Chapter 32.22 Definitions

City Code Chapter

32.22.010 General.

  1. Words used in this Title have their normal dictionary meaning unless they are listed in Section 32.22.020, below.  Words listed in Section 32.22.020 have the specific meaning stated or referenced, unless the context clearly indicates another meaning.

32.22.020 Definitions.

(Amended by Ordinances 176469, 176955, 182671 and 191736, effective July 1, 2024.)

  1. A.  Abandoned sign structure.  A sign structure where no sign has been in place for a continuous period of at least 6 months.
  2. B.  Arterial.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  3. C.  Atrium.  As defined in the Building Code.
  4. D.  Awning.  A roof-like structure of fabric or similar non-rigid material attached to a rigid frame that is supported completely or partially by either an exterior building wall or wall exterior to an individual tenant space.
  5. E.  Awning sign.  A sign incorporated into or attached to an awning.
  6. F.  Backed Sign.  A sign where the faces of the sign are parallel or within 10 degrees of parallel to each other.
  7. G.  Banner.  A sign made of fabric or other similar non-rigid material with no enclosing framework or electrical components that is supported or anchored on two or more edges or at all four corners.  Banners also include non-rigid signs anchored along one edge, or two corners, with weights installed that reduce the reaction of the sign to wind.  See also Flag.
  8. H.  Building.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  9. I.  Building Code.  The Oregon Structural Specialty Code as adopted by Title 24, Building Regulations, of the Portland City Code.
  10. J.  Changing image sign.  Any sign that, through the use of moving structural elements, flashing or sequential lights, lighting elements, or other automated method, results in movement, the appearance of movement or change of sign image or message.  Changing image signs do not include otherwise static signs where illumination is turned off and back on not more than once every 24 hours.
  11. K.  Comprehensive Plan.  The adopted Comprehensive Plan of the City of Portland.
  12. L.  Dangerous sign.  A sign constituting a hazard to public safety because it no longer meets the  lateral and/or vertical loads as specified in the Building Code, or no longer meets the wiring and installation standards of the Electrical Code.
  13. M.  Days.  Calendar days, unless specifically stated as working days.
  14. N.  Desired character.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  15. O.  Development.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  16. P.  Directional sign.  A sign exclusively limited to guiding the circulation of motorists or pedestrians on the site.
  17. Q.  Director.  The Director of the City of Portland Portland Permitting & Development, or the Director's designee.
  18. R.  Driveway.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  19. S.  Electric sign.  Any sign containing electrical wiring, lighting or other electrical components, but not including signs illuminated by a detached exterior light source.
  20. T.  Electrical Code.  The Oregon Electrical Specialty Code as adopted by Title 26, Electrical Standards, of the Portland City Code.
  21. U.  Facade.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  22. V.  Fascia sign.  A single-faced sign attached flush to a building or other structure or a sign consisting of light projected onto a building or other structure.  Fascia signs do not include signs that are attached to or projected onto structures defined as sign structures by this Title.
  23. W.  Flag.  A sign made of fabric or other similar non-rigid material supported or anchored along only one edge or supported or anchored at only two corners.  If any dimension of the flag is more than three times as long as any other dimension, it is classified and regulated as a banner regardless of how it is anchored or supported.  See also Banner.
  24. X.  Freestanding sign.  A sign on a frame, pole, or other support structure that is not attached to any building.
  25. Y.  Home occupation.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  26. Z.  Illuminated wall highlights.  Lighted areas that highlight a building’s architectural or structural features and that do not convey a message or image.  Illuminated wall highlights can either be created by light projected onto a feature or highlighting a feature with neon tubing or other light fixture.
  27. AA.  Lawn sign.  A freestanding sign made of lightweight materials such as cardboard or vinyl that is supported by a frame, pole, or other support structure placed directly in the ground without foundation or other anchor.
  28. BB.  Lighting methods:
    1. 1.  Direct.  Exposed lighting or neon tubes on the sign face.  Direct lighting also includes signs whose message or image is created by light projected onto a surface.
    2. 2.  Indirect.  The light source is separate from the sign face or cabinet and is directed to shine onto the sign.
    3. 3.  Internal.  The light source is concealed within the sign.
  29. CC.  Mall.  As defined in the Building Code.
  30. DD.  Marquee sign.  A sign incorporated into or attached to a marquee or permanent canopy.
  31. EE.  Monument sign.  A freestanding sign where the base of the sign structure is on the ground or a maximum of 12 inches above the lowest point of the ground adjacent to the sign.  The width of the top of the sign structure can be no more than 120 percent of the width of the base.
  32. FF.  Nonconforming sign.  A sign that was created in conformance with development regulations, but which subsequently, due to a change in the zone or land use regulations, is no longer in conformance with the current applicable development standards.  Nonconforming signs also includes signs that do not conform with the land use regulations of this Title and that were established prior to November 18, 1998.
  33. GG.  Owner.  The owner of the title to real property or the contract purchaser of real property of record, as shown on the latest assessment records in the Office of the County Assessor.  Owner also includes a deed-holder or contract purchaser whose name does not appear in the latest assessment records, but who presents to the City a copy of a deed or contract of sale showing date, book, and page of recording.
  34. HH.  Painted wall highlights.  Painted areas that highlight a building's architectural or structural features and that do not convey a message or image.
  35. II.  Painted wall sign.  A sign applied to a building wall with paint or a thin layer of vinyl, paper or similar material adhered directly to the building surface and that has no sign structure.
  36. JJ.  Parking area.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  37. KK.  Permanent sign.  Any sign not classified as a temporary sign.
  38. LL.  Pitched roof sign.  A sign attached to a roof with a pitch of one-to-four or greater and placed parallel to the building wall.
  39. MM.  Portable sign.  A movable sign that is not attached to a structure or the ground.  Portable signs include A-boards, portable readerboards, and similar signs. 
  40. NN.  Primary building walls.  Any exterior building wall that faces a street and contains a public entrance to the occupant's premises or tenant space.  If an individual tenant space does not have a street facing wall, or does not have a street facing wall containing a public entrance, then the primary building wall for that individual tenant space is any wall containing a public entrance that faces a parking area on the site.  See Figure 1.
  41. Figure 1
  42. Primary and Secondary Building Walls
  1. OO.  Projecting sign.  A sign attached to and projecting out from a building face or wall, generally at right angles to the building.  Projecting signs include signs that are totally in the right-of-way, partially in the right-of-way, or fully on private property.
  2. PP.  Responsible party. A person who is either:
    1. 1.  The property owner or person authorized to act on the owner’s behalf; or
    2. 2.  Any person causing or contributing to a violation of this Title.
  3. QQ.  Review body.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  4. RR.  Right-of-way.  A public or private area that allows for the passage of people or goods.  Right-of-way includes passageways such as freeways, streets, bike paths, alleys, and walkways.  A public right-of-way is a right-of-way that is dedicated or deeded to the public for public use and under the control of a public agency.
  5. SS.  Roadway.  The portion of a street that is improved for motor vehicular travel.  Roadway includes vehicle travel lanes and on-street parking areas.  Roadway does not include area devoted to curbs, parking strips, or sidewalks.
  6. TT.  Roof line.  The top edge of a roof or building parapet, whichever is higher, excluding any cupolas, chimneys, or other projections.
  7. UU.  Roof top sign.  A sign on a roof that has a pitch of less than one-to-four.
  8. VV.  Scenic Resources Protection Plan.  The most recently adopted version of the Scenic Resources Protection Plan, maintained by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and administered by the Portland Permitting & Development.
  9. WW.  Secondary building walls.  Exterior building walls that are not classified as primary building walls.  See Figure 1.
  10. XX.  Setback.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  11. YY.  Sign.  Materials placed or constructed, or light projected, that (1) conveys a message or image and (2) is used to inform or attract the attention of the public.  Some examples of ‘signs’ are materials or lights meeting the definition of the preceding sentence and which are commonly referred to as signs, placards, A-boards, posters, billboards, murals, diagrams, banners, flags, or projected slides, images or holograms.  The scope of the term ‘sign’ does not depend on the content of the message or image conveyed.
  12. ZZ.  Sign maintenance.  Normal care needed to keep a sign functional, such as cleaning, painting, oiling, and changing of light bulbs.
  13. AAA.  Sign repair.  Fixing or replacement of broken or worn parts.  Replacement includes comparable materials only.  Repairs may be made with the sign in position or with the sign removed.
  14. BBB.  Sign structure.  A structure specifically intended for supporting or containing a sign.
  15. CCC.  Site.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.
  16. DDD.  Sports field.  An open area or stadium in which scheduled sports events occur on a regular basis.  Sports events include both competitive and noncompetitive events such as track and field activities, soccer, baseball, or football games. 
  17. EEE.  Street.  A public or private right-of-way that is intended for motor vehicle travel or for motor vehicle access to abutting property.  Street includes all the area within the right-of-way, such as roadways, parking strips, and sidewalks.  For the purposes of this Title, street does not include alleys, rail rights-of-way that do not also allow for motor vehicle access, or the interstate freeways and the Sunset Highway including their ramps.
  18. FFF.  Street frontage.  The lot line abutting a street.
  19. GGG.  Structural alteration.  Modification of a sign, sign structure or awning that affects size, shape, height, or sign location; changes in structural materials; or replacement of electrical components with other than comparable materials.  The replacement of wood parts with metal parts, the replacement of incandescent bulbs with light emitting diodes (LED), or the addition of electronic elements to an non-electrified sign would all be structural alterations.  Structural alteration does not include ordinary maintenance or repair, repainting an existing sign surface, including changes of message or image, exchanging painted and pasted or glued materials on painted wall signs, or exchanging display panels of a sign through release and closing of clips or other brackets.
  20. HHH.  Structure.  Any object constructed in or on the ground.  Structure includes buildings, decks, fences, towers, flag poles, and other similar objects.  Structure does not include paved areas or vegetative landscaping materials. 
  21. III.  Temporary sign.  A sign placed on a structure or the ground for a specifically limited period of time as provided in Subsection 32.32.030.K.
  22. JJJ.  Tenant space.  Portion of a structure occupied by a single commercial lease holder with its own public entrance from the exterior of the building or through a shared lobby, atrium, mall, or hallway and separated from other tenant spaces by walls.
  23. KKK.  Through pedestrian zone.  The portion of a sidewalk that is intended for pedestrian travel and is entirely free of permanent and temporary objects. 
  24. LLL.  Vehicle areas.  As defined in Title 33, Planning and Zoning.