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City wins top honor for community planning

The city of Tigard has won the Stanley Cup of community planning.

The city was one of 18 recipients of this year's National Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association.

The award, which was announced Tuesday, is meant to honor the planning programs of communities across the country, which are help “create communities of lasting value throughout the country - and the world,” according to the APA.

The award was given to the city in recognition for changes to its urban forestry code — a grassroots initiative to add more trees to the city’s “urban canopy.”

The city’s urban forest plan aims to have 40 percent of the city covered in trees by 2047. The city currently has about 25 percent coverage.

For years, the city watched as its tree groves were lost to development, but the city worked with developers and citizens to create a new code, which requires developers to provide a certain percentage of tree canopy coverage on its sites, or pay fines in lieu of planting new trees.

“Typical forestry codes often focus on the number of trees or caliper inches per lot area,” APA said in a statement, “but do not take into consideration the growth and maturation of trees. The new code is flexible and incentive-based to help the city achieve its goal of 40 percent citywide tree canopy by 2047 and preserve the community's remaining grove of native trees, without unduly impeding development.”

The incentive-based program makes it possible to preserve existing tree groves while meeting development objectives, APA said.

“For me personally, the success of this project is measured in the relationships that were built, the high quality of the work, and the innovative nature of the results,” said Tom McGuire, Tigard’s assistant community development director. “We are grateful for the citizens who spent countless hours helping us to come up with something that was better than what we could have done on our own.”

The city will be formally recognized at APA's National Planning Conference awards luncheon on April 22, in Atlanta.

For more information on the Urban Forestry Code Revisions Project, visit




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