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Driveway Permits

Information on Driveway Permits for rights-of-way controlled by the City of Portland.

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What is a Driveway?

A driveway is a paved or gravel way for vehicular traffic extending from the roadway to the adjacent property line(s) for the purpose of providing access to legal parking as provided under PCC 33.266 (the zoning code).  The Bureau of Development Services determines if a driveway leads to legal parking. 

Do I need a permit to install or change a driveway?

In Portland, installing or changing a driveway always requires a permit.  Often, two permits are needed.  One permit is needed for work in the public right-of-way.  A second permit is needed for work on private property.  These permits can be obtained together at the Development Services Center

If the driveway will access an alley, a gravel street, or a right-of-way which is not currently passable, a permit is still required.  Any work in a public right-of-way requires a permit.

What if the street I want to access is not a City of Portland street?

PBOT issues permits for work in the right-of-way controlled by the City of Portland.  If the right-of-way being accessed is an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) facility, a permit must be obtained from ODOT.  Click here for a link to a map of ODOT facilities within the City of Portland.  For more information on ODOT requirements, please visit the ODOT Access Management Page

For some properties outside the City Limits, the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services is the permitting authority.  In these cases, if the right-of-way being accessed is a Multnomah County facility, the permit for work in the right-of-way must be obtained from Multnomah County.  If you are unsure if the property is inside the City Limits or in unincorporated Multnomah County, please visit the City of Portland Zoning App.  Search for the address.  When the results come back, check the information in the line labeled “Jurisdiction.”  If you are still unsure how to proceed, please visit the Development Services Center or give us a call at 503-823-7002.  For more information on Multnomah County’s requirements, please visit the Multnomah County Right-of-Way Permits page. 

Do I only need a permit from PBOT?

Installing or changing a driveway commonly requires permits issued by Bureau of Development Services and reviewed by other City bureaus in addition to a PBOT permit.  A PBOT issued permit for driveway construction only covers the portion of the Driveway in the right-of-way.  An additional permit issued by the Bureau of Development Services is needed for any driveway construction on private property.  If the project will include paving, stormwater management may be triggered requiring review by the Bureau of Environmental Services.  If a street tree must be removed to install the driveway, a permit is also needed from Urban Forestry.  Permits issued by the City may be obtained by visiting the Development Services Center with drawings of the proposed project. 

Other agencies may also need to permit the work depending on the scope of the project.  For example, if a utility pole needs to be relocated to accommodate the driveway, you will need to contact the utility provider who owns the pole.

Example of a project that only needs a PBOT permit

An existing house has a driveway which leads to a parking space.  The sidewalk in front of the house is in poor condition.  The property owner would like to replace the sidewalk and intends to rebuild the driveway approach at the same time.  The property owner is not changing anything about the driveway on private property (ie. past the sidewalk).  All work will happen only in the public right-of-way. 

Examples of projects that need both a PBOT permit AND a permit issued by Bureau of Development Services
Example 1:  Installing a new driveway where one does not currently exist.

Example 2:  Replacing an existing driveway by totally removing it and building a new one, even if it is in the same location.

Example 2:  An existing house has a driveway, but it is narrow and does not have any covered space to park a vehicle .  The property owner would like to build a new carport and make the driveway wide enough to park two vehicles  side-by-side.  The owner would like the driveway to be wider than it currently is all the way from the new carport to the point where the driveway touches the street.  This will mean construction is proposed in the public right-of-way and on private property.

Example of a project that does NOT need a PBOT permit but does need a permit issued by the Bureau of Development Services

An existing house has a driveway, but it is not very long.  There is room to get additional driveway length beside the existing house.  The property owner would like to add pavement to end of the existing driveway on their private property only.  There will be no work done where the driveway crosses the sidewalk or connects to the street. 

What kind of permit do I need from PBOT?

PBOT issues two main types of permits for driveway construction.  These are called Minor Improvement Permits and Public Works Permits.  The type of permit you need will depend on the scope of work of your project.  Please visit the Sidewalk and Frontage Improvements page to see a chart outlining what permit is needed based on what types of improvements are being proposed. 

If your project is installing or modifying a driveway on a roadway which is currently passable and involves no other work in the right-of-way, it is likely you will need only a Minor Improvement Permit.

If your project includes both a driveway and sidewalk improvements, the permit type will depend on multiple factors including the length of the sidewalk improvement and whether or not you must install ADA compliant corner ramps.

If your project is installing or modifying a driveway on a right-of-way which is not passable, you will likely need a public works permit in order make the right-of-way passable.  For example, property abuts a platted right-of-way, but the street improvement currently ends before it gets to the subject property.  You will need to remove trees, grade the land, and pave a roadway to get access to the property.  A public works permit is triggered.  This will require review by PBOT as well as other City service bureaus including a review of stormwater management by Bureau of Environmental Services.