When Is a Commercial Activity Permit Required?
The use is for a business endeavor, whether offering classes/camps or vending food/equipment as defined in Chapter 20.08.010 of the City Code.
Commercial Activity Guidelines, Rules, and Policies
A commercial activity permit allows an individual or organization to maintain an ongoing subsidiary business within a Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) park. Any use of PP&R's outdoor premises to advertise or promote a product or service or build an offsite business is considered commercial in nature.
This webpage is intended to address commercial activity at PP&R's outdoor properties and does not address commercial activity at community centers, indoor facilities, privately managed, or leased properties. Please contact those facilities directly for applicable policies on commercial activity.
Attendance for commercial activities within a PP&R park is intended to remain small, approximately 10-60 people at any one time.
If you are planning a large community event, please visit the Public Events page or contact the Customer Center at 503-823-2525.
Non-Refundable Application Processing Fees
The application fee is determined based on the date the application was submitted in relation to the requested start date of your commercial activities in the park (minimum 8 days, 45+ days recommended). The application fees are non-refundable and must be paid within 3 days for the application to be processed. Refer to the table below for rates per park.
|Tier 1 (45+ days) (Recommended)||$150|
|Tier 2 (31-45 days)||$300|
|Tier 3 (16-30 days)||$450|
|Tier 4 (8-15 days)||$600|
The Rush Fee will be assessed in addition to the tier application fee if all necessary documents are not submitted at least 7 days prior to the commercial activity start date.
How to Apply
To secure a Commercial Activity Permit, the application and an application fee must be submitted to the Portland Parks & Recreation Customer Service Center. Applications are accepted beginning on the first business day of the year.
For Food Cart or Product Vending, applications are accepted annually. For Education and Fitness, applications are accepted annually and seasonally for the flexibility of booking different parks.
- Include schedule of dates, times and locations
- Include description of activities
- Business Tax Compliance
- Valid for duration of permit
- Certificate of Liability Insurance
- Valid for duration of permit
- Coverage of $2 million per occurrence
- Certificate Holder:
- City of Portland, its officers and employees
- 1120 SW 5th Ave, First Floor, Portland, OR, 97204
- Additional Insured Endorsement
- Valid for duration of permit
- Industry Standard ISO Form (e.g. CG 20 26, CG 20 12) or other approved form
- Site Plan (each park)
- Park maps on the Find a Park page can be used as a site plan
- Indicate park areas and paths that participants will use
- Detail any set up of structures
- Waste Management Plan
- Flyers, website, marketing materials, etc.
To Apply Online
- Go to the SmartSheet Commercial Activity Application (2023).
- Fill out the form, upload the documents, and submit.
- An automated message will be sent to your email address with instructions on how to make payment for the application fee(s).
To Apply by Mail
- Include all required documents in envelope.
- Include application fee check payment.
- Mail to 1120 SW 5th Ave, First Floor, Portland, OR, 97204.
To Apply In-Person (not currently available)
- Bring all required documents.
- Bring application fee payment in the form of card, cash or check.
- Visit the Portland Parks & Recreation Customer Service Center at 1120 SW 5th Ave, First Floor, Portland, OR, 97204.
Rights of First Refusal
The Rights of First Refusal window will be from November 1 - November 30 where accounts in good standing can submit the application for the upcoming year.
If you are a current commercial activity user in good standing, you are eligible to request a permit for the upcoming year with the Right of First Refusal at your current or completed permitted location.To be in good standing, all previous balances must be paid in full (including late fees and fines) before the next application window begins. Applications will not be accepted if there is a balance due.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I need a permit to use the park?
If you are a business, a nonprofit, or an individual who is looking to: offer lessons, hold camps, use the park space for your school, daycare, business; vend food or equipment, or will be bringing tour groups through the park, you probably need a permit.
Do I need a permit if I am not charging for my instruction/service?
Yes, if the intention is to promote your business or have recurring activities in the park, you will need to apply for a commercial activity permit. Although you are not directly charging the public, you are liable for their safety and impact to the park and community.
Do I need a permit if my group is just passing through the park?
It depends on the nature of your activities. Please see our general guidelines for commercial activity for more information.
What parks can I request in a commercial permit?
Most parks allow commercial activity permitting, depending on the type of activity. Large food carts can operate in a limited number of parks, including South Park Blocks, but small food carts can operate in a wide range of parks. We would be happy to discuss the various options with you. Education and fitness classes depend on the activity proposed at each location. For example, natural areas may have extra restrictions for certain activities that other parks may not.
What types of activities require a permit?
Anything that promotes or brings in revenue for your business! Education and fitness, camps, daycare outings, nature exploration with students, private school outings, food carts, equipment rentals, tours, etc.
Can I close a park for my commercial activity?
No. A commercial activity permit requires you to use the park alongside other park users.
Can I get a commercial permit in Tom McCall Waterfront Park?
No. Tom McCall Waterfront Park hosts many local festivals and public events, so we are unable to accommodate commercial vendors at this location.
What do permits cost?
Permit applications start at $150 (online application fee) and go up to $600 with rush fees depending on how soon you would like to start your commercial activity. We also charge hourly fees for Education and Fitness and monthly fees for food vendors.
Additional Questions or Concerns
For any additional information, please fill out the SmartSheet Commercial Activity Information Request.
For permit related questions, please email ParksCommercialUse@PortlandOregon.gov or call 503-823-2525.