Public assembly permit requirements

Information on qualifying rules for obtaining a public assembly permit.

A temporary permit from the Fire Marshal’s Office is required for an event held in a facility (or any area of the facility) when:

  • In an assembly building, the calculated load for the event space exceeds 500 people.
  • In a Non-assembly building (outside tents, warehouses, parking garages, or vacant buildings), the occupant load exceeds 49.
  • Fenced outside events when the occupant load exceeds 49.  (These events will be categorized under Schedule A)
  • All trade shows with six or more vendor booths.
  • All haunted houses, regardless of occupant load.
Assembly Building Fees – Schedule A

$200 for up to 25,000 square feet

$300 for 25,001 to 50,000 square feet

$600 for 50,001 to 100,000 square feet

(add $250 for each additional 50,000 square feet, max $1,600)

NON-Assembly Building Fees – Schedule B

$300 for up to 25,000 square feet

$600 for 25,001 to 50,000 square feet

$850 for 50,001 to 100,000 square feet

(add $250 for each additional 50,000 square feet to 250,000, then max of $1,900)


Clear and visible access must be provided and maintained for all:

  • Exits
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire hose cabinets
  • Fire alarm pull stations

Occupancy limits

  • The legal occupancy load allowed will be shown on the approved permit.  Do not exceed this limit.

Floor Plans

The approved public/special event permit and floor plan must be kept at the event where it is accessible to any fire or police official. Violation of any permit requirements may result in a citation at the time of inspection.

  • A detailed floor plan, clearly drawn to scale, must be submitted with the permit application packet at least 21 calendar days prior to the event. Submitting a permit application package less than 21 days prior to the event may result in double fees.
  • Plans must be an actual representation of the event. 
  • It is permissible to use generic facility floor plans, such as those provided by the Oregon Convention Center, EXPO Center, etc.
  • In general, where applicable, the Fire Marshal's Office will not approve floor plans that have not been approved by the facility management.
  • The Fire Marshal's Office, Public/Special Events Inspector, must be notified of any change in the plans no later than 7 days before show opening.
  • Changes filed less than 7 calendar days before the event may result in additional fees if the revisions include changes such as adding booths or tables, reducing exit widths, etc.

The following information is REQUIRED ON ALL FLOOR PLANS and must be clearly indicated:

  • Event name and dates of actual operation.
  • Name of each area to be used (Hall, Room, Parking Lot, etc.)
  • Location and use of all bulk spaces.
  • Location of Fire Access Lanes – minimum 11 ft. wide.
  • Location and approximate square footage of bark mulch, dust or chips.

Location and dimensions, in feet and inches, plus total square footage, of each area, including:

  • Stages
  • Display Areas
  • Booths
  • Islands
  • Registration Desks 
  • Food Carts or Food Booths
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Operating Machinery
  • Hazardous Operations
  • Any other items set up in any lobby or floor area.

Location and dimensions, drawn to scale, of:


  • All seating and dining areas must show detail of chair and table set-up, aisle width and table spacing. 
  • Table rounds must be spaced a minimum of 6’ from table edge to table edge. NOTE:  For additional table round spacing specifications, contact the Fire Marshal’s Office.
  • Banquet tables, 4’ to 8’ long, must be spaced:
  • A minimum of 31” apart when seating on one side.
  • A minimum of 50” apart when seating on both sides.


  • When arranged, rows must NOT contain more than 14 chairs. 
  • Seats must have a minimum clear space of 12” between rows.
  • Aisles between rows of chairs should be 4’ wide or more, but may vary depending on aisle lengths. 
  • Loose chairs set up in rows and exceeding 200 chairs shall have all the chairs securely bonded together.


  • At trade shows in hotels or ballrooms, minimum aisle widths of 8’ are required.
  • At trade shows in larger facilities, minimum aisle widths of 10’ are required.
  • Depending on square footage, aisles may be required around displays.
  • Large island booths must show any required aisles which pass through the island.
  • Aisles passing support columns must have 36” minimum clearance from the column.


  • Unless specifically allowed by the Fire Marshal’s Office and shown on the approved floor plan, all exits must be:
  • Unobstructed.
  • Not covered with drape or other items.
  • Unlocked and in no way impaired.
  • Required exits in large bulk space areas in buildings may require lighted battery back-up exit signs.


  • Location and height of all pipe and drape or other barriers (hardwall, fencing, etc.).


  • Decorative materials, booth walls, pipe and drape, etc. must be effectively FLAME-PROOFED or made of materials acceptable to the Fire Marshal’s Office.
  • Signs, banners and other decorative materials may not be suspended from or attached to, the fire sprinkler piping or sprinkler heads.
  • All displays must remain at least 36” below any building fire sprinkler heads.
  • Use of BARK MULCH, DUST or CHIPS require that:
  • Location and approximate square footage shall be shown on the floor plan.
  • Lighting and wiring placed in this material shall be 12-volt UL approved for outdoor use.
  • Electrical wiring for ponds, or similar displays, must be approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Enclosed structures

  • No canopies, similar coverings or enclosed structures are allowed inside buildings unless approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

  • All approved coverings or structures with roofs are required to have all electrical power disconnected at the close of show each day.

Smoke detectors

  • A properly mounted and working smoke detector must be provided and maintained in every enclosed structure within a building l0’ x 10’ or larger.


  • Exhibitors displaying vehicles inside a building or tent, equipped with liquefied petroleum gas (propane) containers, must have such containers emptied and reduced to atmospheric pressure before bringing them into the building.
  • Vehicles displayed inside a building or tent cannot contain more than ¼ tank of fuel, or 5 gallons of fuel, whichever is less.
  • Gas cap must be either a locking type or taped in place.
  • Gasoline or other fuels shall be drained or added outside of the building.
  • Any vehicle with a gasoline or alcohol stove, must have such stove completely emptied and reduced to atmospheric pressure, prior to display.
  • Keys are to be left on-site, or the vehicle doors left open for inspection.
  • Battery cables must be disconnected and taped, or batteries removed.


  • Portable space heaters are not allowed, unless specifically approved in the Public/Special Event permit.


  • No PROPANE cylinders, flammable GASES, liquids or solids, are allowed in any building, enclosed tent or structure, unless specifically allowed on the approved permit.

          Exception:  Up to two 16.4 oz. disposable bottles of propane/butane are allowed per exhibitor.

  • Natural gas use is required in venues which have pre-plumbed natural gas hook-ups.


  • Security personnel may be required by the Fire Marshal’s Office for crowd control.

Outdoor Events

  • Outside fenced events require regulation exits (maximum 100’ travel distance to reach an exit) and approved exit signs.
  • For outside events featuring food vendors, the person applying for this Public/Special Event Permit must also submit a list of all food vendors and a floor plan showing each vendor location.
  • Food vendors are required to have Propane and/or Natural Gas Permits.

Special event communications plans

Certain events may require a communications plan. The plan must include the event contact information (name and phone number), and a description of the equipment to be used - radio (e.g. two-way radios), cell phone, or other means. Additional detailed instructions will be provided if a plan is required.

All volunteers, employees, staff, etc. associated with event are directed to call 911 IMMEDIATELY if they witness a participant or spectator experiencing a medical problem.

Medical resources

  • Depending on the event, required staffing may be increased or reduced at the discretion of Portland Fire & Rescue.
  • All Paramedics and EMT’s used for staffing, must be Oregon certified.
  • Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) are required for all events larger than 2,500 attendees.
  • More than one first aid station is recommended for parades/sporting events taking place over 1 mile.
minimum medical resources for public events

 Apply for permit