Some towns like Portland, may require Certified Arborist reports as part of the permit process. This can ad some expense to the process, and takes some time.
Due to permits and reports needed, you may want to get moving on the permit process weeks or months ahead of time, even if you don't have the funds in place yet for the final removal.
The permit equips you with the essential tool that enables the tree service and yourself to complete your agreement in a reasonable amount of time
Here is a sample excerpt from the City of Portland tree permit page (as it appeared December 2010):
"Private Property Tree Removal: for trees growing in yards, not in the public right-of-way The City of Portland's Tree Cutting Ordinance regulates the cutting of trees 12" in diameter (measured at 4.5 feet above ground) or greater on certain private properties. You may need a permit if your property is located in certain environmental zones, if existing trees are protected through land use regulations, or if the property is dividable. Please call Urban Forestry at 503-823-4489 and a Tree Inspector will review your property status to determine if a permit is needed. If a permit is needed, an application will be sent to you"
Permits can be a nuisance. But at least it places you in the mainstream of awareness, and helps to eliminate the chances of the removal backfiring on you.
Even if it's your Portland Tree Service company's responsibility to contact the utility line location, be sure to confirm this. Ask your Portland tree care provider if they scheduled a line locate, and when it should be finished. Usually it should take about 48 hours or less.
Portland Tree Services, Portland Arborists
M. D. Vaden is a Certified Landscape Technician and Arborist