City Council Approves Tree Code Changes to Preserve Trees in Bend


At its meeting on Thursday, the City Council approved amendments to parts of City codes that regulate the preservation of trees and when they can be removed during development.

“We heard our community’s concerns around how many trees were cut down for larger development projects. Our community has also told us to prioritize building more much-needed housing options,” said Mayor Melanie Kebler. “The updated code strikes a balance, recognizing we want to preserve trees while also continuing to build the homes our community needs within our urban growth boundary. This is just a first step, as the Council will continue to explore additional ways to promote and protect our urban canopy.”

The Council on Thursday also approved adding an arborist position to City staff, as recommended through the Tree Regulation Update Advisory Committee process.

The updated codes will require developers to plant new trees on-site or make a payment in-lieu of preservation if a certain percentage of trees is not preserved on a site as part of a larger development project.

Approved changes generally require a developer to:

  • Preserve 20% of trees that are 20 inches in diameter or larger, or
  • preserve 25% of what is called the total “diameter at breast height” (the measurement of a tree’s diameter measured at 4 ½ feet off the ground) on a site. This means diameters of all trees that have a 6-inch diameter or larger on a development site would be added together, and 25% of that total would need to be preserved, or
  • preserve at least 5% of the total “diameter at breast height” of all trees 6 inches in diameter or greater on a site, and then either plant new trees on site and/or pay the fee in-lieu of preservation.

Development projects on sites that are one acre or less have more flexible standards. At last night’s council meeting Council approved an amendment to exempt all housing projects on sites one acre or less from tree preservation requirements altogether.

The Bend City Council also approved the addition of a discretionary track option for industrial zones. This will allow flexibility for industrial and commercial uses that require large-level sites for building space or outdoor uses.

The updated Tree Code Regulations will also be reviewed annually by the Council to assess the effectiveness of the regulations based on data collected to determine whether or not the regulations are meeting community needs.

The tree regulations go into effect August 16.

In March 2023, the Bend City Council began the process of finding new ways to balance the need to preserve trees with needed housing development. The ad-hoc, temporary Tree Regulation Update Advisory Committee (TRUAC) recommended changes aimed at preserving more trees.

Here is more background on the Tree Regulation code update.

Accommodation Information for People with Disabilities:
To obtain this information in an alternate format such as Braille, large print, electronic formats, etc. please contact Anne Aurand at 541-388-5573 or

Click here for more information.


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

Leave A Reply