Old News

This is a history (newest --> oldest) of earlier progress toward an urban tree conservation ordinance.

NEWS - 8/27/2009

The final meeting of the Trees Task Force was held on 8/27. There were some last-minute considerations about a variety of exemptions. These were dealt with and, subsequently, Jennifer Hughes compiled a final draft of recommendations for the ordinance. This, along with some additional material, will be presented to the BCC at their 11 am 9/22/2009 Study Session at the Public Services Building, 4th Floor, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City. It is an open public meeting and we urge you to attend. Although you cannot give testimony at this meeting, your presence will reflect how the community supports the tree ordinance.

Click THIS to see the draft that will be presented. Note that this is a draft of the recommendations made by the Task Force, not the language for the final ordinance. The BCC will review the recommendations and decide what steps will be taken to finalize the new tree protection ordinance.

NEWS - 8/20/2009

The next – and, perhaps last – Trees Task Force meeting is set for 8 AM to Noon on Thursday, August 27 in the Development Services Building, 4th Floor, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City.

The flollowing documents were provided to the task force members (and others) by Ellen Rogalin for that meeting:

Agenda for August 27 meeting
Summary of August 13 meeting
Latest edition of the draft ordinance
Chapter 2.07 of the County Zoning Ordinance on the Compliance Hearings Officer
The task force charge and scope
Input from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Input from task force member Bob Murch, who will not be able to attend the August 27 meeting (Ed Riddle will sit in his place).

We encourage you to attend. Typically there is a public comment period in which you can express your views.

And speaking of important meetings, the Board of County Commissioners will meet on September 22 at 11 AM in the Public Services Building, Kaen Road, Oregon City to review the work done by the Trees Task Force. The "product" of the Trees Task Force are a set of recommendations which will then be evaluated by the BCC. Under the direction of the BCC, the county staff will then write the final language of the ordinance.

This is an important meeting, since all the work done by many constituents, including Urban Green, the Trees Task Force, and various local activists will come to a head at that meeting. We urge you to attend and show your support for the new tree conservation ordinance.

NEWS - 8/6/2009

The next meeting of the Trees Task Force is scheduled for 8-11 a.m., Thursday, August 13, in the Development Services Building.

Here are documents sent by Elllen Rogalin, Clackamas County Community Relations Specialist:

Page 1: Draft Purpose Statement
Page 2: Draft Area of Application
Page 3: Draft Exempt Trees
Page 4: Draft Definitions
Page 6: Draft Tree Removal Permit Required
Page 8: Draft Tree Removal Permit Approval Criteria
Page 11: Draft Mitigation for Removed Trees
Page 13: Draft Tree Protection and Maintenance
Page 15: Draft Tree Removal Permit Application Submittal Requirements

NEWS - 7/26/2009

Portland State University recently released(June 2009) its Regional Urban Forestry Assessment and Evaluation for the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area. This is a study was prepared by the Audubon Society of Portland and Portland State University’s Department of Environmental Science and Management with funding from Metro. You can read the entire report HERE.

Here is an excerpt of the findings for Clackamas County, Unincorporated Urban:

"Clackamas County has extensive and detailed comprehensive plan language relating to urban forests and trees under Chapter 3 for "Natural Resources and Energy." Policy 6 for "Forests" calls initiating “a tree conservation and planting program for the northwest urban area to preserve urban forest areas and promote tree landscapes.” Four specific implementation items under this policy include: i. An urban forest inventory; ii. Adoption of tree conservation standards in design review, grading, and subdivision ordinances that minimizes removal of trees and vegetation on undeveloped lands within the urban area; iii Development of a urban street tree planting and maintenance program; and iv. Create of a special review process for commercial timber harvesting within the urban area.

Despite the breadth and specificity of the comprehensive plan policies, the County has yet to implement them, in part due to funding constraints. Outside the recently adopted Title 13 Habitat Conservation Areas and the Willamette Greenway overlay zone, Zoning and Development Ordinances (ZDOs) have limited and nebulous code language relating to tree preservation and protection inside the Metro UGB. The regulations only apply to new single-family subdivisions and no permit is required for tree removal outside a development application. The County’s heritage tree program is entirely voluntary and affords no protection for designated heritage trees. The County has tree-planting requirements for parking lots but only requires street tree planting along a few designated boulevards and in the Sunnyside Village District. Clackamas County is currently undergoing a planning process to adopt more explicit code language governing tree preservation and protection. A recently convened Urban Tree Task Force aims to improve existing ZDOs to better implement urban tree and forest related policies in the Comprehensive Plan (see below).

In September 2008, the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners appointed the 13-member citizen Trees Task Force charged to recommend changes to the ZDOs “to assure that the tree canopy is maintained, preserved and enhanced, by controlling predevelopment tree cutting without prohibiting development. ”The task force is also charged with making other recommendations “to contribute to long-term management of the County’s urban forest reserves.”"

To find out when the next meeting of the Trees Task Force will be, check the OLCC Calendar of Events for August 2009.

NEWS - 7/2/2009

The Trees Task Force has continued to meet throughout the spring and summer. They expect to meet next at 8-11 a.m. on Thursday, July 9, in the County's Development Services Building. The following documents were sent to members for the July 9th meeting:

Agenda, ZDO review procedures, preliminary draft of the tree ordinance (these are proposed sections of the ordinance and are not at all final), meeting topics for July 9, mitigation examples and information, Wilsonville tree code examples.

NEWS - 2/11/2009

Here is a preliminary, revised "charge" for the Trees Task Force from Doug McClain and Jennifer Huges of the County planning department. This will go to the BCC for review.

(This is a PDF file.)

NEWS - 2/3/2009

Task Force Charge to Include Pre-Development Loophole

At the work/study session of February 3, the new 5-member Board of County Commissioners discussed the various options for protecting trees from being clear cut by developers prior to getting a development permit. These developers intentionally bypass tree protection ordinances, taking advantage of this legal loophole.

The BCC decided that closing this loophole is now officially a part of the Trees Task Force (TTF) charge. CCUG commends the Board for adopting a policy that more accurately reflects the real-world threats to our urban tree canopy.

Doug McClain will write up the new charge and deliver it to the TTF before the next meeting. [CCUG will post the document on this website as soon as we get a copy.]

The next meeting of the TTF is scheduled for February 12th, 8 - 10 AM at the County's Development Services Building. It is a public meeting and we encourage everyone to attend.

TTF Documents

These are documents that were distributed to the TTF by Ellen Rogalin (County Staff). They are PDF files that you can read online or download.

Email from Ellen Rogalin to members of the TTF and interested parties.

Agenda for February 12th meeting.

Summary of the January 8 TTF meeting.

Websites recommended to the TTF by TTF member Bob Murch.

Information submitted to the TTF by TTF member Catherine Blosser.

Text of email correspondence between Jennifer Hughes and Brian Knotts at Oregon Department of Forestry.

The Clackamas County zoning development ordinances (ZDOs) related to trees.

NEWS - 1/25/2009

New Clackamas County BCC to Review the Task Force Charge

The new Board of County Commissioners will meet for a study session on Tuesday, February 3 from 2:30 to 3:30 at the Board conference room, 4th floor of the Public Services Building in Oregon City, to reconsider the charge of the Trees Task Force.

Three new commissioners, Jim Bernard, Charlotte Lehan, and Bob Austin replace two commissioners who have moved on, Bill Kennemer and Martha Schrader. The new commission will appoint a 5th commissioner shortly to fill the final seat. We are hoping that the new commission will be more open to protecting our urban tree canopy than the last one and will demonstrate this by including closing the loophole in the task force's charge.

Original Task Force Charge, handed out on December 4, 2008, showing the Charge, Scope, and Timeframe - HERE.

It is meaningless to talk about "maintaining and enhancing the tree canopy" (part of the official charge of the Trees Task Force) if the loophole is left open. Any developer can circumvent existing tree protections (which, frankly, are weak even without the loophole), simply by clear-cutting a property before they apply for a permit. That's no protection at all! How can we take seriously the commissioners' committment to protecting the tree canopy if they insist on leaving the loophole open?

The study meeting is open to the public and anyone can attend and observe the proceedings. Please show your support for urban tree conservation by attending this important meeting!

The next Trees Task Force meeting is scheduled for 8:00 - 10:00 AM, February 12th, in the Development Services building at the Red Soils campus in Oregon City. Please attend if you can, as we want to show our support. There will be time at the end of the meeting for public comment.

NEWS - 12/21/2008

Clackamas County BCC Takes "Closing the Loophole" Off the Table

Back on March 19, 2008, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to form the task force similar to the one that CC Urban Green proposed (or so we thought).

At the first task force meeting, held December 4, 2008, County Planning Director Doug McClain announced that the task force would only deal with "new developments" which, we discover, means that the task force will only deal with issues that arise after building permits are applied for. These would include issues around street trees, mitigation policies, landscaping, and so forth.

All those at the task force meeting who were familiar with the year-long effort by CC Urban Green were astonished.

CC Urban Green's main issue has been "closing the loophole": unless a piece of land is near a stream or other specially protected area, there is no regulation, law, restriction, or mandate that can protect the trees. Someone can buy a piece of land, and, before they apply for a permit to develop the land, they can do whatever they want—no restrictions, no say from the neighborhood, the local community, or the county. Often, clear cutting is done by a person with no personal ties to the neighborhood.

Closing the loophole was taken off the table. This, Mr. McClain said, was a descision made by the county commissioners, even though closing the loophole was at the heart of the entire effort to create a tree conservation ordinance. This is what was voted on at the March 19th meeting, or so we thought.

Please note that the March 19th vote by the BCC was widely reported as an action to close the loophole. For example:
The Oregonian, April 1, 2008

The position UG takes is that the tree canopy is of immeasurable value to the community for a variety of reasons (water conservation, cooling, habitat, CO2 storage, property values, etc.). Closing the tree cutting loophole is the most important change we are trying to achieve with a Tree Conservation Ordinance. That the BCC is failing to close the loophole that allows wanton plundering of this community resource is unconscionable.




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