Category Archives: Parks & Recreation

Benefits of planting trees in our yards and planting strips

By Catherine Clark

The Roseway neighborhood is considered a low tree canopy neighborhood after analysis of street tree inventory data collected by Urban Forestry staff and volunteers in 2015. Although neighbors have planted many trees in the intervening years, we have a lot of open space in parking strips and yards we could fill with more trees. Our street trees are dominated by maples, cherries and plums and the lack of species diversity leaves our urban forest vulnerable to pests and diseases. 

In addition to their aesthetic value, trees provide a lot of measurable benefits to our neighborhood. Mature trees produce enough oxygen per year to support two people, and remove carbon dioxide and other air pollutants from the atmosphere.  Trees are also important in improving our water quality by intercepting stormwater runoff and reducing the flow to sewer systems. Research has shown that mature tree canopies provide social welfare benefits as they are associated with better health outcomes, and increased community engagement.

Why we need more trees

Trees and plants reflect sunlight and also release moisture through evapotranspiration. This helps cool the environment, and trees planted near homes can reduce the use of air conditioning by up to 30%. The shade and cooling reduce energy use and thus lead to a decrease in release of greenhouse gases, and improved air quality. Neighborhoods that lack canopy cover and parks become hotter, and so more dangerous during heat waves. The great majority of Portland’s population is found east of the Willamette River. Tree canopy cover is approximately 20% on our side of the river, and this rate is lower than that found in New York or Los Angeles.  The east side of Portland lacks the parks and natural areas like Forest Park that reduce heat accumulation. Westside neighborhoods have more than twice the tree cover found on the east side. 

Portland State University researchers have been working with government and community organizations to study the relationship between tree cover and heat in the environment. They mapped temperatures throughout Portland and show a correlation between increased heat and lack of trees and presence of impermeable surfaces like roads and buildings. They identified urban heat islands throughout east-side Portland, and particularly in far east Portland neighborhoods with very low tree canopy. Heat-related deaths from the ‘Heat Dome’ this past summer were concentrated in neighborhoods with low tree cover (

Why we should prioritize planting native trees

Oregon native trees are adapted to local conditions including summer drought, soils and temperatures ( 

Native trees provide food and shelter for wildlife such as birds and butterflies, and support for local pollinators. Oregon white oak is the only native oak species found in northern Oregon and it provides critical habitat for a number of endangered species. A major food source for nesting birds comes from the over 500 species of caterpillars that can live on oak trees.

We derive the greatest benefit by planting large-form trees such as Oregon white oak, Western red cedar and Douglas-fir. Other large-form native trees include Western hemlock, Ponderosa pine and Red alder.  Vine maple, Cascara and Western crabapple are great trees for smaller spaces. You can find more information about native trees from the Audubon Backyard Habitat Program ( and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) (

We are fortunate in Portland to have local government and non-profit organizations that can help us get trees for our properties and provide relevant information. Portland Urban Forestry has been offering free yard trees to Portlanders for the last few years through the Yard Tree Giveaway ( Although all of their trees are spoken for this year, you can sign up for notifications regarding next year’s giveaway. Friends of Trees (, a non-profit, partners with local municipalities to plant street and yard trees for $35 or less. That cost includes the tree, transport to your home, and planting by trained volunteers. Finally, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services offers a one-time credit on your water, sewer and stormwater bill for a tree planted in your yard through the Treebate program ( I hope this will inspire you to plant more trees!

A New Look for Glenhaven Park

Portland voters passed a bond measure to upgrade and replace some of our parks. Glenhaven Park is in line for a face-lift this spring and summer. Click here for a  look at what’s ahead.

Below are notes about the project taken from the recent RNA meeting:

1. What will be dates and level of impact on which streets for parking, walking? Construction is to run from May/June 2019 to November 2019. NE Siskiyou will be the main contractor access with a single construction entrance. The public way and sidewalk will remain open during construction, material/equipment storage in the street is generally not allowed unless arrangements are made with Portland Bureau of Transportation. Parking is available in designated on street parking areas and within the construction site as needed. The contractor will be asked to limit their parking to the park side only, trying not to park in front of residences as best as possible.

2. What will hours and days be of noise impact? City code governs work hours  which are from 7AM to 6PM. Typically contractors will work from 7AM to 3:30-4PM (M-F).  Any weekend hours must be informed in advance.

3. What will impacts be on facilities (i.e. impacts to the park amenities like fields, tennis courts, bathrooms)? All play area facilities will be unavailable during construction. Softball, baseball, lawn field, and skatespot remain open through construction. Access from the west entry near NE 78th will likely be closed for the duration of the project- it is suggested to enter the park from NE 77th + Alameda for tennis court and softball field access. The contractor will arrange for temporary access from the east entry near NE 80th up to the baseball field for the beginning of the project. Restrooms will remain open unless water connections need to be made. The restrooms will be closed for short periods. A temporary wood chip path will be installed from at minimum the baseball diamond to the restroom, and potentially to connect to the path to the tennis courts, as materials allow. The pathway will serve as a durable surface to walk on, but may not be fully ADA accessible. Tennis courts, at this time are planned to be open and available,  however the parks bureau is looking at tennis court repairs in several locations, Glenhaven is one of those locations. If chosen, construction would also be this summer, but that project is based on funding.

Roseway Tree Walk

Thanks for your interest in Urban Forestry’s Feb. 25th event! Please read the event details below, and complete the registration form for each person who will attend.

Join Jim Gersbach from Urban Forestry and Catherine Clark from the Roseway Tree Team for an interesting and informative tree walk along the NE 72nd Avenue park blocks. Throughout the walk, they will be highlighting the benefits and beauty of conifers and broadleaf evergreens, along with other new deciduous trees in the blocks. Jim and Catherine will share the history of the blocks, with a focus on new plantings. Our urban tree canopy provides important ecosystem services, such as:

• Mitigating storm-water runoff
• Improving air quality
• Producing oxygen
• Reducing heating and cooling costs
• Providing habitat and food for wildlife

Mature trees are also associated with improved health and social outcomes. Evergreen trees provide these benefits year-round, and are additionally important in providing winter shelter for urban wildlife.

Despite the advantages of evergreens, a recently completed street tree inventory carried out by Urban Forestry and thousands of volunteers shows that in developed parts of the city, 90% to 98% or more of the street trees are deciduous, and the majority of these are small or medium size. Many of the new trees planted on the park blocks will attain very large size, thus contributing more benefits than smaller trees. Other trees recently planted on the Roseway park blocks are flowering trees with late spring or summer bloom times. This later blooming period extends the availability of nectar for pollinators. Other trees were planted to provide seeds and nuts relished by birds, squirrels, and other animals that share our urban environment.

Join us as we explore the exciting new large-canopy, pollinator-friendly and evergreen trees in Roseway.

When: 9:30 – 11:30 am on Saturday Feb. 25th, 2017
Location: Meet at Ira’s Deli | 7215 NE Prescott St.

9:30 am – 10 am: Register, sign in, have a cup of coffee
10 am – 11:30 am: Walk & Talk with Jim Gersbach and Catherine Clark

Find us at Ira’s Deli, where we will have coffee and snacks waiting. We will be out rain or shine! We recommend long pants and long sleeves, sturdy shoes and a rain/sunhat and bring a backpack, rain gear and water bottle. Instruction, coffee, water and snacks will be provided.

Mason Wordell
Portland Parks & Recreation | Urban Forestry
Tel: 503-201-3133

For more information on Urban Forestry –

Sign Up Below

Tree Inventory

Walking around your neighborhood, do you see spaces to plant a tree, street trees in need of maintenance, and neighbors who are concerned about their trees but don’t know where to begin? Through the Tree Inventory Project, Urban Forestry is helping Portlanders take action to improve their community’s street trees, one neighborhood at a time. Here’s a link for more info.

Volunteers are guided by Urban Forestry staff, who provide training, tools, and event organization. Together, information is collected on tree species, size, health, site conditions, and available planting spaces. Data are analyzed by Urban Forestry staff, and findings are presented to neighborhood stakeholders at an annual Tree Summit  at the end of the season in November. At the summit, neighborhood groups begin developing tree plans: They form a working neighborhood tree group and set achievable strategies to improve existing trees, expand tree canopy, and connect the neighborhood with city and nonprofit resources.

More than just producing data and a tree plan, this project brings communities together. Participating in the tree inventory project is a great way to meet your neighbors and connect with others who value our green resources!

Our Roseway inventory dates are:
Roseway 6/20/2015 Saturday 8:30 am – noon 1034909
Roseway 7/1/2015 Wednesday 4:30 – 8:00 pm 1034910
Roseway 7/25/2015 Saturday 8:30 am – noon 1034911
Roseway 8/29/2015 Saturday 8:30 am – noon 1034912

Contact the Roseway Coordinator:

Parks and Rec