Do You Need a Permit for Your Project?

Housing inspector talks with customer
When is a residential permit needed? When don't you need a permit for a 1 or 2-family home? Learn about residential building permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits, plumbing permits and zoning permits and work that requires a permit for a 1 or 2-family home. Also known as Brochure 2.
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The City of Portland welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your building project. Learn more about what's required for your project and find out if you need permits. You can also schedule an appointment to discuss your project. 

Get information about the types of work that require a permit in Portland. The City of Portland also issues building permits for the City of Maywood Park. 

How to apply for permits and how the permitting process works

These webpages are meant to help you decide if you need a permit. To find more information about how to apply for a permit and to get required forms, search for the home repair or project type. For example, "ADU permits" or "Deck permits." You can also read through the full list of all building permits webpages or trade permits webpages for information about requirements for home repair permits and commercial projects. And, visit the commercial permits and inspections area or the residential permitting area of 

You might also want to read more about what you need for a building permit and the permit review process. 

Why you need permits

  • It’s the law. State Building Code requires that permits be obtained for certain types of work. Permits provide a legal record of work performed.
  • Permits protect you, your family, your business and your investment. (They are designed to help ensure that licensed contractors do the work when required.)
  • Inspections ensure that work is done safely and that it meets the minimum code requirements.
  • Minor problems that could lead to costly repairs, liability and life/safety issues can be detected during permit inspections and brought to your attention before the situation worsens.
  • When selling a property, the buyer, realtor and/or lender may require that unpermitted work be corrected, properly permitted and inspected before closing.
  • Lack of permits and inspection approvals may void insurance.

Where you can get a permit

You can apply online for a permit or drop off plans in person with an appointment

Who can do the work

Contractors must have a license to work in Oregon. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) issues licenses to contractors. The permit application and their company materials must list the license number. Need help finding a contractor? The CCB website has good tips on how to search for one. Plumbing and electrical contractors have additional license requirements. If you are a homeowner doing the work yourself, then you can sign the trade permit applications. You cannot do electrical work yourself. You must hire a licensed electrical contractor to do any electrical work.

Projects that need Development Services permits 

Learn more about different types of projects that require permits: 

  • Commercial permits for commercial construction sites (including multi-family dwellings) 
  • Other permits include banner permits, changing occupancy permits, sign permits and more 
  • Outside work permits include concrete patio permits, decommission permits, driveway permits, sewer connection permits and more
  • Residential permits are for home repair work done on one and two-family homes. This webpage also has information about projects that don't need a permit. 
  • Trade permits for adding a bathroom, replacing plumbing fixtures or adding water lines

Still not sure if you need a permit? Schedule a 15-minute appointment 

If you have questions about permits for commercial projects, home repair, remodeling or new build projects, we recommend you book a free 15-minute appointment with us. This is an optional step. We're here for you if you have questions about the information and materials you need to apply. 


General Inquiries

Development Services
phone number503-823-7300Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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Permitting General Information

Development Services
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Requests for Inspection

Development Services
phone number503-823-7000Automated Line - Requires an IVR or permit number
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Zoning Information Line

Development Services
phone number503-823-7526Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Leave a message with a phone number, the project address, and your questions.
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