For the first time in the City’s history and thanks to the 2020 Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has the resources to proactively care for trees in City parks and natural areas. Trees work hard for our community – they clean Portland’s air, keep neighborhoods cool, green our parks, improve our mental and physical well-being, and so much more. PP&R’s proactive work to care for our community’s trees will help extend their lives and the positive impacts they provide for all of us.
Work began in October 2022 when PP&R’s Urban Forestry team treated over 70 park trees in four city parks: North Park Blocks, John Luby Park, George Himes Park, and Pettygrove Park.
“Prior to voters approving the Parks Levy, Portland Parks & Recreation never had the funds to proactively maintain and care for trees in Portland’s parks and green spaces,” noted Portland Parks Commissioner Dan Ryan. “The bureau’s work was limited by capacity and resources to only reactive work. Now, for the first time in the City’s history, trained, professional, experienced PP&R arborists are working on preserving and maintaining the City’s tree canopy in Portland’s parks and natural areas. They have my thanks and admiration!”
WHAT: The first proactive park and natural area tree maintenance work in the Portland Parks & Recreation system, made possible by the 2020 Parks Local Option Levy.
WHEN: Ongoing now, through mid-2023 as an interim phase, in one park each month. More comprehensive proactive park tree maintenance efforts are expected to start in late 2023.
WHERE: Sites citywide determined via criteria including equity and tree health assessments.
WHY: Improving public health; helping prevent failures and tree diseases, enhancing the health of trees in parks and natural areas and preserving the urban canopy.
“We are proud that our PP&R staff are dedicated to this important work,” said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Adena Long. “Proactive tree maintenance will enhance public safety, the health of our city’s trees, wildlife habitat, and work towards mitigating the effects of climate change.”
Portland Parks & Recreation continues to ramp up staffing in the Urban Forestry department (and many others) to deliver on Parks Levy-funded projects such as this. This work aligns with the Parks Levy commitment stated in the November 2020 Voter Pamphlet to, “Protect Portland’s 1.2 million park trees by performing proactive maintenance, safety checks, hazard removal, and replacement of damaged trees in parks and natural areas.” PP&R’s proactive tree maintenance includes structural pruning and canopy lifting to increase public safety and enhance wildlife habitat and improve tree health.
PP&R Urban Forestry teams will continue to respond to tree-related emergencies on public land and those blocking public rights-of-way (common during severe weather).
In addition to the City’s proactive work, free educational and volunteer opportunities abound for neighbors to plant trees, become neighborhood tree stewards, attend tree care workshops and events, participate in outreach, and many other endeavors. For more information, please visit portland.gov/trees/get-involved
Source: Portland Parks & Recreation