POL Government Elected Officials Auditor Griffin-Valade Charter, Code & Policies City Code & Charter Online Code & Charter Title 20 Parks Chapter 20.42 Tree Cutting
20.42.090 Criteria for Issuance of Permits.

The tree to be removed must meet one of the following criteria in order for a tree cutting application to be approved:

A. Dead, Dying and Dangerous Trees: A tree cutting permit shall be issued if the Urban Forester determines that a tree is dead, dying or dangerous, except as provided by subsection 2 of this section.

1. For the purposes of this section:

a. "Dead" means the tree is lifeless.

b. "Dying" means the tree is in an advanced state of decline because it is diseased, infested by insects or rotting and cannot be saved by reasonable treatment or pruning, or must be removed to prevent spread of the infestation or disease to other trees.

c. "Dangerous" means the condition or location of the tree presents a clear public safety hazard or a foreseeable danger of property damage to an existing structure and such hazard or danger cannot reasonably be alleviated by treatment or pruning.

2. The Urban Forester may require the retention of dead or dying trees located in wetlands, natural areas, stream corridors, parks or open space areas, in order to provide for wildlife habitat and natural processes, unless the tree presents a potential hazard to persons or property.

B. Trees that are not dead, dying or dangerous: A tree cutting permit shall be issued for a tree that is not dead, dying or dangerous if the Urban Forester determines that the following criteria are met:

1. Removal of the tree will not have a significant negative impact on the following:

a. erosion, soil stability, soil structure, flow of surface waters, water quality, health of adjacent trees and understory plants, or existing windbreaks; and

b. the character, aesthetics, property values or property uses of the neighborhood.

2. The city shall require an adequate mitigation plan be submitted according to the requirements of Section 20.42.100 as a condition of approval for the permit, including requiring the submission of a drainage plan if appropriate This mitigation plan may be considered when determining the impacts in subsections B 1 of this Section.

3. Forest Health Reasons: A tree cutting permit shall be issued for a tree that is not dead, dying or dangerous if the Urban Forester determines that the removal of select trees from a forested plot will promote the health of the overall forested plot and meets the requirements of PCC 20.42.090 B 1. Mitigation is not required for any tree permitted to be cut under this subsection.

4. Emergency Permits:

a. The Urban Forester shall issue an emergency tree cutting permit without formal application or payment of a fee if the condition of a tree presents an immediate danger of collapse and if such potential collapse represents a clear and present hazard to persons or property. For purposes of this subsection, "immediate danger of collapse" means that the tree will topple or otherwise fail and cause damage before a tree cutting permit could be obtained through the non-emergency process. "Immediate danger of collapse" does not include hazardous conditions that can be alleviated by pruning or treatment.

b. If an emergency situation arises at a time when the Urban Forester is unavailable, and a significant likelihood exists that the tree will topple or otherwise fail before such officials become available, the tree owner may proceed with removal of the tree to the extent necessary to avoid the immediate hazard. Within seven days after such removal, the tree owner shall apply for a retroactive emergency tree cutting permit. If the evidence and information presented by the tree owner does not justify the emergency tree cutting standards set forth in PCC 20.42.090B the application shall be denied and the tree owner shall be subject to the penalties and to the mitigation requirements of this Chapter.

c. In the event that the City Engineer or the Urban Forester determines that an emergency exists and that the safety of the traveling public or the integrity of a public street and associated improvements may be at imminent risk from any tree on private property, the City Engineer and the Urban Forester may order or effect the removal of the tree without a permit. An emergency for the purpose of this Subsection is an unplanned or non-routine event which, by its nature, requires prompt or immediate action to reduce the risk of injury to persons using public streets, damage to public transportation facilities or loss or use of public transportation facilities. The decision that an emergency exists is not reviewable.