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Indoor and outdoor sessions offer updates on how to comply with revised regulations



REVIEW PHOTO: ANTHONY MACUK - Code Enforcement Specialist Bill Youngblood demonstrates how to measure the size of a tree during a City-sponsored workshop last week. Trees greater than 12 inches in diameter now require a Type II permit for removal.City staff hosted a tree protection and removal workshop last week designed to bring the public up to speed on changes that were implemented in Lake Oswego’s updated Tree Code over the summer.

The revisions, which were the product of a yearlong effort by the city’s ad-hoc Tree Code Committee to simplify the regulations, took effect just over a month ago. Indoor and outdoor sessions at the Sept. 15 workshop included measuring tree diameter, tree protection fencing, techniques for protecting trees during construction and more.

Morgan Holen, the city’s contract arborist, said the biggest change she’s seen since the new rules took effect is an increase in the number of dead-tree removal permits, thanks to an expanded definition that adds trees in an “irreversible decline” to those that are already dead.

“The definition is more flexible,” she told The Review. “I think that’s a really good improvement.”

Holen outlined the various types of removal permits for the 16 workshop attendees, explaining how the criteria had been altered by the code update. Some permits now need to include an evaluation by a certified arborist, and city staff recommended using isa-arbor.com to search for nearby professionals.

Presenters also discussed the need for tree protection during construction projects, offering various techniques to preserve trees and their roots. Protection measures include metal fencing to cordon off a safe zone around the tree, and signage to make sure the tree isn’t damaged by accident.

Another change in the new Tree Code allows for conditional protection plans that can be tailored to fit the needs of specific trees.

“These (protection measures) can really work,” said Code Enforcement Specialist Bill Youngblood. “Trees can now survive construction that might otherwise kill them.”

There were some questions from the audience about the criteria for certain tree permits, particularly the “significant tree” criteria for Type II permits. The code prevents removal of significant trees, and that definition was expanded by the Tree Code committee to include “a healthy, non-invasive tree over 15 inches (in diameter), considered significant to the neighborhood due to size, species or distinctive character, or the only remaining tree on the property.”

Holen stressed the importance of community feedback on the city's website as a way to help staff make decisions regarding the significance of trees; comments from neighbors can help clarify the tree’s significance to the neighborhood, she said.

Staff also discussed the city’s new web page for tree-removal permits — ci.oswego.or.us/trees — which has been upgraded to be a “one-stop shop” for information, permit applications and even filing appeals against pending applications. Youngblood said some of the finer details are still being ironed out, but the website now includes most of the functionality requested by the Tree Code Committee.

“That’s something the neighborhood associations have been asking for," he said, "for quite some time.”

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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