Portland Heritage Tree Program
Since 1994, the city of Portland has designated over 300 trees as heritage trees because of their significance to the city. The heritage tree designation protects the tree by requiring a permit for pruning or removing the tree. Some of the trees are considered significant due to their history or age, others due to their size or type.
These citizen-nominated heritage trees are located across the city of Portland on both public and private properties. Heritage trees can be identified by the metal plaque affixed to their trunk. The Japanese cedar (Heritage tree #52) shown above grows along the sidewalk next to the Multnomah Arts Center in southwest Portland.
Portland Parks and Recreation makes it easy to learn about these magnificent trees on the Heritage Trees of Portland webpage. There is a downloadable Heritage Tree Guidebook that includes tree location maps and a schedule of best viewing times by species. The Ponderosa pine shown above (Heritage tree #349) grows over 120 feet near Gabriel Park in southwest Portland.
Some of these Heritage trees have been growing here since before Portland was a city. Some were planted to commemorate a special event in the history of the city or memorialize a notable citizen. Due to the historical significance of some of the Portland Heritage Trees, you can learn about the history of Portland through the viewing of these trees. A walking tour guide of ten of the Portland Heritage Trees in downtown can be downloaded from the Heritage Trees of Portland webpage. The guide includes historical photographs of the area, highlighting the changes Portland has undergone over the lifetime of these trees.
There is also an interactive map on the webpage that shows the location of each of the Portland Heritage Trees. Clicking on a dot on the map displays the information about that specific tree, such as the common and scientific names, the site address where it grows, its size, a photograph of the tree, and sometimes even a brief history of the tree.The massive Douglas-fir shown above (Heritage Tree #348) towers over 140 feet above an intersection in southwest Portland.
This valuable local resource makes it easy to learn the unique history of specific local tree specimens as well as to appreciate the awe-inspiring scale of our fully grown trees. If you use the map tool to search for your neighborhood, you just might find a magnificent Portland Heritage tree growing near you.