Monday, December 13, 2010

Does Sabin need a street tree inventory?

Walking around your neighborhood, do you see areas available for tree planting, street trees in need of maintenance, and neighbors who are concerned but don't know where to begin? Urban Forestry is helping Portlanders take action to improve their community's street trees by conducting tree inventories and creating Neighborhood Stewardship Plans.
Active community groups interested in the cause begin by gathering volunteers to help conduct a street tree inventory. Volunteers are guided by Urban Forestry staff, who provide training, tools, and event organization. Together, information is collected on tree species, size, health, site conditions, and available planting spaces. Data is analyzed by Urban Forestry staff, and findings are presented to neighborhood stakeholders. Achievable strategies are set by the collective body to improve existing trees, identify opportunities for an expanding tree canopy, and connect the neighborhood with city and nonprofit resources. The result is a Neighborhood Stewardship Plan. The plan identifies the current status and health of neighborhood street trees and provides recommendations for neighborhood action. This final product serves as a catalyst for neighborhood implementation.

Why inventory your street trees?
There are many reasons why a group should consider inventorying trees in their neighborhood. Each tree inventory is customized to capture the requested data and to meet the goals of the group. While your group may already have a few goals in mind, Urban Forestry will help solidify goals early in the process to ensure that the appropriate data is collected, propose a practical timeline, and staff appropriately.

A tree inventory can help your group meet the following goals:
  • Determine the location, species, size, and health of trees
  • Identify locations to plant new trees
  • Increase awareness of the important role trees play in making urban environments more livable
  • Engage residents to help care for and protect existing trees
  • Develop a Neighborhood Stewardship Plan
  • Forge a partnership with Urban Forestry
Following a tree inventory, each requesting group receives the following:
  • Custom site maps and excel sheets illustrating the findings
  • Detailed analysis addressing the goals and recommended next steps
  • Urban Forestry pledges to continue working with your group to meet their tree goals through the creation of a Neighborhood Stewardship Plan
Tree inventories are designed to be fun and educational community events. Requesting groups are expected to recruit volunteers to help on the day(s) of the inventory. Most neighborhood tree inventories take place on Saturdays from 8:30 AM-noon. No experience is necessary. Volunteers are paired with a staff member, experienced tree inventory volunteer or Neighborhood Tree Steward.

How can I conduct an inventory in my neighborhood?
Interested in an inventory and Neighborhood Stewardship Plan? Urban Forestry is currently seeking communities interested in conducting their own project. In 2011, four communities will be selected to conduct an inventory. To apply, submit a short application by January 7, 2011. Find the application at Portland Tree Inventory Project.

This project is supported by a grant from the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and PP&R Urban Forestry.

Contact Angie DiSalvo at

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