Original Art Mural Permits

City of Portland original art mural permit information and application.
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What is an Original Art Mural? 

Mural depicting Martin Luther King, Jr and other civil rights activists
                Lead artist: Isaka Shamsud-Din

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.

Original Art Murals are permitted under Title 4 (Original Art Murals) and the Mural Administrative Rules:  

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 are considered signs and regulated by Title 32 (Signs and Related Regulations)

How 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 Mural Administrative Rules. On-site work on the mural cannot begin until the permit is issued. 

Still need help? Schedule a 15-minute appointment 

If you have questions after reviewing the information on this page, 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. 

Meet with a City Planner 

  • We recommend you meet with city planner about planning and zoning or tree code requirements before submitting building permits.  
  • Get information on rules that apply to your property. 

This an optional meeting. Only book if you have questions.

Meet with a City Planner

*Not all review groups may be listed. The group listed above will help get you started. 

Submit mural permit application materials

Mural showing different musicians
 Artist: Joe Cotter (detail) - Location: NE 20th & Everett
  • Application form and fee
  • Site plan and building elevation drawings 
  • Description of Mural and installation details

When you have your application completed, email the materials to both Kristin Cooper and Brando Green to set up your mural permit. 

Schedule a neighborhood meeting

  • Must be at an open and accessible location within the neighborhood boundary
  • Must be scheduled during and evening or weekend only, and not between 10 pm and 7 am

Find the contact information for the neighborhood association and district coalition at the Office of Community and Civic Life.

Send a letter to the neighborhood association 

  • Must be sent at least 21 calendar days before the scheduled meeting to the neighborhood association
  • Must contain a description om the mural proposal, date, time and location of the meeting, and building elevation or photograph showing mural location
  • Must get a Certificate of Mailing verifying the letter was sent

Post notice of open meeting 

  • Applicant obtains posting board from Bureau of Development Services (BDS) at time of permit submittal
  • Notice must be posted at the mural location, at least 21 calendar days before the meeting

Notify Bureau of Development Services (BDS) 

  • After neighborhood contacts are completed, applicant must notify BDS in order to finalize the permit 
  • A copy of the letter to the neighborhood association announcing the meeting must be provided to BDS with the Certificate of Mailing

Send the materials to both Kristin Cooper and Brando Green.

Please email your materials before you schedule the required neighborhood meeting or at least 21 days before the meeting is held. After the permit is set up and fee is paid, you will receive a posting board for the neighborhood meeting. This sign must be posted at the site for at least 21 days before the meeting is held.

Permit Review and Issuance 

Mural on the side of a building
        Artist: Bruce Orr - Location: NE Williams & Failing
  • Planning and Zoning staff reviews all Mural Permit applications to make sure all provisions of Title 4, Original Art Murals, and the administrative rule are met
  • Structural review is required if any element weighs more than 7 pounds per square inch, or in total weighs more than 400 pounds
  • BDS review is nondiscretionary; the decision is final, with no local appeal

Inspection Process

Murals are inspected by Planning and Zoning staff on an as-needed basis.

  • The permit holder must email a photo of the mural to BDS after completion of the mural)
  • 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

Send the photos to both Kristin Cooper and Brando Green.

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