • Most need to be retained if they are healthy and replaced if they need to be removed.
  • You can check whether any of these areas are present on your property by typing your address into Gresham Map.

Regulated trees

Trees more than 8 inches in diameter, measured at 4.5 feet, are regulated trees. Except on properties in the Hillside, Habitat Conservation Area, or Flood Plain areas or as otherwise specified in the City's tree regulations:

  • Up to three regulated trees on an undeveloped or low-density residential property 35,000 square feet or less may be removed within a 12-month period.
  • Six regulated trees on an undeveloped or low density residential a property over 35,000 square feet may be removed within a 12-month period.

You must get a tree removal exemption before removing regulated trees on your property.

When is a permit required?

Tree locations and permits required:

  • Trees located around the perimeter of a site that were required through a development permit as buffer trees: Type I tree removal.
  • Trees more than six-inch in diameter, measured at 4.5 feet, in the floodplain, hillside and geologic risk overlay, resource area or potential resource area can be removed with a Type I tree removal permit if they are dangerous or invasive and will need to be replaced at a ratio of one-to-one. Trees that are not dangerous can only be removed with another development permit.
  • Trees located within a commercial, industrial, or multi-family landscaping area or a parking lot: Type I tree removal; additionally, these trees must be replaced at a ratio of one-to-one.
  • Removal of more than three or six regulated trees (as described above under regulated trees): Type II tree removal permit
  • Removal of a significant tree: Type III hearings official decision based on criteria in Section 9.1000 of the Development Code.
  • Removal of a street tree: Type I tree removal

If you have any questions about tree removal, contact the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or for additional information.

Fees and timelines

  • Permit: Type I tree removal permit: no fee
    Timeline: Up to one week
  • Permit: Type II tree removal permit: see the City fee schedule
    Timeline: Up to three three months
  • Permit: Type III hearings procedure: no fee
    Timeline: Up to four months
Tree Trimming

How to keep your trees healthy

Tree trimming guidelines

General tree health

Tree pruning basics

  • No permit is required to prune a tree on private property, unless it is a designated significant tree.
  • Property owners are responsible for maintenance of street trees located in the public right-of-way next to their properties.
    • Street trees must pruned in accordance with the City's tree-trimming standards.
    • All overhanging branches must be at least eight feet above the sidewalk and 12 feet above the street.
  • If more than 20 percent of the tree canopy is removed, or if root-pruning is involved, additional requirements may apply.
  • If the pruning constitutes tree topping (cutting the normal top off the tree and removing its leading stem), a type I street tree removal permitis required. Tree topping often leads to the tree re-growing in ways that make it unstable or tree death.

More information about pruning

Street and Sidewalk Trees

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

Street trees

Trees located in the public right-of-way between the curb, or edge of roadway, and the property line are street trees. Because street trees are located in the right-of-way, they are regulated by the City and can’t be cut down or planted without a free type I tree removal.Additionally, the trees must be replaced using the approved tree list.

If you are interested in adding more trees on your block, the City’s street tree list offers lots of choices for trees that don’t grow too high, block sun or views, and that thrive in our climate.

Why are street trees a big deal?

The street trees on your block are so much more than just trees. In addition to making a street look more appealing:

  • Cars drive more slowly on streets with trees.
  • Street trees cut traffic noise.
  • Residents walk more on streets with trees.
  • Trees increase property value.
  • Trees improve air quality.

Trees and sidewalks

When a street tree lifts the sidewalk in front of your house, the sidewalk must be repaired.

  • Have a tree care professional provide an assessment and estimate for root-pruning or removal of a tree.
  • Contact the City's Public Works Inspector at 503-618-2816 to evaluate sidewalk damage. After the inspection you will need to visit the Permit Center at City Hall to apply for a right-of-way permit. Contact Permit Services at 503-618-2845 for more information.
  • If a street tree causing sidewalk damage requires removal to accommodate sidewalk repairs, you must contact the Planner on Duty at 503-618-2780 or and submit a type I street tree removal permit..
Planting New Trees


  • When to plant: The best time to plant a tree is when the tree is dormant during the winter months. Trees should be planted between Oct. 1 and April 30 to give them the best change of survival.
  • Compact soil: Be sure not to pack the soil too tight when planting the tree. Compact soil makes it difficult for roots to grow outward and downward, which can result in raised sidewalks and an unhealthy tree.
  • Mulch: To hold in moisture and discourage the growth of competing weeds, spread mulch around the base of the tree. The mulch should be about four inches deep and kept about six inches from the trunk of the tree. Mulch could include grass clippings, compost, or bark dust.
  • Stakes: The tree should be staked for at least the first year after planting. The stakes should be tied loose enough that the tree can sway two inches from side to side.

More about planting new trees


  • Trees need water: Your new tree will need 5-10 gallons of water once or twice a week for the first three years after planting. Watering your tree slowly and evenly will promote deep root growth; over watering your tree will promote shallow root growth which will result in raised walkways. A five-gallon bucket with small holes in the bottom is an excellent method for watering your plant slowly..
  • Weed around your tree: Other plants around the tree are competing for water. Be sure to remove competing plants several feet around the base of the tree.
  • Bark damage: Take care when mowing around the tree, bark damage can weaken the tree and make it susceptible to disease.
  • Remove dead branches and suckers: Remove all dead branches in the tree canopy and suckers located at the base of the tree. This will allow the tree to focus its energy where it is needed and desired.

More about pruning young trees

Significant Trees

What are significant trees?

Significant trees are trees adopted by the City, with the approval of the property owner, as trees of significance to Gresham. The significance may be related to a historic event, uniqueness of shape or species, location, age or functionality.

Removal of a significant tree must be approved by a Type III hearings official decision, based on criteria in Section 9.1000 of the Development Code.

Nominate a tree

The preservation of significant trees enhances Gresham's livability, history and is an opportunity for recognition and education.

Urban Forestry Subcommittee
Attn: John Heili
1333 NW Eastman Parkway
Gresham, OR 97030

You may also drop off the forms at City Hall or email them to or call 503-618-2810.

Tree City USA

Gresham has been designated a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This honor is the result of work recognizing trees as an important part of Gresham's quality of life. 

  • Photo of people walking their dogs on the lawn between large trees and near fencing
  • Photo of King Tree at the Gresham Arboretum
  • Photo of a person walking on a path lined with street trees
  • Photo of a mix of conifer and deciduous trees, displayed as a screening.
  • Photo of a woman walking on a lawn near a large tree
  • Photo of Gresham butte looking through trees
  • Photo of an adult helping a child learning how to ride a bike in a lot with autumn trees in the background
  • Photo of a group of volunteers helping to plant trees
  • Photo of park fencing with lawn in the foreground and trees and buildings in the background
  • Photo of a group of trees with red leaves with a fence and lawn in the background
  • Close up photo of a sugar Maple leaves with red fall foliage at the Arboretum

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  • The Arboretum is a special place to enjoy the wide range of trees that thrive in the city. Visit the Arboretum at 2303 SE Palmquist Road at Gradin Community Sports Park.

  • The Arboretum is organized around four areas that make up fall, winter, spring and summer tree collections.

  • The street tree demonstration along Palmquist Road includes 25 of the best-known and newest street tree species. Interested in planting street trees in front of your house?

    City-approved street trees

  • Located on the north side of the park, this collection underscores how large conifers can be used as screening among pockets of deciduous trees and drought-tolerant native shrubs.

  • The idea for an arboretum was first suggested in 2009 at a public forum for the Urban Forestry Management Plan. GreenWorks developed the site plan with input from the public and the City's Urban Forestry Subcommittee. 

  • Still a labor of love, the Arboretum will one day include more than 400 trees of almost 300 varieties.

    Arboretum site plan

  • A perimeter buffer on the west side of the park repeats the theme of the four seasons and examples of native trees for parking lots and large canopy trees with tall frames for parking lots.

  • Many local groups, including the Rotary Club of Gresham and residents on the Urban Forestry Subcommittee, volunteer time and resources to Arboretum plantings and projects so it continues to grow. Development takes place as funding is available.

  • The Arboretum features a one-mile paved path to see the trees, located around the perimeter of Gradin Sports Park. 

  • Signature tree species are repeated throughout the Arboretum, including Flowering Dogwood (Cornus 'Eddie's White Wonder') and Hogan Cedars (Thuja plicata 'Hogan').

  • A sugar Maple shows off its fall foliage at the Arboretum.