Many of Portland's parks have picnic tables available for use on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if you wish to guarantee a picnic site, you will need to make a reservation in advance.
Reserve a park for your picnic
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has 200+ parks and gardens, and many of these locations have individual picnic tables available for use on a first-come, first-served basis. Groupings of three or more tables are often reservable. To guarantee your picnic date and location, we recommend making a picnic reservation in advance. Please check the Picnic Brochure for locations, fees, policies, insurance, and reservation information. Parks not included in the brochure may be reserved under a Special Use Permit.
Picnic permits cover the following type of events
- A gathering of family/friends or company/organization
- A single reserved picnic facility without exceeding the stated site capacity
- When event attendance is free. No sales, donations, or monetary exchange is required for people to attend.
You need a permit if any of the following apply
- When you want to guarantee use of a picnic site
- When you are setting up any equipment - barbecue grill, chairs, tables, canopies, volleyball net, or other sporting equipment
- If you will have any alcohol present
- If you are planning for 150 or more people to attend.
Picnic permits allow you to bring in the following items for your event
- 1-2 tables
- 1-2 pop-up canopies (no larger than 10’x10’, no stakes are allowed in a park)
- Residential-style barbecue grill
- Small speakers heard only within the immediate picnic area
Special Use Permits are required when
- There is Bring Your Own Beverage (BYOB) beer and wine present and more than 49 people of any age
- You’d like to provide alcohol (hosted, catered, kegs, etc.)
- You’d like to bring items not included above (i.e. volleyball nets, inflatables/bounce house, additional tables or canopies)
- You’d like to drive a vehicle on the sidewalk to pick up or drop off items for your event
- You’d like to have a band or DJ
Special Use Permits must be booked with a Customer Service Representative and may require approval from the Park Supervisor or from the Office of Community & Civic Life. Payment of the application processing fee does not guarantee that the permit request will be approved. If a request is denied, your application processing fee and noise variance fee are non-refundable. Special use permit requests must be made at least 15 days in advance of your event to avoid rush fees. Application fees increase when you book less than 15 days in advance (see the detailed fee information on page 5 of the Picnic Brochure).
More Permit Details
- Park area maps are located on our website at portlandoregon.gov/parks/maps.
- All picnic site reservations are from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, except where more specific details are listed in the tables on pages 3-4 of this document.
- Picnic shelters have a capacity of 100 people, unless there are more than 10 tables.
- If you would like to book a picnic permit less than ten (10) days in advance, please call our office.
- Payment may be made by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover, as well as by cash or check (payable to the City of Portland).
Notice for picnics in Washington Park
Portland Parks & Recreation picnic sites within Washington Park may be impacted due to the construction of the Reservoir Improvement Project by the Portland Water Bureau. The construction may close streets as well as parking throughout the park.
How to make your picnic reservation for the 2020 season
Make your reservation request one of four ways:
Online - At our Online Reservation Center.
By phone - Call the Customer Service Center at 503-823-2525, and select option 1. Phone-in hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM.
By Fax - Send the Parks Picnic Worksheet Application to 503-823-2515.
By mail - The Parks Picnic Worksheet Application and payment may be mailed to Portland Parks & Recreation Customer Service 1120 SW 5th Avenue, First Floor, Portland, Oregon 97204. Please make checks payable to the City of Portland.
Insurance may be required for your permit and may be purchased from a variety of sources:
- The City has arranged to make liability and property coverage available for those using city facilities or venues through Tenant Users Liability Policy (TULIP). This insurance is designed specifically for users of city facilities and venues so it meets our agreement requirements, and is often more cost-effective than options listed below. Coverage is provided for the majority of events, however large scale events, or events with dangerous or risky activities may be excluded.
- Many homeowners’ policies offer coverage for an event, or a special rider can be purchased.
- Many insurance agencies can put together what is called a special events policy.
Issued Permits and More
Upon approval and payment of all applicable fees, you will receive a link to your permit via email. Please print out this permit and take it with you to your event. A permit confirms your reservation and must be on-site during the event to be valid.
You can request the following items to be sent to you through the mail:
- Issued Permit and Site Map An official permit must be on-site during your event to be valid - please have a printed copy or a digital copy (on your smartphone or tablet) available for viewing.
- Reservation Signage We provide signs by request only. It is your responsibility to display signs on the day of your event to notify park users that the area is reserved. We do not allow signs to be attached to trees or placed on stakes in the ground (sandwich boards are recommended). A member of your group may wish to monitor the site prior to the beginning of your event.
- Vehicle Access Pass If requested and approved, a vehicle access pass will be mailed to you, or you may pick up the pass from our office. See page 6 of this brochure for more information on vehicles.
Look for the ADA symbol in the tables on pages 3-4 of the Picnic Brochure. For more detailed information on accessible amenities, parking, and access points, please call the Customer Service Center.