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Demolition Permits- Residential

Learn more about residential demolition permits and permits for demolishing a building in the City of Portland. Get all required forms for a residential demo permit including the building permit application. Find information about demolition inspections and get the guide to residential demo permits.

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Changes effective 12/1/2020

This page includes changes to the demolition rules including fines for violations that will be effective on December 1, 2020.

All required forms and important handouts for a residential demolition permit

The following information must be submitted when applying for a residential demolition permit. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide more information.  The demolition packet has all of these forms and a submittal checklist: 

The demolition packet includes:

  • demolition submittal checklist
  • sample demolition site plan
  • building permit application
  • demolition plan
  • asbestos survey cover sheet 
  • property owner’s intent to demolish acknowledgement statement
  • asbestos survey submittal extension form (if applicable)
    • This form is required for projects that do not have the asbestos survey and applicable close out letter completed at the time of permit submittal. The demolition plan, asbestos survey and applicable close out letter must be submitted before the permit can be issued. 
  • simple site erosion control plan 
  • disclaimer for existing on-site sewage disposal system (if applicable)
  • residential agreement for basement fill & compaction (if applicable)
  • neighborhood notice printable door hangers

Structural plans and tree preservation plans may also be required.

You might also find the following helpful: 

When you need a residential demolition permit

You need a demolition permit to demolish any structure that required a building permit to construct. This also includes structures that were improperly built without a permit.

You need a separate demolition permit for each structure that you wish to remove. To demolish a detached garage and house on the same property, you need two separate permits.

You need a demolition permit even if you are obtaining a building permit to construct a new building in its place.

Demolition code and rules

Demolition permits are reviewed under multiple city and state codes, statutes, and rules including:

  • Portland City Code Title 24.55 Building Demolitions
  • Portland City Code Title 33 Zoning Code
  • Portland City Code Title 17.106 Deconstruction of Buildings Law
  • BDS Demolition Administrative Rule
  • Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC)
  • OAR 333-068-0070

City and State Codes and Rules has the most current versions of the codes and rules. 

Portland Zoning Code, Title 33, requirements for demolitions

If a one or two family dwelling is a historic or conservation landmark or is located in a historic resource overlay zone, it may be subject to additional notification and delay requirements under the Zoning Code.

For more information regarding the demolition delay provisions of Title 33 for historic or conservation landmarks or properties within a historic or conservation overlay zone, review sections: 33.445.810 and 33.846.080.

Planning & Zoning

Call Planning and Zoning early in the planning of your project. You will need to make sure the proposed new structure(s) are allowed per zoning.  

Separate requirements apply to historic structures that are subject to the Zoning Code sections 33.445.800 – 33.445.810 and 33.846.080.

The demolition delay ordinance applies to residential structures in the residential Comprehensive Plan Map designation.  Check your zoning on Portland maps

Information about residential demo permit requirements

Deconstruction requirements

All single-dwelling structures (houses and duplexes) in all zones are subject to a Deconstruction Ordinance if:

  • The structure was built in 1940 or earlier; or
  • The structure is designated as a historic resource subject to demolition review or 120-day delay provisions of Title 33

A Certified Deconstruction Contractor must perform the deconstruction work. Certified Deconstruction Contractors are trained to safely and effectively disassemble the house and salvage valuable materials for reuse. Once you have selected a deconstruction contractor for your project, they will need to submit a Pre-Deconstruction Form before your demolition permit can be issued. Only certified contractors have access to the Pre-Deconstruction Form.

These requirements are in Portland City Code Chapter 17.106.

Planning and Sustainability's Deconstruction Program has more information:

  • Deconstruction Ordinance Code
  • Administrative Rules
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • List of Certified Deconstruction Contractors

Find more information on the deconstruction requirements.

Demolition or major alteration

A demolition means removal of all exterior walls above the foundation.

See the Demolition Administrative Rule for the definition of “Wall”. This includes information on how to determine if all exterior walls have been removed. If your project does not meet the definition of a Demolition, then it likely qualifies as a Major Residential Alteration.

A major alteration means removing 50% or more of the exterior walls above the foundation. Major Residential Alterations and Additions (MRAA) have a notification rule. There is also required delay period. (Portland City Code Section 24.55.210).  

Like demolitions, major residential alterations are subject to the dust and site control measures of PCC 24.55.  This includes complying with demolition permit submittal and inspection requirements as required in PCC 24.55.205 and the BDS Demolition Administrative Rule.

If your project changes from a major alteration to a demolition at any point, you will be required to stop your project and get a demolition permit. You will also need to meet the 35-day delay and notification requirements for demolition projects.

Demolition data and residential demolition map

You can view an interactive map that contains residential demolition information from 2005 to the present, including the number of residential demolition permits issued with links to information about the individual permit.

Demolition delay ordinance and notification

Demolition delay

Demolitions of one-two dwelling unit structures in areas with a residential Comprehensive Plan Map designation have a mandatory 35-day demolition delay. These properties may also be subject to an additional 60-day delay. The Ordinance does not apply to accessory structures such as garages or other outbuildings. In addition, the Ordinance does not apply to one and two family residential structures in commercial or industrial zones. The complete criteria are in Portland City Code 24.55.200.Different and additional demolition review and/or delay processes may apply through the City’s zoning regulations (Title 33). The Title 33 demolition review and delay process applies to Historic and Conservation Landmark buildings, as well as contributing structures in Historic and Conservation Districts. 

Demolition notification

When a demolition delay applies, Development Services and the permit applicant must send out these notifications:

  • Mailed notice to properties within 150 feet within 5 business days of the intake of complete application. Development Services sends this notice.
  • Emailed notice to recognized organizations whose boundaries include the site, the Architectural Heritage Center and Restore Oregon. Development Services sends this notice.
  • Posted Notice - door hangers placed on properties within 300 feet not more than two weeks nor less than 72 hours before demolition activity commences. Development Services will provide the applicant with a list of the properties that need to be posted. The applicant is responsible for placing the door hangers.

Extension of the initial demolition delay period

If there is a successful appeal of the demolition permit issuance, the delay can be extended by up to 60 days. Anyone may request an extension of the demolition delay period by filing an appeal. The appeal of the issuance of the demolition permit must be in writing on forms provided by Development Services.

The appeal must be received by Development Services by 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the initial 35-day notice and delay period. The appeal application must include the following:

  1. An appeal fee or fee waiver (only a Recognized Organization whose boundaries include the site are eligible for a fee waiver);
  2. An appeal form
  3. A copy of a letter sent to the property owner requesting a meeting to discuss alternatives to demolition (View sample letter), along with a return receipt from the Post Office indicating the letter was sent registered or certified mail;
  4. A statement indicating why the structure is significant to the neighborhood;
  5. A plan to save the structure; and
  6. Evidence the appellant has a reasonable potential to consummate the plan within 95 days of the date the City accepted the complete permit application, including a project budget and other evidence of funds on hand or a fund-raising plan sufficient to meet the financial requirements of the budget.

Dust and site controls for demolitions with 1-4 dwelling units

Demolitions of residential structures with 1- 4 dwelling units require site control measures. Demolitions of residential accessory structures and mixed-used structures on those sites also need site control measures. Portland City Code Section 24.55.205 and BDS Demolition Administrative Rule have a complete list of site control measures. These site control measures include:

  • A copy of the pre-demolition asbestos survey and asbestos abatement documents (Demolition Administrative Rule, Exhibit A)
  • A Demolition Plan
  • Documentation that the person performing the demolition has lead paint certifications. 
  • Removal of all exterior painted surfaces before mechanical demolition. Unless a lead hazard exemption is approved, all painted exterior non-structural surfaces on structures built before January 1, 1978 must be removed by hand and in compliance with PCC 24.55.205.C.1 and BDS Demolition Administrative Rule:
    • All painted exterior non-structural surfaces (regardless of material) must be removed by hand including, but not limited to, all layers of siding, doors, windows, railings, soffits, trim, fascia, porches, stairs, porch columns, bellyband, etc. Exterior painted concrete and masonry materials are exempt. Door and window removal shall include removal of all painted elements (casing, jamb, sill, apron, stool, etc.) so that only the rough openings remain.
      • Not required if a limited, exterior scope, lead-based paint inspection report identifies all exterior surfaces as free from containing lead-based paint. The report must be submitted as part of the permit review process before permit issuance or through the revision process if the permit is issued. The limited, exterior scope, lead-based paint inspection report must comply with BDS Demolition Administrative Rule Appendix B.
      • Not required if the structure is determined to be structurally unsafe or otherwise hazardous to human life to the extent that the hand removal of exterior painted materials could not be safely executed, then exterior lead-based paint materials do not need to be removed prior to mechanical demolition. An unsafe or hazardous structure determination must be submitted by a licensed structural engineer or hazardous material professional. The letter must be submitted as part of the permit review process before permit issuance or through the revision process if the permit is issued.
  • Implementation of dust suppression measures during mechanical demolition, transfer and loading 
  • Suspension of mechanical demolition activities if wind speeds exceed 25 MPH
  • Proper containment of and cover of on-cite demolition debris

You must have an erosion control plan for the site. Where the ground is level, a simple site erosion control form can be submitted. If the site has a slope of 10% or greater you must provide an erosion control plan. This information can be included on the site plan.

Erosion control inspections are required for each demolition permit issued. You must install erosion control measures even if using the simple site erosion control form.

Property owner's intent to demolish

If the applicant is not the owner of the property listed on the deed, a completed intent to demolish form signed by the property owner must be submitted. If there are multiple owners, each owner must sign this form.

If you recently purchased the property and it is not yet reflected in the tax rolls, you will need to show proof of ownership.

This form is required for residential dwelling units being demolished on the site. This form is a formal acknowledgement that the owner is aware of the primary uses permitted under current zoning on the site.

Soil compaction

After demolition, you must restore the site to conditions suitable for new construction. If the building to be demolished has a basement or foundation that will result in a replacement fill of 24” or greater, the replacement soil is required to be compacted. A soils special inspection by an independent agency is also required.

If the existing basement will be reused in a replacement house constructed at the same time, you will need to submit an Agreement for Basement Fill & Compaction. This agreement guarantees that the excavation will be filled if the new construction does not occur.

Structural plan and calculations

If the building to be demolished is next to a sidewalk, building or other structure, structural plans will most likely need to be submitted.

Tree code requirements: tree preservation

Before issuance of a demolition permit, you must meet Title 11 Tree Code requirements.

  • Sites that contain viable trees that are 12" or greater in trunk diameter are subject. 
  • A percentage of the viable trees on the site must be preserved or you may pay into the City's Tree Mitigation Fund.
  • Preserved trees must be shown on the demolition plan with tree preservation fencing. The permit can be taken in for review without tree preservation information but cannot be approved or issued.
  • A Tree Preservation inspection is required. This inspection must take place before any demolition work. 

Learn more about trees and development including on-site tree preservation and tree plan requirements.

Utilities - sewer or sanitary system

If the house is connected to the city sewer, you must cap the sewer as part of the demolition permit. If the sanitary system was a septic tank or cesspool, you must get a decommission permit. This will be part of your demolition permit.

How to submit your demo permit application 

You can  submit your permit application request online using Development Hub PDXRead step-by-step instructions for submitting a permit application request online or in person. 

For most projects, electronic plans are submitted through the Single PDF process. Large projects such as commercial new construction are submitted though PDX E-plans and ProjectDox.

If you are unable to create electronic plans, please call us and we will work with you.

Residential demolition permit plan review process

Different departments will review your plans to verify that the proposed work meets all requirements.

Demolition plans will be taken in for the waiting period or for further review. You will be sent a checksheet requesting any clarifications or corrections.

The areas and review groups that will check a typical demolition project are:

  • Planning and Zoning
  • Life Safety Review
  • Site Development Review (if the property has a slope of 20% or more there will be a site development review to identify any slide hazards and verify all erosion control measure proposals)
  • Residential subsurface evaluation review
  • Demolition Site Control Review 

For additional information on the review process, visit the related Permit Review Process webpage. 

Residential demolition permit issuance

When the last technical review is approved, and any required demolition delay has elapsed, your permit will be pre-issued. Pre-issuance is the last permit check. This step ensures all required reviews took place, all required approval stamps are on the plans, and the fees are charged correctly. You will be contacted when your permit is ready and notified of your final fee total. We will also give you instructions on how to get your approved permit and pay your fees. Your permit is not issued until all fees are paid. 

Door hangers need to be placed on neighboring properties within 300 feet before you begin the work. Door hangers need to be placed not more than two weeks nor less than 72 hours before demolition activity commences. The applicant is responsible for placing the door hangers.

Get ready for inspections

The inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your demolition project, and what work needs to be done first.  Demolitions subject to site control measures of PCC 24.55.205 will have three to four inspections. All demolitions of structures with 1 – 4 dwelling units and their detached accessory structures will have four inspections: one pre-demolition, two during demolition, and one post-demolition. See Portland City Code Section 24.55.205.D and Development Services Demolition Administrative Rule for more information on these inspections.

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.

Are you replacing the demolished structure? The new construction permit cannot be issued until the inspector gives final approval on the demolition permit.

All permits need a final approval inspection to be complete. 

Residential demolition inspections

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.

Site Control violations related to lead hazard reduction and dust suppression are subject to enforcement with citations starting at $10,000

The following inspections are required and must be followed:

#200 Inspection: Pre-Demolition. 

A #200 inspection must be requested and scheduled through the Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) system and approved prior to beginning demolition activity. 

The following items are required and will be verified at the #200 inspection:

  • The Demolition Manager or Lead Based Paint Certified Person must be on-site to meet with the inspector and review the following required documents: permit card, approved Demolition Plan, site plan, and erosion and sediment control plan.
  • A copy of the completed “Erosion and Dust Concerns Hotline” sign must be posted in a location that is visible to the public from the right-of-way.
  • Required erosion and sediment control measures must be installed. At a minimum this includes:
    • Installation of a catch basin protection insert
    • Stabilization of site access when vehicles and/or heavy machinery will be leaving paved surfaces to accommodate entering and exiting the site
    • Installation of perimeter controls when vegetation removal and soil disturbance is required in order to properly install lead hazard containment measures or soil will be exposed due to any site activity
  • All required Demolition Plan site controls must be installed and staged, including:
    • Horizontal and/or horizontal and vertical (where required) lead hazard reduction measures
    • Covered container must be on-site and plastic lining must be in place if the LBP containing materials will not be wrapped prior to placing in a container

#205 Inspection (1st): Lead-Based Paint Removal Inspection. 

A first #205 inspection must be requested and scheduled through the IVR system and approved prior to beginning mechanical demolition activity.  No mechanical demolition activity is allowed prior to receiving approval of this inspection. The purpose of this inspection is to confirm the hand removal of all required painted exterior surfaces prior to mechanical demolition activity.

The following items are required and will be verified at the first #205 inspection:

  • A Demolition Manager or LBP Certified Person must be on-site to meet with the inspector and review the following required documents: permit card, approved Demolition Plan, site plan, and erosion and sediment control plan.
    • Inspection of structure for completion of hand removal of painted exterior components
    • Debris containment
    • Erosion and sediment control measures are in place (additional measures for mechanical equipment if not installed during the #200 inspection)

The lead hazard reduction requirements apply to all structures built before January 1, 1978. All painted exterior non-structural surfaces (regardless of material) must be removed by hand including, but not limited to, all layers of siding, doors, windows, railings, soffits, trim, fascia, porches, stairs, porch columns, bellyband, etc. Exterior painted concrete and masonry materials are exempt. Door and window removal shall include removal of all painted elements (casing, jamb, sill, apron, stool, etc.), so that only the rough openings remain.

Unless a lead hazard exemption is approved, all painted exterior non-structural surfaces on structures built before January 1, 1978 must be removed by hand and in compliance with Portland City Code. 

Exemptions:

  • Lead test. If exterior painted materials are tested and found to not contain lead-based paint, then those materials do not need to be removed prior to mechanical demolition. A lead test report must be submitted as part of the permit review process before permit issuance or through the revision process if the permit is issued.
  • Unsafe or hazardous structure. If the structure is determined to be structurally unsafe or otherwise hazardous to human life to the extent that the hand removal of exterior painted materials could not be safely executed, then exterior lead-based paint materials do not need to be removed prior to mechanical demolition. An unsafe or hazardous structure determination must be submitted by a licensed structural engineer or hazardous material professional. The letter must be submitted as part of the permit review process before permit issuance or through the revision process if the permit is issued.

#205 Inspection (2nd): Mechanical Demolition Inspection.  

A second #205 inspection must be requested and scheduled through the IVR system and approved as mechanical demolition begins. Mechanical demolition activity is not allowed until this inspection begins and required wetting is verified during mechanical demolition.

The following items are required and must be verified at the second #205 inspection:

  • Verify the wind speed monitor is on site and the wind speed is below 25 miles per hour.
  • Verify the wetting system is operational and in use. The inspector must verify the wetting system in use during mechanical demolition activity. Verification will include:
    • Is the wetting system capable of providing dust suppression?
    • Is the mechanical equipment being wetted when making contact with the structure?
    • Is the debris being wetted when transferred from the structure to the container/stockpile?

Combining first and second #205 inspections 

If the applicant (contractor, Demolition Manager, etc.) chooses to have all #205 inspection items (first and second #205 inspection items) inspected and approved during first #205 inspection, then an additional (second) #205 inspection is not required. However, mechanical demolition activity still cannot begin until approved by the inspector during the first #205 inspection.

Second #205 inspection verification options

In lieu of an in-person Development Services inspection, a live-video inspection (using live video technology pre-approved by Development Services) is available for the second #205 inspection. The applicant must comply with the Development Services policy regarding a live-streaming second #205 inspection. 

#210 Inspection – site stabilization

A #210 inspection must be requested and scheduled through the IVR system and approved prior to requesting a final inspection for the permit.

The following items are required and will be verified at the #210 inspection:

  • The removal of all demolition debris
  • Confirmation that the soils are free of any accumulation of paint chips and other debris
  • The placement of appropriate soil stabilization measures are in place
  • Removal of temporary erosion and sediment control measures as required

#288 Inspection - demolition 

#299 Inspection - final building 

#999 Inspection - final approved 

Inspection results and corrections

Get the results of the inspection on Portland Maps permit/case search the next day.

Not approved - there are some reasons why the work did not get approved:

  • no access - the inspector may not have been able to inspect the work
  • incomplete work
  • code violations

The inspector will list the corrections needed on the inspection report. 

Call for a reinspection after making the corrections. Use the same three digit inspection code.

If you make the corrections the same day wait until 5 pm to request a reinspection.

The inspector needs to enter their results before you can schedule the reinspection.

There is a reinspection fee charged for more than one reinspection for a single issue.

Residential demolition map

You can search for demolition permit activity for single family dwelling and duplex demolitions by year back to 2005.

Contact residential inspectors

If you have questions before your inspection, you can talk to an inspector.

All pre-demolition and site inspections are performed by the site inspectors. 

After demolition, the demolition and final inspections are performed by Residential inspectors.  The 1 & 2 family inspector area map list the inspector's name, area, and phone number.   

Because of vacation or illness, your inspector may be different than the one listed on the map. If you have questions after your inspection, find out which inspector to call. Their contact information will be on the inspection results and on Portland maps.