“Trees require care and tidying up, so they’re not convenient anywhere, but they are necessary everywhere.”
Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight good comments in order to inspire more of them. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves recognition.
It’s always worth keeping an eye on Scott Kocher, he has a track record of successfully getting the city’s attention on a number of issues. Urban trees, and their importance to cooling the city, have become a focus for him.
We published last week’s post, You have trees to thank for Portland’s cool streets, a year after the deadly “heat dome” killed 72 people in Multnomah County, many in east Portland which has the most anemic tree canopy in the city.
Scott was ready with some code changes in response. We’ve added a couple of images to illustrate his points. Here is what he wrote:
My observations are that new development routinely allows other competing uses (utility poles, underground utility vaults, on-street parking, etc) to supersede the “required” number of street trees planted, resulting in few or even no trees along many frontages that are now being redeveloped. And, current tree code limits the places trees must be considered for planting, and the size of allowable trees. 25′ canopies are now the max for most species allowed in 3′ planting strips.
Replacing a huge old tree with a miniature species results in net loss. I would like to see the tree code amended to require at least consideration of curb zones and medians for street tree plantings, for existing and new development. While future bike lanes, or underground utilities make this impossible some places, there are many other places where large-form trees could be planted in large wells, including East Portland streets that have no curbs.
Trees require care and tidying up, so they’re not convenient anywhere, but they are necessary everywhere.
Thank you Scott! You can read Scott’s comment, and the full comment thread, under the original article.
(Disclosure: Kocher is a Portland-based attorney and safety advocate, and his law firm, Forum Law Group, is a financial supporter of BikePortland.)
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.