Portland Fines For Removing Nuisance Trees

Portland, Oregon has strict measures in place that reduce the likelihood that property owners will replace nuisance trees with non-nuisance trees. The city code is set up to protect the city’s mature canopy, so healthy nuisance tree removal comes with a mitigation fee of $300 per inch of diameter measured at four and a half feet from the ground. For each newly planted tree, the penalty is reduced.

This policy is called into question when Norway maples are what property owners want to remove. Norway maples have shallow root systems that damage sidewalks and streets. They also spread quickly and outcompete other plants, are prone to disease, and are likely to drop large limbs.

One property owner who wanted six matching trees on his property – he had three that were Norway maples – was told he couldn’t put in three more Norway maples because they were listed as nuisance trees. When he said he would cut his existing three Norway maples down to replant with six non-nuisance trees, he was told that the mitigation fee would be about $10,050.