Apply for a fence permit online. Learn about adding a fence to a residential property in Portland. Get all required application forms and information you need for a complete fence permit application. Get information on fence inspections and setbacks. Find all the steps for getting fence permits.
What you need for a fence permit
The following information must be submitted when applying for a permit to construct a fence. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information.
- Building Permit Application for Building, Site Development and Zoning Permits
- Site plan
- Scale site plans to most appropriate scale, e.g. 1”=10’ or 1/4”=1’
- Property lines, with dimensions
- Adjacent streets and any easements
- Property address and R number
- North arrow
- Distance between buildings and between buildings and property lines
- Dimensions and placement of the new fence on the lot
- Structural plans
- Scale of plans to be ¼”=1’
- Foundation plan showing location and size of footings and posts
- Elevation view showing fence framing including dimensions, lumber size, spacing, footing size/depth and span
- Connections to existing construction
Report a problem about a fence
If you need to report a problem about a fence, check out the Report a Code Violation page.
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 doing the work yourself, then you can sign the trade permit applications. You cannot do any electrical work yourself. You must hire a licensed Electrical Contractor to do any electrical work.
Building permit application
Step 1: Research your property and what you need for your project
Codes and Rules
Permits are reviewed under multiple city and state codes including:
When a fence building permit is needed
You need a building permit when building a fence taller than seven feet. Measure the height from the ground where the posts or supports enter the ground to the top of the fence. Include any lattice, posts or any other material added to the top. Fences seven feet in height or less do not need a building permit (unless enclosing a swimming pool) but may need a zoning permit.
Planning and Zoning
Before getting started, contact Planning and Zoning to find out what is allowed on your property. There are rules about maximum fence heights and required setbacks that could impact your project.
Fences may be built on private property, as long as they are not located within the public right of way and they meet certain height and setback requirements. A setback is the distance measured from your property line to a point inside the property. A setback creates a border inside your property lines.
Setback requirements are different in each residential zone. A front setback is usually larger than the side and rear setbacks. For purposes of determining setback, the front is the side that borders a street. On a corner lot, the front is the shortest side of the lot that borders a street. If the street frontages are of equal length, you may choose which to call the front.
Call the Planning and Zoning phone number with help:
- Identifying the zone where the property is located
- Determining the setback requirements for the project
- Identifying any requirements if the property is located in a design, greenway or overlay zone
Fences taller than eight feet must meet the requirements listed below:
|Front Setback||20 feet||20 feet||20 feet||15 feet||10 feet||10 feet|
|Side/Rear Setback||10 feet||10 feet||10 feet||5 feet||5 feet||5 feet|
Swimming Pool Barriers
Barriers around swimming pools or spas require additional protection. Requirements for these barriers are found in Appendix G of the Oregon Residential Specialty Code, and general information is contained in the “Swimming Pools” portion of Brochure 3, Fences, Decks and Outdoor Projects.
Find structural, material, and construction requirements contained in the “Fences” portion of Brochure 3, Fences, Decks and Outdoor Projects. It is important to know that some fences (as outlined in the brochure) require structural design and calculations done by an engineer licensed to practice in Oregon to be submitted with the permit application drawings.
Front Yard Fences
If you plan to build a fence in your front yard, call Transportation/Engineering at (503) 823-7002 to determine if the location is within the public right of way.
Permit fees are based on the type of permit, the work proposed, the valuation of the work, and the staff that need to review the work.
Step 2: How to apply for a fence permit
If you are unable to create electronic plans, please call us and we will work with you.
Step 3: Plan review process and checksheets
You can check the status of a permit review on Portland Maps permit/case search. Many people might review a single permit. The Permit Review Process web page has more information about the groups who review permits.
A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans. Read more about how to send us corrections and how to prepare corrected paper plans.
Step 4: Permit issuance
Most fence permits can be reviewed and issued quickly. Permit fees are due when the permit is issued. Fees may be paid by check, Visa or Mastercard.
Step 5: Start building and get ready for inspections
An Inspection card will be provided, which lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first.
Once your building permit is issued, erosion control measures and sometimes tree protection measures must be installed, inspected and approved prior to beginning any further ground-disturbing activities.
All permits need a final approval inspection to be complete.
Step 6: Schedule an inspection, get inspection results and make corrections
To schedule an inspection, call the automated inspection request line. You will need your IVR or permit number and the three digit code for the inspection. Get the results of the inspection on Portland Maps permit/case search the next day.
Read more about why work does not get approved and how to schedule a reinspection.
Contact residential inspectors about your permit inspections
If you have questions before or after your inspection, you can talk to an inspector.
More about residential fence permits
Read more about decks, fences and other outdoor projects: