In December, after sustained advocacy from the community, City Council extended the sunset clause for existing protections on big trees on residential properties. Thank you for your advocacy in helping secure this win. This was an important step forward because the protections were set to expire on December 31. However, all this does is preserve the status quo and doesn’t add any new protections, which are needed.
During the sunset clause discussion, council postponed other critical protections such as protecting trees on commercial and industrial lands until the New Year, and now the Mayor has introduced a resolution which postpones this decision all the way until July of 2020. Other additional important tree code updates have been put off until the end of 2022. This is too slow of a timeline for a Mayor who has said that he understands the urgency of climate change, and is ready to take urgent action.
The timeline proposed in the resolution is far too slow and unambitious. The resolution should be changed to accomplish the following:
- Council should hold hearings on lifting exemptions for protecting trees on commercial and industrial lands (preservation and density standards) no later than April 1, 2020. These protections have already been delayed for a decade since they were first proposed and it is long past time to move forward.
- The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, in coordination with Portland Parks and Recreation and Bureau of Development Services, should conduct a public process to evaluate reducing the threshold for inch-for-inch tree mitigation from 36 inches diameter to 20 inches diameter and return to council with a recommendation no later than December 31, 2020.
- The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in coordination with Portland Parks and Recreation and Bureau of Development Services should prepare a budget proposal for the spring 2020 Budget Monitoring Process for a comprehensive review and update of the Portland Tree Code (Title 11) and report back to Council no later than September 1, 2021.
Thank you for helping protect trees for the entire community.