2015 Street Tree Inventory Report Published!

After a 3 seasons of neighbors and community members gathering together to learn more about the state of our streets, with hopes of addressing  dreams of beautification, safety, and investment in our public spaces – The Montavilla Street Tree Inventory report is out!

It is freely available here:


A visual map of all the trees is available here:


Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 2.00.14 PMThere are a number of interesting facts revealed in our research collection. Tree canopy covers 17% of Montavilla streets, well below Portland’s city-wide canopy level of 29%. Currently 90% of all street trees in Montavilla are in great health, but 1/3rd are at risk due to specific pests in our area.

The replacement cost of Montavilla’s street tree population is valued at $16,282,534 million, and our trees provide $494,156 annually in environmental services (air quality improvement, water retention in floods, energy reduction due to shade, etc) and aesthetic benefits.

If you have not been in touch with Portland’s Friends of Trees and are interested in planting a tree in front of your property, contact them. They have great deals on trees and planting knowledge, so your tree is sized appropriately for your space and our urban forest grows in species diversity.

Also we are meeting to develop a plan tot address future street tree needs for Montavilla this Saturday. You can register to join us for this event here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dnjUxyV9Tt0pYEQTsJThGY1KhRYo-7l5rtRpUju16kA/viewform


Budding Map Makers!

ImageProxyOver the last month Urban Forestry has hosted data entry volunteers, who are taking the umpteen sheets of street tree data collected by Montavilla Tree Buds this summer and putting them into a graphic electronic database. This information will be used to construct maps that will help up better understand where and what is needed to maintain and improve our public lands. All of this data will be public and fully accessible, so you can see what species are on your block and visualize the amazing diversity of trees we recorded in the hood. Pretty exciting!

Want to join the data entry team?

Data entry shifts are available Monday – Friday from 7 am – 3:30 pm at the Urban Forestry office, located at  10910 N Denver Avenue. If you have basic skills in ArcGIS that’s great. If not, staff or volunteers can train you if you commit a number of hours to volunteering. Data entry ends October 9th, 2015.

Contact us or Urban Forestry directly to get involved. 


Be a Bud: Last Major Volunteer Event!

Last chance to “Be a Bud” this summer is Saturday August 8th, 2015.

Meet 8:30 AM at the Southgate Masonic Lodge, 202 Southeast 84th Avenue

Our very own Country Cat is co-sponsoring the event – YUM!

Montavilla is one of the largest neighborhoods in Portland. Our progress mapping all the street trees has been unbelievable! With 3 workdays and roughly 30 volunteers, we inventoried the majority of our street trees. Only 1 volunteer workday to complete this massive project!

The diversity of plant life we have noticed in the hood is astonishing. Friends of Trees definitely helped our neighborhood in this realm, so most of our young trees will mature into the perfect size and spacing for street locations, which reduces maintenance, safety issues, sidewalk repairs, neighbor conflict, etc. Yeh, Montavilla!

Don’t forget to put our last neighbor event on your calendar and join your neighbors!

Be a Bud this Saturday August 8th 2015!

Cool Misty Morning with Neighbors

Today was day 3 of our monumental 4 day volunteer-driven street tree inventory. Most of the morning was pleasantly cool, following many weeks of extreme heat. I am pretty sure the trees perked up to be measured this morning in the mist.

Today Tree Buds noted a few particularly happy tree species.

The Evergreen Oregon Myrtle/California Laurel tree were glossy and gorgeous. Crush their leaves for a wonderful bay smell, and, yes, you can cook with this native. You will need a wider strip to plant one because the base of the trunk get very wide. They are a great shorter tree for a curb with overhead power lines.

aspenHarlequin Glory Bower was a real show stopper. Crush the leaves, and you will smell peanut butter. Its white flowers are sweet and fragrant right now. In fall, they bare bright blue fruits surrounded by fuchsia bracts (featured image above). However, if you decide to plant one, be ready to care for it regularly for a couple years because it needs a lot of water to get started.

A few volunteers found a gorgeous young Aspen (Pictured to left!). People stopped planting them in Portland because stock suffered from a fungal / black spot disease in the winter, but clones from Northern Idaho are available today. If you are a fan of white barked trees and fall color, this tree requires a lot of water and maintenance. You will need a root barrier (as with bamboo) to contain root suckers and protect sewer lines. Root suckers can sprout withing 30 feet of the main tree. Also never plant it under a power line It grows tall and fast!

We were also met by numerous neighbors with concerns:

  • Public Right of Way increasingly absorbed by neighbors and commercial businesses.
    • Fencing unimproved streets, despite clear corner markers and main utility lines underground.
    • Trees planted in sidewalk area in front of random lots without sidewalks forcing pedestrians and kids into street.
    • Fences run to the curb crossing sidewalk to prevent walkers in public right of way.
    • Intentional over-planting with large trees to block public right of way in front of homes with missing tracts of sidewalk.
  • Planting over-sized trees on property boundaries that raise a neighbors’ sidewalk.
  • Trees planted years ago by previous owners, that are too large for narrow spaces. Current property owners feel threatened by the new tree code requiring a paid permit to remove, costly tree services to pull out, and inability to replace the tree financially. These property owners shared that they repave sidewalks repeatedly, due to the high cost and trouble of removal. They were upset by volunteers collecting data on curb width and tree species, due to concerns that the the City would force removal/replacement with fines one they had data.

If you have these concerns you are not alone. These issues have been repeated each workday. Yes, some of the canopy in the public right of way is not entirely healthy. Yes, issues above present safety issues now and into future.

There are public channels to address code/safety/right of way issues. The Tree Buds aren’t that channel, but we will be drawing up a neighborhood tree plan this winter with the City in an effort to attract funding and improve tree care education, to improve our canopy via voluntary action, because a healthy tree canopy has massive benefits.

The Tree Buds are happy to point you in the right direction with concerns and invite input. If your interest is piqued by this post, please shoot us an email or drop your questions below.

Last 2 volunteer opportunities!

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 7.26.20 AMThe Montavilla Tree Buds and Portland Parks & Rec have jointly undertaken the monumental task of inventorying all the street trees in Montavilla to develop a neighborhood urban forestry conservation and development plan and garner funding for street beautification.

We hope that you will join us for one of the last 2 events this summer, as we wrap things up. No experience is necessary. We will pair you will a neighbor who has been trained in tree identification, and you will help them measure and document health condition. It’s a great chance to take a walk around the hood and take notice of the beautify you might normally overlook. We provide a continental breakfast for volunteers (typically coffee, tea, fruit, and breads) and liquids while you work.

Meet your neighbors and come on out! See our calendar for details on how to register.


Join us for Workday 2 of 4!

Hello future Bud!

We are recruiting for local volunteers and would love to connect more neighbors at this neighborhood event.

No experience is necessary. Novice volunteers will be paired with a trained Team Leader. Together, information is collected on tree species, size, health, and site conditions. (details, what we will train you to see)

Tree Inventory Workday 2 of 4
When: Wed, July 8, 4:30pm – 8:00pm
Where: Southgate Masonic Lodge, 202 Southeast 84th Avenue (map)

Advanced volunteer registration is requested, so we can log volunteer hours and record local support for increased urban forestry funding in our neighborhood.


Online: Register on the Portland Parks & Rec website: https://apm.activecommunities.com/portlandparks for activity # 1034891

Call: (503) 823-2525, Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm.