Urban Forest Protection Ordinance Update

2023 Ordinance Update Activity
June 2023 update:
In May 2023, City Council passed and Mayor Harrell signed the updated Tree Protection Ordinance. A history of the activity leading to development and passage of the ordinance can be found on the UFC's Resources page. The new ordinance takes effect on July 31, 2023. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections has posted information on the upcoming changes in tree regulations on their Building Connections webpage.


In March 2023, Mayor Bruce Harell and Councilmember Strauss issued an updated version of the draft ordinance. This draft ordinance was introduced at Council's March 22 Land Use Committee meeting, along with associated documents:

- Summary and Fiscal Note
- Summary Attachment - Expanded Summary of Code Changes
- Draft Director's Rule 2023-XX - Tier 2 Trees
- Draft Director's Rule 2023-XX - PIL
- Director's Report

Council's Land Use Committee (LUC) will hold special meetings through March and April to address different portions of the draft updated ordinance, and is expected to vote on the ordinance in late April or early May. The current schedule of meetings is listed below:

- March 29 - LUC Special Meeting - Policy discussion: Tree Protections & Tree Protection Standards
- April 7 - LUC Special Meeting - Policy discussion: Tiers of Tree Protections, Budget Allocations, & Central Staff Analysis
- April 21 - LUC Special Meeting - Committee vote on amendments to the bill
- April 24 - LUC Special Meeting - Public hearing
- April 26 - LUC regular meeting - Vote on ordinance as amended
- May 9 - Full City Council - Vote on ordinance as amended
- May 4 - date held in reserve for additional LUC Special Meeting if needed
- May 16 - date held in reserve for full City Council vote if needed

Information on LUC meetings can be found on the LUC meeting information page.

Comments on the draft legislation can be submitted to Council through LUC Chair Dan Strauss at

2022 Ordinance Update Activity

In February 2022, SDCI published the SEPA Determination of Nonsignificance for the Draft Ordinance for an updated tree protection ordinance, along with the Draft Ordinance, two Draft Director's Rules and a SEPA Draft Director's Report. These documents are linked in the list below. 

2022 Tree Protection Project Information and Documents
SEPA Draft Ordinance including Project Documents
- SDCI Project Documents page
- Tree protections update SEPA Draft Ordinance 
- Draft Director's Rule - Designation of Exceptional Trees
- Draft Director's Rule - Payment in lieu of tree replacement pursuant to the tree protection code
- Tree protections update SEPA Draft Director's Report

The SEPA determination was appealed by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties in March 2022, and in August 2022, the Hearing Examiner upheld the SEPA determination.

2019 UFC version of the Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance
 - Per City Council Request

Adopted Tree Regulations One-Pager 

Residents' emails with comments/input though:

NOTE: If you would like to comment on the tree regulations update, please send an email to

Urban Forest Management Plan Update
The City has updated its Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP).
- 2020 Urban Forest Management Plan
- 2020 UFMP Executive Summary
- UFMP update presentation

During public comment, we received 165 responses to the online comment form (89 of them with details) and 11 emails with detailed input.  Below is the raw data for comments received:
- Detailed input provided via the online comment form.
- Public comment provided via email through December 15, 2020
- Urban Forestry Commission letter of recommendation on the UFMP update (December 9, 2020)
- The City's urban forestry team produced a summary of the public input received, including initial recommendations to City leadership on how to incorporate public input into the next iteration of the plan. 

Other Resources

2009 City Auditor Report on Management of City Trees
Supporting documents:
- 2011 City Auditor's Final Report (see actions #163 through #175 on pages 26-30)
- 2016 Mayoral Directive on new urban forestry coordination structure to enhance urban forestry services (10-14-16)
- 2018 Trees for Seattle Core Team Charter
- 2021 City Council's Statement of Legislative Intent on urban forestry consolidation (SLI-MO-001-A-002)

2016 Canopy Cover Assessment
 GIS canopy cover layers

Director's Rule 16-2008 on Exceptional Trees

Draft Director's Rule 2020-13

Draft 2020 Urban Forest Management Plan

Draft Tree Regulations Ordinance ORD D7

Email for general support for tree-related questions/issues (OSE):

Find it, Fix it
- Service Request Mobile App
(you can report tree removals under the 'Other' category)

File a complaint with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) for suspected tree code violations on private property:
- Call the SDCI's Code Compliance group at (206) 615-0808 - Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- File a complaint online

Forest Health Watch project presentation

Green Factor

Green Seattle Partnership

Green Seattle Partnership SLI response to Council (9-29-20)

Healthy trees : Healthy City - presentation by Kathleen Wolf, PhD, UW Research Social Scientist

Interim Tree Protection Ordinance

King County Million Trees Campaign

PLUZ Committee December 18 meeting video

Resolution 31902 (Strategies to protect trees - 2019)

SDOT service numbers:

SPR SLI SPR6A2: Progress report from SPR on Green Seattle Partnership Program

Street Tree Manual

Seattle's Forest Ecosystem Values Report (2012)

TreePAC 2019 City Council candidates questionnaires

Trees for Seattle Street Tree Story Map

Tree Ambassador Tree Walks

Tree Protection Regulations in Seattle (TIP 242)

Tree Protection Executive Order 2017-11

Tree Regulations Research Project Phase I Final Report(9/27/16)

Tree Regulations Research Project Phase II Final Report (3/31/17)

Two for One Tree Replacement Executive Order 03-05

Urban Forest Stewardship Plan

Urban forestry coordination to enhance services

University of Washington Brokman Memorial Tree Tour

The Urban Forestry Commission provides recommendations on and monitors implementation of plans, policies, and legislation related to the protection, management, and conservation of trees in Seattle.