By Chelsea Kopta
PORTLAND, Ore. — Thinking about chopping down trees in your yard? You may want to put down those trimmers. In Portland, new rules are kicking in Friday and, if you don't follow them, you could be on the hook for hefty fines.
The city's tree code is more than 100 pages long and may require permits for everything from pruning and planting to chopping. Forgoing the rules could cost you $1,000 a day, per tree (see page 77 of the hyperlink).
"They're not perfect, but I think it raises awareness," said Greg Schifsky, a former Portland landscape contractor and tree climber.
Schifsky was part of a neighborhood group that spearheaded efforts several years ago to strengthen and streamline Portland's previously cumbersome and complex tree-cutting rules. He felt they didn't do enough to protect Portland's trees.
"I just noticed the cutting down willy-nilly of our big significant trees," Schifsky said.
He continued, "We were not alone. People all over this city were alarmed by the disappearance of our significant trees."
It took several years but Schifsky believes those efforts are beginning to pay off with the implementation of the new rules.
"We can't just take (trees) for granted anymore because they provide so many benefits for us physically, scientifically, aesthetically, psychologically," Schifsky said. "Trees are incredibly beneficial."
Some homeowners are adamantly against the new rules, in many cases, arguing that the city is taking away their personal property rights. None of those homeowners wanted to comment on camera Thursday.