Tree Relocation in Portland, OR: A Guide

Much like a job, a family, or even your favorite sports team, trees can be uprooted and safely relocated. Typical reasons for tree relocation are when they grow too close to buildings or within areas that don’t provide enough sunlight.

However, if you wish to relocate a tree in Portland, there are a few things to know, like what you can do, what you can’t do, the costs, and even if you’re allowed to do it in the first place.

Common Tree Relocation Questions: What You Can and Cannot Do in Portland

Portland’s tree code includes measures that preserve trees and ensure new ones are planted when others are moved. It can get a bit tricky when acquiring permits and for determining when they’re necessary. We’ve highlighted some of the most important points below:

  • Street trees need a permit. A street tree is when 50% of the tree’s trunk is in the public’s right of way. If this is the case, you’ll absolutely need a permit to relocate it.
  • Yard trees may require a permit. Certain zoning exceptions exist, and permits may not always be required. Permits are typically granted for trees which are dead or dying. You’ll need a permit if the tree’s diameter is over 12 inches.  How to measure tree diameter: A tree’s diameter measurement begins 4.5 feet off the ground. Wrap a measuring tape around the trunk and divide the number by 3.14.
  • Replanting afterwards. Once a tree is removed, it’s often required to plant a new one in its stead. If replanting is not feasible, then a mitigation fee might be applied (this keeps the city’s tree canopies in balance). We can let you know if a mitigation plan is required and can assist with helping you set one up.
  • Public safety reigns supreme. If a tree poses a public safety concern, then a permit for removal will be granted.
  • Heed the permits. Portland does not joke with its fines. Removing a tree without a permit could result in a fine up to $1,000–or $100 per inch in tree diameter.

If permits do not require a city-led inspection, they can be typically issued within 5 business days. If your situation requires an inspection, you might wait 3-4 weeks after submitting the application. This waiting period could depend on the urgency of your case as well as the inspection team’s current workload.

Tree Removal Costs

Trees next to a suburban sidewalk If you’re all set for relocating your tree, you’ll probably need to know how much it costs. This will depend on a few factors:

  • Tree size: Cost varies based on tree height as well as crown spread. You can perform the height measurement yourself, or use this app. For a ballpark number—if the tree taller than one story, it will likely cost over $1,000 for removal. Tree crown measurement is a bit more difficult to figure—we are happy to visit your property to help measure.
  • Account for overhang: If a tree is within 10 feet of your home, it will likely cost upwards of $2,000 to remove (this accounts for potential overhang over your home).
  • Difficulty of removal: Is the tree in the front or back yard? Is it on flat ground or an incline? These can raise or lower the cost. Dead or sick trees typically cost more than healthy ones, as they are more difficult to remove.
  • Time of year: Warmer months understandably mean heavier business for tree removal companies—so if you wait until “off-season”, i.e. winter, you may get a reduced cost.

Relocating is Entirely Possible

Tree relocation in Portland obviously brings some caveats. However, with permits in place and a proper arborist in tow, you should get your tree removed with minimal difficulty.

Our team at Urban Forest Professionals are best suited for any tree relocation jobs in Portland. For any questions at all, or a free estimate, please call our office at 503-226-7143.

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