Portland Parks’ fall tree giveaway is underway

Act now, if you want a free yard tree, or two, just right for yards in outer East Portland. Find out all about it, right here …

These trees, valued at about $100 each, will be given free to residents at event in the Lents neighborhood, and at other locations – but yours must be reserved now.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Again this year, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Urban Forestry section has rounded up, and is ready to give away, yard trees for Portland residents. Lots of trees!

There is a catch: You must register and reserve your trees now, before they’re all spoken for. See below for a direct link, at the end of this article, to their program website.

And, unlike Friends of Trees programs, these trees are for “take-out only”; you need to transport them (in most cases), and plant them yourself.

Checking on the trees awaiting their new, “forever home” in someone’s yard, is PP&R Urban Forestry Community Tree Planting Specialist Molly Wilson.

“We’ve been getting ready for this, our fourth year of the program, because we’re giving away 1,200 trees, up from 750 last year – this is the most we have ever given away,” remarked PP&R Urban Forestry Community Tree Planting Specialist Molly Wilson, as she checked out newly-delivered trees to their yard in Southeast Portland.

“This year, there are 20 different species to choose from, with most of them being large growing evergreen or native trees,” Wilson told East Portland News.

Why give away trees for free?
“Planting trees in yards keeps us and our homes cool during the hottest months, and helps collect storm water during the winter,” Wilson pointed out. “They also clean the air, buffer noise, reduce crime, and improve our health – and, on top of all of that – they provide year round beauty!

“By the way, if a homeowner has the appropriate space, we’re encouraging people to take home the tall-growing fir trees; they’re really good for our environment in many different ways,” Wilson said.

Eligibility for receiving trees include:

  • Trees must be planted within City of Portland corporate boundaries
  • Limit of two trees per household
  • Trees are for planting on private property in front, side, or back yards (trees may not be planted in containers, or by the sidewalk as street trees)
  • Trees are not to be used to fulfill “planting permit” requirements


Portland Parks & Recreation Horticulturist Guyton Powell looks at trees, all “just right for someone’s yard”.

All ‘drive-thru’ events
However, unlike in past years where PP&R hosted tree selection information and planting seminars at their giveaway sites, this year due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns these will be no-contact events set up for participants to “drive through and load”, and be on their way. Their staff will set out the trees and mulch, but will not be able to help load trees in vehicles this year.

“In certain circumstances, we are offering free delivery for people who live in the Hazelwood and Mill Park neighborhoods,” Wilson pointed out.

Get on the ‘left-overs’ list
“Even though one must preregister, we assume some people won’t be able to show up to pick up their tree or trees,” informed Wilson. “So, after the event, there’s still the possibility of getting one. We will put those unclaimed trees back into our ‘tree inventory spreadsheets’, and will put people on our waiting list. Should the trees they desire come back inventory, we will contact them.”

Act now, if you want to “spruce” up your yard with a free tree.

While free to East Portland residents, the average purchase price of trees like these at a nursery would be about $100 each. The program is funded through Portland’s Tree Planting Mitigation Fund. “When trees come down, often during development, the developer can choose to replant, or to pay into this fund; PP&R uses this money to replant trees where they are needed most,” said Wilson.

There will be four (4) pick up events – from late September through November 7.

To see the requirements of this program, and to sign up, CLICK HERE. Do it now!

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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