Community Involvement key to Urban Forest Plan

Tigard wins national kudos for forestry plan

By Andy Giegerich Sustainable Business Oregon Editor

The city of Tigard’s urban forestry plan has landed national honors for its “innovative, flexible, and incentive-based approach.”

The city won a National Planning Award from the American Planning Association. The accolade honors communities “that provide lasting values” within their boundaries.

Tigard officials hope to achieve a 40 percent citywide tree canopy by 2047 through its Urban Forestry Code Revisions Project. Tigard currently has 25 percent tree canopy coverage.

The effort could “serve as a model for other U.S. communities seeking to preserve and expand their urban forest and maximize the benefits provided by trees,” said Ann Bagley, who headed the Association’s awards jury.

Tigard launched the effort after a study indicated a 20 percent decline in large native tree groves between 1996 and 2007. A citizens’ committee helped formulate the new code, which requires new development and redevelopment projects to provide certain tree coverage percentages on city lots.

“Planting and preserving the trees that make up our urban forests is about much more than simply beautifying our communities,” said Kenny Asher, Tigard’s community development director, in a release. “Storm water management, heat island reduction, passive cooling, air pollutant control, and carbon sequestration are just some of the environmental benefits naturally provided by trees at much lower cost than engineered solutions.”