Portland Heritage Trees You Should Know About

There are over 300 Portland heritage trees and the list grows year after year. Anyone can nominate a tree to be included in this list, but only the City Council can decide which trees will be accepted. Once it has a Heritage Tree designation, it is protected. Tree removal Portland is not allowed unless there are proper permits. 

If you are curious about heritage trees Portland, this article quickly lists some of them. 

Portland Heritage Trees to Check Out 

1. American Elm 

Planted in 1870, this has been designated as a historic tree in 1975 by the Portland City Council. This is an American elm, which was planted in the residence of Martin and Rosetta Burrel. The tree is 78-foot tall with the widest branch extending up to 105 feet. It covers a nearby sidewalk and building, so you have an idea of how large it is! The tree has a vase-shaped trunk, a rounded top, and arching branches. 

Location: 1111 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 

2. European Copper Beech 

A towering feature of the Portland State University, this tree stands tall and proud at 80 feet. It is located in front of the Millar Library. It was planted in the 1890s and its surroundings have already experienced immense transformations while the tree remains strong in its current position. It was originally planted in the home of Joseph Franklin Watson, who was then one of the revered entrepreneurs in the city, with a business centered in making fire hydrants and cast-iron storefronts. 

Location: 1825 SW Broadway, Portland Oregon 

3. Oregon White Oak 

Even official records are uncertain about the true age of this tree, but if experts are to be believed, it is even older than the city of Portland itself. This native tree is significant because it is indicative of indigenous land management. It is one of the oaks that have withstood the test of time when native Americans used to burn parcels of land to give way to some of their preferred crops. Many of the heritage trees in the city are Oregon white oak, which speaks of how sturdy it is. 

Location: 1310-1338 NW 23rd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 

4. Yellow Bellflower Apple 

Located in Southwest Portland, this tree is significant because it is the oldest apple tree in Oregon. More so, it is also the oldest grafted apple tree in the Western United States. It was planted at the orchard of Rev. Albert Kelly in 1850. 

Location: 4700-4799 SW Campbell Ct., Portland, Oregon 

5. Cucumber Tree

A native to the Eastern United States, the maximum height that this tree can reach is 125 feet, but a lot tend to be shorter. It has tulip-shaped greenish-yellow flowers and smooth-edged leaves. This heritage tree is believed to have been planted in the 1900s, owned by Cicero Horatius Lewis. 

Location: 2033 NW Glisan St., Portland, Oregon 

6. Douglas Fir 

You will find a lot of Douglas firs all over Portland, and some of them are considered heritage trees. One of the oldest is located in Lower Mcleay Park, which is estimated to be anywhere from 300 to 450 years old. It was last measured in 1997, and official records state that it has already reached a height of 242 feet. 

Location: 2960 Upshur St., Portland, Oregon 

7. London Planetree 

Like many of the heritage trees Portland, this was also planted by a rich businessman. Sylvester Farrell made a fortune through his feed and grocery stores and later went into salmon canning. There were some accounts noting that this tree was originally a gift to Farrell by a US senator. During the time this tree was planted, the city has enacted an ordinance to promote the growth of trees, making it illegal to destroy shade trees. This is also one of the reasons why this heritage tree has withstood the test of time. If you are planning to see this tree, make sure to find time to head to the Portland Art Museum, which is nearby. 

Location: NW/C SW Park and SW Main St, Portland Oregon 


Q: What are heritage trees? 

A: Heritage trees are trees with unique size and age, as well as horticultural and historical significance. They are nominated by the public and chosen by the City Council. Each year, the nomination closes on May 1. A heritage tree is given an official plaque and listed in an online database. Once bestowed this designation, it is protected. Tree trimming Portland is not allowed, as well as removal unless you are permitted by the Portland City Council and Urban Forestry Commission. 

Local Tree Experts Overview 

Check out some of the oldest and best Portland heritage trees. Visit the locations listed above and marvel at the rich history and striking beauty of some of the city’s largest and historical trees. 

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