Last fall, the Port of Portland began a project to remove trees that were starting to grow into the federally-regulated airspace at Portland International Airport. The trees will be replaced with lower-growing, native vegetation. The work is taking place in several phases to help increase the survival rate of the new vegetation. This summer, the Port will remove stumps left on-site from the initial tree cutting.
Under Federal Aviation Administration requirements, the Port is responsible for ensuring the airspace at PDX remains free of obstructions to continue to maintain safe aircraft operations. A stand of black cottonwoods in the Blue Economy Parking Lot was growing to heights that were beginning to penetrate regulated airspace. If the growth continued, the trees would have affected the instruments that help aircraft land on the north runway.
In the past, the trees had been topped to address the problem, however, repeated topping can make them hazardous to work around. Permanently removing the cottonwoods provided a long-term, sustainable solution. Approximately 400 cottonwoods were removed from the site in September 2013. Other tree and plant species that did not pose a present or future risk to the airspace were allowed to remain at the site. The trees will be replaced with more than 23,000 native shrub and small tree species such as vine maple, Oregon grape, red-flowering currant and native roses and willow, which will be planted in January 2015.
Artist’s rendering of future site conditions following project completion.
Lisa Timmerman at 503.415.6047