Dutch elm disease (DED) is a deadly fungus that affects elm trees. It first appeared in the United States in 1930 via shipping crates made of infected elm wood.
The first case of DED in the United States was recorded in Ohio, and soon after it began spreading across the East Coast with disastrous results. The first case of DED hit Portland in 1977 in Overlook Park. The elm was quickly removed, leaving no further outbreaks of DED in western Oregon until 1986, when a second case of DED in Portland was discovered at NE Thirty-Ninth Avenue and E. Burnside Street.1)Portland Parks and Recreation, “Urban Forestry Elm Report: Background, Findings and Recommendations,” (October 2015).
On June 10, 1987, Portland City Council passed an ordinance declaring Dutch elm disease-infected trees a nuisance and enacting an emergency. The ordinance specifies that it is unlawful for elm trees infected with DED to remain on any lot or parcel of land in the city.2)City of Portland Parks and Recreation, “Elm Protection Program and Dutch Elm Disease (DED),” https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/ article/424029
The city’s monitoring program has thus far been effective at keeping the spread of DED under control throughout the city.