What is an Original Art Mural?
Original Art Murals are defined as a hand-produced work of visual art that is tiled or painted by hand directly upon, or affixed directly to, an exterior wall of a building or structure. Murals can provide many benefits to a city and surrounding communities. Murals can provide opportunities to share place-based histories and community-centered stories. Murals can foster a greater sense of place and create unique experiences. Mural projects can actively engage citizens, increase social capital, community connections, and promote positive social change. Murals can also help to increase foot traffic, business district vitality, and tourism.
Planning and Zoning staff reviews all Mural Permit applications to make sure all provisions of Title 4, Original Art Murals, and the Administrative Rule for Original Art Murals are met.These regulations speak to where murals can be located and how big they can be, but do not regulate the content of the mural.
Original Art Murals:
- Must be maintained for at least two years, and the property owner cannot receive compensation for the display of the mural.
- Cannot exceed a height of 30 feet above grade (no other size limits apply).
- Must meet additional standards if located in a Design Overlay Zone or on a noncontributing building in a historic or conservation district.
Original Art Murals permitted under Title 4 are not:
- Mechanically produced or computer-generated prints or images, including but not limited to digitally printed vinyl.
- Murals containing electrical or mechanical components.
- Changing image murals.
Original Art Murals are not permitted:
- On sites with residential buildings with four or fewer units.
- On sites with historic or conservation landmarks or contributing buildings in a historic or conservation district.
- On stormwater facilities.
Murals that do not fit within this definition and do not receive an Original Art Mural Permit may be permitted as public art through the Regional Arts and Culture Council Public Art Murals Program or may be considered signs and regulated by Title 32 (Signs and Related Regulations).
Five Simple Steps to get an Original Art Mural permit:
An Original Art Mural Permit is required for murals that are installed using the standards included in Title 4 Original Art Murals and the City’s Mural Administrative Rules. On-site work on the mural cannot begin until the permit is issued. It takes approximately 30-40 days from the time of permit application to issuance due to the public notice requirements, please consider this timeline when planning your mural project.
Before You Begin, Research the Site
Before applying, research the address of building in Portland Maps. Once the address is identified, select Permits & Zoning, then Zoning & Districts. We recommend you meet with a city planner if the overlay is “d – Design” or has a listing for Historic or Conservation District. You may look up the zoning of a location on find your zoning using Portland Maps. If you have questions about the zoning of a site, you can meet with a City Planner by booking a free, 15-minute virtual appointment or by calling the Portland Zoning Hotline at 503-823-7526.
Step 1. Complete and Submit Mural Permit Application Materials:
- Complete the Application form which requires the property owner’s signature, and include a brief description of the mural, including size and materials.
- Prepare a site plan and building elevation drawings. A site plan and building elevations may be on file with BDS, please see the following link for information on how to request this information.
- When you have your application completed, email the materials to both Brando Green and Kristin Cooper to set up your mural permit. A link to pay the application fee (refer to the “Other Land Uses Services” of the City of Portland Land Use Services Fee Schedule) will be emailed to you.
Step 2. Contact the recognized Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Coalition in which the mural site is located and Schedule a Neighborhood Meeting
You can use the following link to find the Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Coalition within which your proposed mural site is located: PortlandMaps and contact the Office of Community and Civic Life if you need assistance.
The Neighborhood Meeting must be:
- At an open and accessible location within the neighborhood boundary, or an online meeting via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, or similar. For online meetings, you must provide a link to the meeting on the neighborhood notification form.
- Scheduled during and evening or weekend only, and not between 10 pm and 7 am.
- Contain a description of the mural proposal, date, time and location of the meeting, and building elevations or photographs showing the proposed mural location.
Step 3. Send a Contact Letter to the Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Coalition
- Complete the Mural Application Neighborhood Contact Letter and send it to the Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Coalition.
- The letter must be sent at least 21 calendar days before the scheduled meeting to the neighborhood association and sent by USPS mail or by email.
- Send a copy of the letter and proof of mailing to Kristin Cooper and Brando Green. A USPS Certificate of Mailing is required if the letter is sent by US Mail. If the notice is emailed, provide copies of the email messages sent to the Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Coalition.
Step 4. Post the Site with a Notice of Open Meeting
- Once a complete application is provided, BDS provides a Notice of Meeting to the applicant by email, which is posted on-site (not within the public right of way) within a Ziploc bag or laminated (Ziploc bag or lamination provided by applicant).
- The Notice of Open Meeting must be posted at the mural location, at least 21 calendar days before the meeting.
Step 5. Notify Bureau of Development Services (BDS) for Permit Issuance
- After Neighborhood Contact and the 21-day Notice of Meeting are completed, the applicant must notify BDS and request permit issuance; contact Kristin Cooper and Brando Green.
- The permit holder must email a photo of the mural to BDS after completion of the mural; send the email to both Kristin Cooper and Brando Green.
- The photo must be sent within one year after permit issuance, or the permit expires.
- Inspections may occur to enforce provisions of Title 4, as needed.
Arts Empowerment Program
The Arts Empowerment Program helps artists and arts organizations get permits. We focus on assisting Black, Indigenous, people of color and persons with disabilities. Learn more and find out how we can help.
- Original Art Murals Information Sheet
- Original Art Mural Permit Application
- Portland Street Art Alliance: PSAA provides access to resources, networking platforms, and professional development opportunities for street artists. PSAA provides mural management support services to clients and artists across the Pacific Northwest.
- Regional Arts & Culture Council: Public Art Murals Program RACC manages the Public Art Murals Program and coordinates a muralist roster, which is an online resource for people looking for muralist artists.
- Portland City Arts Program: The City Arts Program works with City Bureaus, Council Offices, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and other partners to support our vibrant arts and culture ecosystem.
- Metro Paint is previously unwanted paint remade new. It is screened for quality and reblended into desirable colors. MetroPaint goes through a strict color-matching process to ensure the colors are consistent from one gallon to the next.
- Graffiti Program in the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: about the graffiti program.
- Portland Environment Management Office: graffiti resources.
- Oregon Arts Commission: State Commission, providing programs and support for Oregon artists.