Eugene, OR (January 28, 2008)- The city of Eugene works to preserve, maintain, and improve Eugene’s urban forest in order to enrich the lives of all Eugene’s citizens and visitors. Eugene’s urban forest provides environmental, social and health benefits for its citizens through a growing canopy along city streets, in parks, and natural areas, and on private property.
Approximately 100,000 street trees are located along more than 500 miles of city streets. Planted and naturally-seeded trees are found in Eugene’s park system, which consists of over 600 acres of developed parks and more than 2,900 acres of natural lands. Trees increase property values and livability through their beauty; their presence along roads calms and slows traffic and increases the life of asphalt pavement; trees improve water quality by reducing storm water runoff through interception, absorption and filtration; they clean the air by absorbing pollutants and particulates and giving us oxygen to breathe; and they provide energy savings by shading and cooling the urban environment.
The City of Eugene is known for its unique, exciting mix of arts, culture, education, scenic beauty, and passion for recreation. Their borders include 100 parks and 2,600 acres of open space, maintained, in part, through their NeighborWoods Program. The NeighborWoods program, one of many urban forestry projects in the City of Eugene, was created in 1992 as a partnership between the City and neighbors and local businesses and community organizations to plant and care for street trees in the public rights-of-way.
The program is administered by the City’s Urban Forestry staff in the Public Works Parks & Open Space Division. Almost 5,000 street trees have been planted since the program was established. Each winter planting season, NeighborWoods volunteers plant approximately 425 trees.
Volunteers sometimes work in Trees for Concrete, a program forging a partnership between the City and the Eugene Tree Foundation. Trees for Concrete works on creating a more livable and green downtown environment by replacing concrete with trees along sidewalks in Eugene’s urban core. Several work parties are organized each season, and concrete has been replaced by trees in several locations downtown. Volunteers also participate in the NeighborWoods Tree Steward Program, a program that trains individuals to help prune and care for the city’s trees. Many other volunteer opportunities, such as tree planting parties, are available.
Public safety is a high priority in this service-response to public calls about tree hazards involves inspection, investigative reporting, processing for public comment, and mitigation pruning or removal of about 200-300 dangerous trees per year. Enhancement of the urban forest is also important- around 1,000 trees are planted annually.
Maintenance activities include hazard abatement, storm and emergency response, street and sidewalk clearance pruning, traffic vision and sign clearance pruning, and request pruning. Staff also provide enhancement, planning and preservation services, which include the NeighborWoods and Tree Stewards volunteer planting and pruning programs, new development tree establishment, hazard detection and removal, and street tree removal permit review and enforcement.
This service is directed in part by the development of park management plans, such as the Hendricks Park Forest Management Plan and the Skinner’s Butte Master Plan. Citizens also provide opinions and suggestions through public forums as well as at hearings at Planning Commission and Council meetings and through telephone calls and written correspondence.
The City Council adopts policies and plans that affect the Urban Forestry Service. Some examples of these plans and policies include the Urban Forestry Management Plan, individual refinement plans (Whiteaker Plan, South Hills Study), and various policies relating to trees and parks in the Parks and Recreation Plan.
City of Eugene