Chapter 17.56 Public Utilities

City Code Chapter

17.56.005 Definitions.

(Added by Ordinance 184957, effective November 25, 2011.)  

  1. For the purposes of this Chapter, “public utility” includes any person that installs, constructs, reconstructs, repairs, alters or maintains facilities for the distribution, transmission or collection of sewer, water, gas, petroleum products, steam, electricity, telecommunications, or other services, together with any associated wires, cables, poles, conduits, appliances or apparatus in, on, over, through or in any manner beneath the surface of the streets and that person currently possesses a franchise or privilege granted by the City of Portland or is a City bureau charged with providing such service to the public.

17.56.010 General Bond.

(Amended by Ordinance 173369, effective May 12, 1999.) 

  1. In cases where the City has granted or may hereafter grant revocable permits to a railway company or other public utility for the use of streets, alleys, or public places, the grantee instead of filing a bond or bonds for the faithful performance of the conditions and obligations in any permit prescribed, may file with the city Auditor its written undertaking in the penal sum of $5,000, without sureties, duly executed by the company under its corporate seal, whereby it shall undertake generally and agree to keep and perform the duties, obligations, and conditions of all revocable permits for the use of public streets, alleys, or public places then held or that may thereafter be granted to or held by it, and particularly that it will comply with all requirements thereof for paving, repairing, or otherwise improving streets and sidewalks and for the removal of its property and restoration of the portions of the streets, pavements, or sidewalks, according to the terms and conditions of the permits respectively.

17.56.020 Plans for Underground Construction by Franchise Holder.

(Amended by Ordinances 151100, 176555 and 184957, effective November 25, 2011.)  

  1. Any person conducting a business within the City under a City franchise or permit, giving to such person the right to construct underground conduits or to lay pipes underground, shall, before entering upon any street for the purpose of cutting into, digging trenches in, or opening any street preparatory to the construction of any conduit or to the laying of any pipes, wires, or cables, file with the Director of the Bureau of Transportation detailed plans and specifications of all the proposed construction work.  Such plans shall be drawn to a scale prescribed by the Director of the Bureau of Transportation and such specifications shall state the manner of construction and the kind of materials proposed to be used.  If the plans and specifications are satisfactory to the City Engineer, the Director of the Bureau of Transportation shall issue a permit to the person filing them to construct the work.  If the City Engineer does not approve the plans or specifications or orders changes made therein, the person submitting them shall comply with the City Engineer’s requirements and shall file new plans and specifications which are satisfactory to the City Engineer.  If these are approved by him or her, the person may then obtain a permit and proceed with the construction of the work.  If in the performance of the work it becomes necessary to deviate from such plans and specifications, deviation shall not be made until first approved by the City Engineer.
  2. Upon completion of the construction for which a permit has been issued, a map showing the location at depths below the surface of the ground of all construction work done under the permit shall be filed with the Director of the Bureau of Transportation.  If changes have been made after the permit is issued, these changes shall be shown in an easily distinguishable manner.  The final map shall bear a statement to the effect that the work done under the permit is correctly shown, and shall be signed by an authorized representative of the company doing the work.
  3. The provisions of this Section shall apply both to dedicated right-of-way and to proposed right-of-way in approved land divisions which will be dedicated to the public upon plat recording.  Permits issued for underground construction in proposed right-of-way shall require acknowledgment that the permittee will hold the City of Portland harmless against any liability which may occur prior to dedication of the right-of-way, and further acknowledgment that the permittee assumes all risk of loss which may arise in the event the City or any other public agency subsequently requires changes in or additions to plans or refuses to approve all or any part of permittee’s improvements.  Permits shall be issued only after street improvement plans have been approved.

17.56.030 Monthly Payments by Utility Companies.

  1. Public utility companies may pay once a month for permits issued under this Title, but such payments shall be made on or before the 15th day of each month following the month in which the permits were issued.

17.56.050 Poles or Wires in Public Area.

  1. It is unlawful for any person to erect any pole or to stretch wires or cables in, under or over any street, park, public way or public ground for any purpose whatsoever, unless a City permit or franchise therefor has first been granted by the Council.

17.56.060 Relocation and Discontinuation of Facilities.

(Replaced by Ordinance 184957, effective November 25, 2011.)

  1. A.  Relocation of Facilities
    1. 1.  The Director of the Bureau of Transportation may direct any person owning, operating, or managing any public utility in the City and using facilities located in public right of way, to temporarily or permanently remove, relocate, change or alter the position of facilities installed by that person or that person’s predecessor within the public rights-of-way whenever required. Except in the case of an emergency or as otherwise agreed to by the Director of the Bureau of Transportation, the temporary or permanent removal, relocation, change or alteration of the position of facilities must be completed within 30 days following written notice from the Director of the Bureau of Transportation. A person may request additional time to complete the removal or relocation, which shall not be unreasonably denied. The City may issue such notice when the City has determined that such removal, relocation, change or alteration is reasonably necessary for:
      1. a.  The construction, repair, maintenance or installation of any City improvement or other public improvement in or upon the public rights-of-way, whether a public work by the City or its contractor or the construction, repair, maintenance or installation of a public improvement pursuant to the requirements of the City’s development code;
      2. b.   The operations of the City or any governmental entity in or upon the public rights-of-way for governmental purposes; or
      3. c.   When required by the public interest, as determined by the Director of the Bureau of Transportation.
    2. 2.  Before commencing removal or relocation, the applicant shall obtain a permit as required by Title 17.24.
    3. 3.  The relocation or removal of utility facilities shall be at no expense or charge to the City.
    4. 4.  Should the applicant fail to remove or relocate the facility in accordance with notice from the Director of the Bureau of Transportation, the Director of the Bureau of Transportation may declare the facility a nuisance. The Director of the Bureau of Transportation may enforce the removal or relocation by compliance order, stop work order, abatement proceedings, or civil action as authorized by law. For any removal or relocation enforced by the City, the Director of the Bureau of Transportation shall keep a complete account of all related costs and expenses incurred by the City. The Director of the Bureau of Transportation shall provide written notice to the person seeking payment of the City’s costs and expenses. If the person fails neglects or refuses to pay all of the City’s costs and expenses, upon written approval of the Commissioner in Charge, the Director may have the City Attorney institute legal proceedings in the name of the City to collect any unpaid removal or relocation costs or expenses. In the event that it is necessary for any action or proceeding is commenced or if it becomes necessary for the City to commence an action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction for removal or relocation or to recover removal or relocation costs, the City shall be seek recover all available statutory costs and disbursements.
    5. 5.  If removal or relocation is necessary due to a public improvement under a contract entered into between the City and an independent contractor and the failure to remove or relocate within the time specified results in payment to the contractor of any claim for extra compensation for any work or delay under said contract, the applicant shall be liable for payment of the amount paid to the contractor as a direct result of the failure to comply with the time requirements of the City.
  2. B.  Discontinuation of Facilities.  If a Person intends to discontinue using facilities of its system within all or part of a particular portion of the streets and does not intend to use said facilities again, the Person shall submit to the Director of the Bureau of Transportation for the Director of the Bureau of Transportation's approval a completed application describing the structures or other facilities and the date on, and the method by which the Person will remove such facilities.

17.56.070 Placement of Overhead Wires.

  1. Any public utility erecting, placing, or maintaining in the City any overhead wire or cable shall affix or attach the wire or cable in compliance with State regulations, in conformity with the best engineering practice, and at a height and in a manner to protect the public safety.

17.56.080 Service Shutoff Outside Premises.

  1. When so required by the occupant of premises, or if the premises are unoccupied, whenever requested by the owner, a public utility shall shut off or disconnect its service facilities outside and away from the building or structure previously served, unless the facilities are an integral part of the building or structure.

17.56.090 Control of Electrical Currents.

  1. It is unlawful for any person using or employing electrical current to fail or neglect to provide and put in use such means, appliances and apparatus as will, so far as practicable, control and effectually contain the current or energy in isolated paths and on their own wires, conductors or structures, so as to prevent damage or injury through discharge to ground to City pipes and structures and the pipes or structures of others. It is unlawful for any person using or employing electrical current to fail to take such measures as are necessary and appropriate to prevent contribution to injury or damage to pipes or structures belonging to the City or others. Conviction for violation of this Section shall not take away or abridge the right of the City or any other person to damages for injury to its pipes or other structures resulting from escape of electrical current.