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Portlanders Getting Free Trees This Fall May Help With the Heat Next Summer

The Portland Parks & Recreation program is meant to make sure the greenery—and its all-important shade—is accessible to all.

After enduring our hottest summer on record, there may be a mad scramble over the next few weeks for nature’s AC unit.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry division will be giving away 1,800 free trees through November to help make sure the greenery—and its all-important shade—is accessible to all.

Anyone living in Portland is eligible to receive as many as two free trees to plant on private property as part of the Yard Tree Giveaway. The program is Portland Parks & Rec’s effort to add to the city’s canopy, particularly in neighborhoods east of the Willamette River that are dominated by concrete and feature little between the summer sun’s punishing rays and the ground.

In a July WW cover story, Portland State University professor Vivek Shandas identified the lack of shade from tree canopy as one of the three main factors that caused the city’s eastside neighborhoods to reach temperatures far above the rest of the city during the early summer heat wave.

Related reading: This Is the Hottest Place in Portland

“All Portlanders have felt the effects of another record-breaking year for extreme heat,” Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio stated in a press release. “And science shows that trees play a substantial role in the fight against climate change. One way to cool our city and mitigate these impacts is to plant large-growing trees.”

The giveaway offers 16 different types of trees to choose from, including large-growing, native and evergreens.

Those looking to snag some trees simply need to register in advance, then pick up their order along with mulch and a watering bucket, at one of Portland Park & Rec’s Saturday drive-thrus. Free delivery is available to homes in the Centennial, Glenfair and Sumner neighborhoods and to those who need accommodation.

Here is the pickup schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 9

8:30 am-1 pm

North Portland—St. Johns Community Center

8427 N Central St.


Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

8:30 am-1 pm

Southeast Portland—Ron Russell Middle School

3955 SE 112th Ave.


Saturday, Nov. 6

8:30 am-1 pm

Northeast Portland—Trinity Lutheran Christian School

5520 N Killingsworth St.


Saturday, Nov. 20

Southeast Portland—PP&R Maintenance Yard next to Mount Tabor Park

6437 SE Division St.