Growth Rings

Proposed budget cuts to impact tree maintenance

Posted on January 25, 2010 at 9:37 am
Elm Trees - Portland, Oregon

Proposed Portland Parks & Recreation budget cuts would eliminate one year of disease protection for some of Portland's elm trees, growing the treatment cycle to every four years. (John Murden)

Last Thursday in the Lovejoy Room at city hall, the Urban Forestry Commission was briefed on almost $250,000 in proposed tree-related budget cuts facing the Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R).

As stated in a letter written by parks director Zari Santner that outlines all of the cuts, PP&R is prepared to cut four percent of its annual budget, or $1.7 million, as directed by the city council.

The tree-related cuts would impact tree maintenance, natural area restoration and disease protection:

  • Maintenance – Trees
    Reductions: $81,000. (One full-time permanent position) A reduction of one of eight Tree Inspectors will impact the ability for code compliance and permits to be accomplished at the current response level. Responses to tree planting and permitting, tree care and emergency responses will be deferred and response times to citizen tree calls will be delayed.
  • Maintenance – Natural Areas and Trails
    Reduction: $105,000. Eliminates funding for contractual restoration work through the Bureau of Environmental Services Re-vegetation Unit. Restoration work on the most degraded sites will cease, likely causing them to regress, and emphasis will be put on maintaining and improving less degraded sites which require less investment per acre treated.
  • Maintenance – Trees
    Reductions: $62,500. Eliminates one year of Arbortect treatment for Portland’s elm program. This one-time elimination, or prolonging treatment by one year, will only marginally increase the risk of the disease spreading.

Portland Commissioner Nick Fish has final approval of the budget before it is presented to the entire city council. Nick Fish: 503-823-3589,

–Toshio Suzuki

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