Zoning Requirements for Parking, Loading, and Transportation and Parking Demand Management

The Portland Zoning Code contains requirements for vehicle and bicycle parking spaces that apply to development.
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City code requirements

The requirements in Portland City Code Chapter 33.266 include:

  • Maximum allowed motor vehicle parking spaces: The Zoning Code limits motor vehicle parking spaces to promote alternative forms of transportation, to promote efficient use of land, and to protect air and water quality. The Zoning Code does not require any minimum number of motor vehicle parking spaces for development anywhere in the City of Portland.
  • Minimum required bike parking: Bike parking is required for most types of uses to encourage the use of bicycles.
  • Transportation and Parking Demand Management: In commercial/mixed-use zones, multi-dwelling zones, and Campus Institutional zones, there are requirements to encourage more efficient use of the existing transportation system and reduce reliance on the personal automobile. These requirements are administered by the Bureau of Development Services in partnership with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Development that adds more than 10 dwelling units to a property can satisfy these requirements through a Transportation Impact Review or by meeting objective standards in Portland City Code Chapter 17.107 Transportation and Parking Demand Management.
  • Spacing, location, and size requirements for motor vehicle and bike parking: In order to promote vehicle areas that are safe for motorists and pedestrians, the Zoning Code contains development standards for the size and spacing of parking spaces, vehicle travel lanes, and the locations that parking can be placed on a property. Bike parking space standards ensure that bicycles can be safely stored both inside and outside of buildings.
  • Parking lot landscaping requirements: When vehicle parking is provided in surface parking lots, landscaping is required at the perimeter and interior to improve and soften the appearance of parking areas, shade and cool parking areas, and reduce the amount and rate of stormwater runoff. Additional regulations applicable to parking lots that are 1/4 acre or larger require at least 50% of the pavement to be shaded by tree canopy or that on-site solar panels generate at least 0.5 kilowatt per parking space. These requirements in the Zoning Code are described in Chapter 33.266 and Chapter 33.248, Landscaping and Screening.
  • Loading requirements: Some commercial and multi-dwelling residential buildings are required to provide off-street loading spaces that can accommodate larger vehicles. The standards ensure that access to and from loading areas will not have a negative impact on the traffic safety of adjacent streets.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) parking and chargers: EV standards acknowledge a transition to electric vehicles and provide flexibility for locating chargers and equipment while limiting their impacts on adjacent streets and lots. Mixed use and multi-dwelling residential buildings as well as Commercial Parking facilities (parking not dedicated to a particular use or business) are required to provide EV-ready infrastructure, specifically the installation of electrical conduit adjacent to parking spaces that allows for the future installation of at least Level 2 EV chargers. Requirements for EV-ready infrastructure, chargers and accessory equipment are described in Chapter 33.266 Parking, Loading and Transportation and Parking Demand Management:
    • For buildings with five or more dwelling units and between one and six parking spaces, 100 percent of new parking spaces must be EV-ready;
    • For buildings with five or more dwelling units and seven or more parking spaces, 50 percent, or six, whichever is greater, of new parking spaces must be EV-ready; and
    • 20 percent of new parking spaces must be EV-ready for new Commercial Parking uses (parking not associated with a specific use).

For more information about the Zoning Code’s requirements for parking, please call the Zoning Information Line at 503-823-7526, or schedule a free 15-minute general zoning and tree code appointment with a City Planner.

Other City Codes, State and Federal Rules for parking and Transportation Demand Management in development permits

There are other requirements for parking spaces and parking areas that apply in addition to the Zoning requirements. Some of these include:

  • State of Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR): In addition to the Zoning Code requirements, the following state requirements are administered by BDS in the electrical permit review and inspection process:
    • OAR 918-460-0200: For parking associate with new commercial buildings, at least 20% of the parking spaces must have access to an electrical conduit allowing installation of electric vehicle charging stations. See Building Codes Division - Chapter 918.
  • Contact the Electrical Inspections Department or Electrical Plans Examiner for more info regarding electrical installation requirements for EV spaces in new construction.
  • Stormwater management requirements: Stormwater runoff from parking lots is regulated by the Bureau of Environmental Services. See Portland City Code Chapter 17.38 Drainage and Water Quality and the City’s Stormwater Management Manual. For more information about these requirements, please contact the Bureau of Environmental Services Hotline at 503-823-7761.
  • Accessibility requirements: When parking is provided for new development, the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) may apply to parking areas and some individual parking spaces. In development permits, the Life Safety Plan Review division of the Bureau of Development Services reviews accessibility requirements for parking areas. For more information about accessibility requirements in parking areas, schedule a free 15-minute appointment with an expert in the Commercial Building Code.
  • Transportation and Parking Demand Management (TDM): The Portland Bureau of Transportation has requirements that describe the required elements of a Transportation and Parking Demand Management Plan. TDM Plans provide residents, employees, and visitors with information and incentives to use transportation methods other than single occupancy vehicles to achieve the City’s Transportation goals. For more information about these requirements, see Transportation Demand Management Plans for Commercial/Mixed Use Zones.