Contact Public Works Permitting at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 503-823-1987 for processing of submittals, invoicing, and other related paperwork.
Contact Public Works Construction at email@example.com or by voicemail at 503-823-0988. Construction office staff are working remotely. Inspectors are still doing work out in the field.
About Public Works permits
A Public Works Permit may be required If you are building a project that requires:
- Street improvements
- Sidewalks and curbs
- Driveway connections to adjacent streets
- Storm drainage facilities
- Sanitary sewer extensions
- Other public improvements in the public right-of-way
During this process, you will work with Portland's public works bureaus to obtain the necessary permits to construct these improvements. Once your project is permitted and completed, the improvements become public assets that are maintained permanently by the city.
Beginning at the earliest stages of project planning, Portland's public works infrastructure bureaus: the Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Water Bureau, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, will work with you and your project team to efficiently plan, design, permit, inspect and accept public works improvements. These lead agencies work closely with the Park Bureau's Urban Forestry team to complete a comprehensive and efficient review of your public works permitting request.
- City development review staff are located in the Development Services Permit Center, 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, near Portland State University.
- Developers and city staff meet regularly throughout the process, beginning at the earliest stages of project planning.
- The city uses specific design standards and review criteria to evaluate project plans.
- City staff is responsible for timely review and turnaround of plans at each review stage. Typically, plan review and permitting will be completed in approximately 11 to 12 weeks of city review time, if you successfully complete all of the steps in the process and submit complete plans for review based on the guidance provided during the plan development process. Additional time is required to review interim submittals, and for the review of more complex projects. Time estimated does not include time when the City waits for the developer and their engineering consultant responses to redline comments or phase approvals.
- The city uses uniform procedures with set turnaround times to process Public Works appeals.
What kind of permit do I need?
Public infrastructure improvements include street, sidewalk, sewer, and stormwater management facilities.
Frequently asked questions
Step-by-step Public Works permit process
Step One: Inquiry/Scope
Right-of-way Improvements requiring a Public Works Permit can be triggered by one of the processes listed below.
- Public Works Early Assistance Guidance
- Land Use Requirement
- Building Plan Review Requirement
Public Works Permit refers to the permitting of privately funded public improvements from one or more of the three infrastructure bureaus (the Bureau of Environmental Services, the Bureau of Transportation, and the Portland Water Bureau.) to provide water services, storm and sanitary drainage facilities and transportation improvements for the benefit of the public. These projects are generally constructed by a private developer and upon completion and acceptance by the city, these facilities become public assets.
Early Assistance and Public Works Inquiries
A Public Works Inquiry is available for projects with 1-2 housing units and no anticipated Land Use reviews or Property Line Adjustments.
A Public Works Inquiry report evaluates the availability of existing infrastructure in the public right-of-way (ROW), as well as identifies required ROW improvements that could be triggered by the development proposal.
Early Assistance options that include BDS Planning and Zoning as well as infrastructure bureau staff in the evaluation of onsite development proposals and connections to public infrastructure in the ROW, are available for all projects.
If you have any questions about Public Works Inquiries, please contact Public Works Permitting at 503-823-1987 or for Land Use or other Early Assistance help contact BDS Planning and Zoning at 503-823-7526.
Important Note for Projects on Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) State Routes
If your project is on an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) state route within the City limits of Portland, your project may be subject to additional review and approval through ODOT’s engineering group prior to the issuance of City’s Public Works Permit. ODOT’s review can run concurrently with City review phases. ODOT’s review needs may add a significant time to your project schedule. Please ask City of Portland Transportation staff if you have questions about state routes within city limits.
Step Two: Concept Development
Before you begin to invest significant engineering and technical resources into the design of your project, the City requires that you meet with public works staff to review and refine your development concept based on your development goals, the conditions of your development site, and the required public works and infrastructure improvements to serve your development.
During this step in the permitting process, the City requires detailed information about your development site, planned land uses, topography, soils, adjacent public rights-of-way, encroachments, intended connections to City water and sewer infrastructure, and detailed calculations for preliminary stormwater and sanitary sewer designs.
If your project is on an ODOT state route within the City limits of Portland, please see note above about projects on ODOT routes.
Concept Development Meeting and Fee - After the initial Concept Development submittal is accepted for review, a concept review fee (based upon permit type) is invoiced. Payment of the invoice must be made prior to the Concept Development meeting--scheduled approximately 2 weeks after the submittal is accepted and processed by city staff. Your project team meets with city review staff at the concept meeting to discuss the development, review redline comments, and identify next steps in the public works project and plan development.
At the successful end of the concept development review phase, the City will sign-off on your Concept Development plans and provide a detailed, not-to-exceed statement of estimated permit fees for your project. The estimate will be based on actual and usual time and effort for each of the remaining steps in the permit process. Also, the City will provide an estimate for construction inspection fees and the amount for any financial guarantees required before the City public works bureaus will sign off on your development plans (building permits, final plats, etc.)
Step Three: Design Development
During the Design Development phase, you and your development team prepare detailed plans for your public works improvements. These engineering plans include details about your development site, landscaping and structural features, street lighting and traffic signals, street profiles, stormwater and drainage improvements, and final sewer design.
Design Development Meeting - Before approving your Design Development plans, the City requires that you meet with public works permitting staff to review and refine your final project design based on your approved concept plan. The meeting is set approximately five (5) weeks from acceptance and intake of a Design Development submittal.
Design Review Fee - The City collects a fixed fee to cover this review phase and required Design Development meeting. The amount of the fee is set by the City at the end of Step 2 when the City approves your concept plans. At the successful end of the Design Development phase, the city will sign off on your plans and approve the project to move to Final Plan review phase.
Prepare an interim submittal during the concept development or design development steps of the public works permitting process when additional information is requested to complete the review.
Step Four: Final Plans
During these final steps in the public works permit process, you and your development team prepare the final plans for your public works improvements. These engineering plans should include all necessary details about your development site and final public improvement design requirements, as well as all standard City details needed to construct them.
If there are remaining technical issues that need to be addressed, the City may request a final check of the plans before final approval (this can often be done via electronic submittal). At the successful end of plan review, the city will sign off on your final plans and request signed and stamped plans for City signature.
CAUTION: Make sure that the forms and plans that you file are complete and accurately reflect your previously reviewed development objectives, design concepts and development plans. The City will charge you additional fees if you need to request additional meetings to complete this step in the permitting process.
Step Five: Stamped Plan Submittal (aka 'vellums') using DocuSign
Once Final Plans are approved, submit plans as follows:
- Email a PDF of the unsigned vellum plan sheets to firstname.lastname@example.org. If file size is too big to email, use a document sharing application to email a link to the plans.
- If the project includes signals and street lighting improvements, submit a digital copy of associated special provisions following the City of Portland's Standard Construction Specifications. Please ask for assistance, if you are unfamiliar with the preparation of special provisions.
Public Works Permitting will set the plans up for signature routing using DocuSign.
Find instructions on how to use DocuSign to sign a document at How To Sign a Document. External customers do not need a license to participate.
Step Six: Permit Issuance
During the permit review and issuance phase, you and your development team submit signed plans for your public works improvements. These engineering plans will be signed by the approving City public works bureaus as approved for construction by your contractor.
Before issuing the permit for construction, the city requires that any remaining documents and items be submitted and approved. These items may include but are not limited to:
- Application documents
- Performance guarantee
- Contractor's Certificate of Liability Insurance (issued specifically for the public improvements being permitted)
- Signed permit
The city collects an estimated fee for the construction inspection portion of the project. The amount of the fee will have been refined from the estimate provided at the end of Step 2 when the city approves your concept plans.
Once all documents have been received and approved, and all estimated construction fees have been paid, the permit can be issued, and the construction phase of the project can begin. The permit will be issued electronically via email, including links to approved plans and permit documents, City of Portland approved materials lists, and information about how to schedule the required Preconstruction Conference with the City's construction inspection team.
Step Seven: Construction and Inspection
Construction & Inspection: After the Public Works permit has been issued, city construction management and inspection staff work with the developer's team to review temporary traffic control plans and material submittals and provide inspection services through the end of construction and final city acceptance of the newly built public infrastructure. Once construction is complete, a two-year warranty period takes place.
Closure of Sidewalks, Lanes, and Parking Spaces: Temporary use or closure of public right-of-way including sidewalk, lanes, or parking spaces is permitted through PBOT's Temporary Street Use Permitting (TSUP) team and must be obtained prior to closure of any portion of the public right-of-way. Find more information about temporary street use permitting.
Design Changes During Construction: When changes to the city-approved plans need to be made during the construction phase, use the following form and process to make the request:
Plan Preparation, Manuals and Standards
Fee Schedules and Payment Process for Public Works Permits
Online Payment Process
Public Works Permitting (PWP) will email a billing invoice. The email will include fee amounts and a project-specific link to the online payment portal. Payment options include Automated Clearing House (ACH)/Electronic Check or credit card. A 3 percent convenience fee applies to credit card transactions. There is no fee for using Automated Clearing House (ACH)/Electronic Check. PWP receives notification from Financial Institutions within 24 business hours that payment has been made. Payment receipts are automatically sent once an invoice is paid.