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Unmaintained Streets Pavement Review and Permitting Process

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An unimproved roadway lined with trees.  A street sign reads Roadway Not Improved.
An overview of the process for getting a street improved to the point where the City will accept the street for maintenance.
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Unmaintained Streets 

It has been and remains the policy of the City of Portland that streets are constructed at the expense of abutting property owners and are maintained by abutting property owners until street improvements are constructed to the applicable standards of, and accepted for maintenance by, the City.  Until a street improvement has been constructed to City standards and the City has expressly assumed responsibility for street maintenance, it is the exclusive duty of the abutting property owners to construct, reconstruct, repair and maintain the unimproved street in a condition reasonably safe for the uses that are made of the street and adjoining properties.  

A Local Service Street may be accepted for maintenance when a private party improves it to certain minimum standards.  Typically, this will involve improving the segment to meet the Local Street Pavement Standards of TRN 1.08.   The improvement must be a full block length from intersection to intersection.  There is a process to verify if a paved Local Service Street which is not currently accepted for maintenance can be accepted without further improvements.


What are the Local Street Pavement Standards?

V. Local Street Pavement Standard (TRN 1.08)

Full or half street improvements from intersection to intersection on local streets must meet the following pavement requirements to be accepted into maintenance by the City:
a. Meet adopted emergency vehicle access standards OAR 660-046-0020 (16) ( c );
b. Meet Portland Fire Code turnaround requirements.
c. Be at least 16 feet wide; and
d. Meet the City’s asphalt pavement section requirements as indicated on PBOT Standard Drawing P-505.

Apply for a determination regarding a specific street segment.

The City's interactive Pavement Maintenance Responsibility Map shows which street segments have and have not been accepted for maintenance.  Only public streets can be accepted for maintenance, not private streets.  Only paved streets can be accepted, not gravel streets.  If a paved Local Service street segment is mapped as not being accepted for maintenance, the first step is to apply for a verification.  Please fill out the City Engineer Inquiry & Assessment Form below and email it to LCA_Engineering@portlandoregon.gov.  There is no cost to apply for this determination.

A PBOT Engineer will review the segment and complete an engineering assessment.  The decision will be conveyed by email to applicant.  The decision will either accept the segment into maintenance or not.  If the segment is not accepted, the determination will state why.  The possible reasons why are:

1- Street width
2- Lack of a turnaround
3- Pavement condition

If the only reason why the segment was rejected is pavement condition, the next step is to do a formal assessment of the pavement through a Pavement Coring Permit.  (See below.)

If a segment is not accepted due to street width or the lack of a turnaround, street improvements will be needed in order to have the street accepted for maintenance.  Interested parties can either apply for a Public Works Permit to improve the segment or form a Local Improvement District where multiple property owners work together to improve the segment.  Please note that Local Improvement Districts are usually formed to fully improve a street segment including a paved roadway, sidewalks, storm water management, street trees, and lighting.  They are not a vehicle for providing only the minimum improvements needed to meet TRN 1.08 requirements to be accepted for maintenance.  If an applicant chooses to pursue a Public Works Permit to build only the improvements necessary to allow the street to be accepted for maintenance, improvements to full City standard or payment of the Local Transportation Infrastructure Charge may still be required at the time of development.  

Pavement Coring and Review

Please visit the Pavement Coring Permit website to apply for a coring permit.  Please note pavement coring should not be done without prior authorization of the coring locations.  

Once the pavement coring process is complete and the core samples have been reviewed, a decision will be emailed to the applicant for the coring permit.  That decision will state whether or not the street is accepted into maintenance.  If the street is not accepted, then it may be improved through either a Public Works Permit or a Local Improvement District.