Draft of an
Urban Tree Conservation Ordinance

A preliminary draft of an Urban Tree Conservation Ordinance is available HERE (PDF).

Note: this draft is proposed as a model for a tree conservation ordinance. The tree conservation task force will propose the final language for an ordinance for consideration by the Board of Ccunty Commissioners.

Brief Overview Of the Model Ordinance

  • Our tree ordinance applies to commercial and industrial property, as well as residential property that can be partitioned or subdivided.

  • It does not apply to single-family dwelling properties that cannot be further subdivided.

  • It only applies to unincorporated areas within the Urban Growth Boundary (not to the cities or the county at large).

  • It has rules and regulations that address tree removal and the establishment of protected “heritage trees”. These would be integrated into the existing planning and development permit requirements.

  • It includes related changes to the Zoning and Development Ordinances, including enforcement penalties that would be levied if tree cutting occurs prior to the permit application.

Our Tree Conservation Ordinance is consistent with:

  • Clackamas County Comprehensive Plan

  • Complete Communities recommendations

  • Statewide Planning Goal #5 (implementing green space and habitat protection in the urban growth areas)

  • The Development Standards within the County Zoning and Development Ordinance (ZDO)

  • Implementation of the County's Sustainability Goals

This list demonstrates that the model Urban Tree Conservation Ordinance supports all development responsibilities the county is mandated to implement.

Citizen Task Force

On March 19, 2008, the BCC voted unanimously to form the task force, similar to the model that CC Urban Green proposed. This is Urban Green's original recommendation for the mission of the citizen task force:

Through an open and transparent public process, the task force will do the following:

  1. Recommend to the BCC a tree conservation ordinance for lands within the UGB of the unincorporated area of the county.

  2. Recommend to the BCC changes to the ZDO necessary to support and enforce the tree conservation ordinance.

  3. Recommend to the BCC a plan for the long-term management of the County’s urban forest ecosystems and the evolution of the tree conservation ordinance(s). 

We recommend that the task force consist of approximately 15 people, balanced in the representation of all interested stakeholders, including people with relevant tree and urban ecosystem expertise. The deliberation process would invite open participation of any and all Clackamas County citizens, and would consider in their review all previously generated research (e.g. from the 2002 Complete Communities Environmental Implementation Working Group), existing ordinances, rules and governance structures in other jurisdictions, and the relevant research and testimony brought to the task force by participating organizations and citizens.


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