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Welcome to Hillsboro's Digital Newsroom! Here you will find Hillsboro's latest news and announcements. If you are a member of the media and need additional assistance, please contact us at 503-681-6100.

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What Property Owners Need to Know About Hillsboro’s Public Tree Care Requirements

Post Date:11/21/2018

The City of Hillsboro’s community trees benefit both people and the environment by providing cooling shade in the summer and spectacular fall colors. With these benefits also comes the need for maintenance to ensure trees remain healthy, drivers have unobstructed sight lines, trucks and equipment can provide services, and pedestrians and bicyclists and can utilize sidewalks and streets.

The upgraded tree care standards adopted by the Hillsboro City Council on November 6, 2018 align the City’s municipal code with core standards of sound urban forestry management and allow the City to apply for Tree City USA status. Achieving Tree City USA status was made a 2018 Council priority after being listed as a specific action item in Hillsboro’s 2020 Plan and Hillsboro’s Vision 2035 Community Plan.

“We had an implementation date in our community plan of 2020 or later,” stated Councilor Anthony Martin during the November 6 meeting. “This is one of those areas that we can say we delivered faster than we expected. I am really happy to hear all the support that we got from the community too.”

The amended code approved by the City Council further clarifies property owner and City of Hillsboro responsibilities for public trees located between the property line and the back of a curb or the edge of pavement (public right-of-way). The requirements include:

Activity

Public Tree Care Requirements

Responsibility

Effective Date

Tree and Vegetation Trimming

Trim or remove any vegetation — including trees — within or extending over the street, interfering with the use of the sidewalk or roadway, or obstructing a driver’s view.

Property Owner

Currently in Effect

Tree and Vegetation Trimming

Trim or remove any tree limbs or other vegetation (including bushes) that extend into the sidewalk clear zone.

 

The sidewalk clear zone is defined as eight feet above the surface of the sidewalk or walkway for the entire width of the surface (refer to diagram below).

Property Owner

Currently in Effect

Tree and Vegetation Trimming

Trim or remove any tree limbs or other vegetation (including bushes) that extend into the roadway clear zone.

 

The Roadway Clear Zone is defined currently as *13 feet above the surface of the roadway and begins at the curb line or, in cases where there is not a curb, the edge of pavement (refer to diagram below).

 

*On January 1, 2020, the Hillsboro Municipal Code will require a 15 foot roadway clear zone. In preparation for this height increase, property owners are encouraged now to trim their trees and vegetation to this height.

Property Owner

January 1, 2020

Tree and Vegetation Trimming The City of Hillsboro will continue to retain the authority to trim or remove any public trees and vegetation that could affect public safety or the use of sidewalks or roadways.

 

City of Hillsboro

Currently in Effect

Tree Health

Maintaining trees in good health, including watering, pruning, and protecting against damage and disease.

 

Property Owner

Currently in Effect

 Tree Health

Maintain public trees in medians, islands, and roundabouts located within the public right-of-way, which are not required to be maintained by the abutting (adjacent) property owner.

City of Hillsboro

Currently in Effect

Tree Planting, Major Pruning, or Removal

Obtaining a free General Right-of-Way Permit from the City of Hillsboro before planting, major pruning, or removing a tree within the public right-of-way.

Property Owner

Currently in Effect

Tree Planting, Major Pruning, or Removal

Plant, prune, or remove trees on public land, which when practical should be done in accordance with tree care standards.

City of Hillsboro

Currently in Effect

Tree Replacement

Effective December 6, 2018, replacing removed trees in accordance with the City of Hillsboro’s Design Standards. Section 700 applies to all landscaping placed within the public right-of-way.

Property Owner

December 6, 2018

Tree Care Clear Zone Diagram One of the new revisions to the newly adopted and amended code increases the minimum clearance of overhanging trees and vegetation from 13 to 15 feet above the roadway.

The goal of the increased street height clearance – previously 13 feet – is to eliminate contact between large vehicles and street trees resulting in less damage to trees, improve overall tree health, and less damage to large vehicles, such as waste-hauler trucks, RVs, school buses, as well as City maintenance vehicles and equipment.

Trimming trees so that the minimum clearance of an overhanging portion is eight feet above the sidewalk remains in effect.

Additional Resources

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