Save Our State’s Urban Trees from Tree Code Rollback

Governor Kotek’s HPAC proposes overriding tree codes in favor of development.

Governor Kotek’s Housing Production Advisory Council (HPAC) is currently planning to bring forward recommendations that include the overriding of tree codes for plots smaller than 6,000 square feet, which will explicitly allow clear cutting of trees under 48″ diameter, which includes the vast majority of urban trees. This recommendation stands in stark contrast to work taking place throughout the state and nation to increase tree cover as a key tool for growing climate-resilient cities. Read more here.

HPAC has a hearing on Friday, September 29th where this facet of their proposal will be discussed.

We recognize the urgent need for affordable housing, but housing and trees should not be mutually exclusive. Friends of Trees, the Shade Equity Coalition (we’re a member!), and many other environmental organizations around the state believe the proposal is unnecessarily pitting the housing and climate emergencies against one another. Unfortunately, this advisory body in question does not have a representative from the environmental justice sector to speak to shade equity, climate change, and the myriad of benefits urban trees provide to Oregonians. This is our chance to voice our concerns.


Since it is difficult to testify at the hearing itself, please make sure to submit written testimony to: [email protected] and copy [email protected].

Suggested Talking Points from Trees for Life Oregon

At a time of climate crisis, throwing climate- and tree-related regulations out the window is a misguided, short-sighted way to speed up housing construction—and a sure way to guarantee that the state and its cities and towns will be unable to meet their own planned climate and canopy goals.

Many factors affect developers’ ability to build more affordable housing faster. Tree protections are hardly key among them. Portland’s tree code gives developers the option of paying fees to remove trees in lieu of preserving them. Builders have been paying these fees as they do other business expenses, deeming them worth it in order to build more revenue-generating units or a larger single home whose price will more than cover any tree-removal fees they might have paid. Moreover, simply doing away with tree protections will not guarantee that builders will create more affordable housing.

We oppose HPAC’s proposal to essentially override municipal tree codes like Portland’s that took many people many years and much effort to put into place. Tree codes were created to ensure Oregon remains a livable place we can all be proud to live in. The Portland tree code, for one, was in the end strongly influenced by developers and is already weak as is.

We oppose HPAC’s recommendations to erode state and local wetland and environmental zone protections. Such changes will certainly impact trees.

Governor Kotek’s HPAC is proposing to do away with environment regulations that developers have wanted to eliminate for years. When selecting HPAC’s members Governor Kotek did not include broader voices that would reflect the reality that we are facing both a housing and a climate crisis, and that both need to be addressed in an integrated way.

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to let your voice be heard.

Membership has its benefits

Emma & Phoebe
Emma Gray planting with young donor and volunteer, Phoebe (FOT file)

By Emma Gray

Friends of Trees cordially invites one and all to take advantage of our brand new membership benefits! Become a member of Friends of Trees today. Not only do members have the benefit of knowing that they are personally contributing to community well-being through the growth of our urban canopy, but they also reap more tangible rewards.

Most notably, members at the $35 level and above enjoy brand new benefits such as 25% off all Gift Tree dedications for the entire year of their active membership and early entry into our annual spring fruit-tree giveaway! Essentially, if you dedicate only four Gift Trees over the course of a year, not only have you been able to give a unique and thoughtful gift to your loved ones, but you have also supported our Green Space Initiative AND paid for your membership. It’s a win-win-win!

If you want to help Friends of Trees in a more consistent way, consider becoming a member of our Evergreen Circle by establishing a recurring monthly donation of $10 or more per month. Not only do Evergreen Circle members keep us ‘green’ all year long, they get an awesome stainless steel Friends of Trees Klean Kanteen when they set up their recurring donation.

At Friends of Trees, membership has its benefits.

– Gray is former Individual Donor Relations Specialist at Friends of Trees. She’s currently Executive Director of Marathon Education Partners.


Can your company help the environment?

EarthShare Oregon
Friends of Trees is a member of EarthShare Oregon

Threats to our natural world are growing, as are demands on the lands, water, food, energy and other resources people and wildlife need to thrive. As green as Oregon is, it’s simply not enough. We need more people and businesses supporting the environmental movement. EarthShare Oregon is working with Friends of Trees to make that happen.

EarthShare, of which Friends of Trees is a member, engages people at their workplaces to garner new support for environmental endeavors throughout your local community, across Oregon, and around the world.

March 10, 2012 Saum Creek Wetland
Green Space Initiative planters (Chanda Stone)

Friends of Trees’ membership in EarthShare Oregon enables us to reach out to a broad cross–section of the state that might not otherwise learn about our work. This boosts our financial support and helps us build bridges to new volunteers and supporters.

EarthShare Oregon’s workplace and online giving options are easy ways for you to share responsibility for stewarding Oregon’s environmental legacy.

First, check the list of EarthShare’s Business Partners online to see what companies in your industry offer EarthShare.

Then, if you don’t have an EarthShare campaign, get the facts about how easy it is to start one.  Jan Wilson, EarthShare Oregon’s Executive Director, can meet with you, and provide all the information you need to start up your campaign.

To learn more about bringing EarthShare to your workplace, call Jan at 503-223-9015 or email her at [email protected].

Friends of Friends of Trees: The Joinery

By Greg Tudor

Longtime Friends of Trees supporter (and FSC-certified manufacturer) The Joinery consistently sets the bar for sustainable practices, especially in the Portland area, with its biofuel delivery truck, use of 100% wind power offsets, and FSC-certified woods and sustainable purchasing practices. But what really sets The Joinery apart is the company’s creativity—and not just in its amazing pieces of furniture. As a busy woodshop, The Joinery generates quite a bit of sawdust. This much, in fact:

Sawdust production prior to the equipment upgrade

Read More

Hi-Tec Sports opens new US headquarters in Portland, donates $10,000 to Friends of Trees

Hi-Tec Sports donates $10,000 to FOT as it opens new USA headquarters in Portland
Friends of Trees' Scott Fogarty accepts generous donation and money tree from Hi-Tec Sports at June 16 opening of Portland headquarters (Tom Atiyeh)

By Emily Petterson and Anneli Ballard

Hi-Tec Sports, a leading global outdoor footwear and apparel brand, celebrated the grand opening of its new North American Headquarters in Portland, Oregon on June 16 with an event drawing Mayor Sam Adams, officials from Senator Wyden’s office, prominent business people, and the media.  Held in its new downtown Portland location, the event was hosted by Bill Berta, CEO of Hi-Tec Sports USA, and Ed van Wezel, Global CEO of Hi-Tec Sports and son of company founder Frank van Wezel.

The evening event showcased the beautiful Hi-Tec space and provided a glimpse at exciting new product to be launched for Spring 2012.  It kicked off with a welcome from Berta and was followed by comments from Patrick Quinton, the Executive Director of the Portland Development Commission, and Mayor Adams. In his remarks, Mayor Adams welcomed Hi-Tec Sports to Portland. He noted that this city is known as a “living laboratory” for outdoor gear and apparel–the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia Gorge, the Cascade mountain range and the high desert are all in close proximity to Portland.

“Portland is the right city for Hi-Tec and Hi-Tec is clearly the right company for Portland,” Mayor Adams said. “When you look at just a sampling of the companies located in the region, it’s a who’s who in the athletic and outdoor world: Nike, Adidas, Columbia, Icebreaker, Pendleton, Danner/LaCrosse–and I am thrilled to add Hi-Tec to that list.”

“We’re truly privileged to have been welcomed as we have into this community,” said Berta.  “Portland is such a vibrant city in a wonderful state filled with unmatched outdoor enthusiasts.  The location is a natural fit for us and we are looking forward to celebrating our future successes and contributing to those of Portland’s.”

“This year has marked significant change for our company,” noted van Wezel.  “Hi-Tec has invested heavily in an exciting new product line for Spring 2012 coupled with four new offices around the globe to set the foundations for future growth. The new global head office opened in Amsterdam last month and the move to Portland from California comes at a time when the South African subsidiary moves from Johannesburg to Cape Town and the Eastern Europe office is due to open in Prague. It was critical for us to identify the right creative environments that will deliver us continued growth, would inspire our team, and that are located in important gateways to the rest of the world.  I couldn’t be more pleased with our choices.”

Additionally, a gift of $10,000 was presented by Hi-Tec to Portland’s esteemed nonprofit organization, Friends of Trees (FOT) at the event.  Through its Plant It Portland campaign, FOT is spearheading the city’s tree planting effort and has plans to plant a total of 16,000 street trees throughout East Portland neighborhoods over the next three years.  This season alone, FOT planted 4,545 trees, 24 percent more than last year.

“This donation is symbolic to us,” continued Berta.  “We want to show Portland that we are a business that gives back to the community, and planting trees seemed most appropriate, as we too begin to establish our roots here.”

About Hi-Tec Sports

Founded in 1974 by company Chairman Frank van Wezel, and with annual sales exceeding $250 million, Hi-Tec created the lightweight hiking category with the introduction of the Sierra Sneaker and Sierra Lite hiking boot. Today, Hi-Tec remains true to its heritage, offering technical footwear and apparel for outdoor adventure. With over three decades of product and performance technology innovation, Hi-Tec is committed to making rugged, durable products for work, trails and life, authentically inspired by the real outdoor experience.

Hi-Tec Sports USA is a subsidiary of Hi-Tec Sports, PLC, Amsterdam. Hi-Tec products are sold in over 70 countries worldwide. For more information, visit the Hi-Tec web site and  follow us on Facebook and Twitter at twitter/hitecusa.

–Petterson and Ballard work at Lee Weinstein & Associates.