Public Works Alternative Review Process

Explains the process for a public works alternative review.
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You may submit your Public Works Administrative Alternative Review Requests by email. See below for instructions


Public Works (PW) Alternative Reviews apply to the City requirements for improvements made to the public right of way as part of a Public Works Permit. This process is not to be used to alter technical requirements that are part of a public works permitsee the Design Exception process instructions, form, and fee schedule.

Anyone who has received a decision from the Public Works Bureaus (Water, Transportation, and Environmental Services) as a result of a building permit review (CO, DR, MI, RS, SD),  a land use review (LU), an early assistance review (EA or PW Inquiry), a public registry review (PR), or a public works inquiry (WI) may request an alternative review. If the alternative review request is being filed against a building permit review (CO, DR, MI, RS, SD) and it has been identified that a public works permit will be required to construct improvements, then an early assistance review (EA or PW Inquiry) must also be completed before filing.

A Public Works Alternative Review does not alter recorded land use decisions, or final plat requirements set by a recorded land use decision, and a new or amended land use review may be required to incorporate changes from an approved Public Works Alternative Review.

The following actions are not subject to alternative review:
-approval or denial of requests for design exceptions
-previously established City standards and specifications
-system development charge assessments
-and matters subject to the authority of any other City appeal body, including land use appeals and building code appeals.

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Alternative Review Process

The Public Works Alternative Review process allows an applicant to submit an alternative review request to the Public Works Alternative Review Committee to consider the proposed alternatives that are provided in the request by the applicant. Public Works Alternative Review requests that are submitted by 5pm on Wednesday will be reviewed 14 days later. A review may be deferred for hearing at a later date due to the number of reviews scheduled, the completion of preliminary reviews by the public works bureaus, the complexity of the request being submitted, or other unforeseen factors. A fee of $250 is required.

The review of a Public Works Alternative Review request will not always result in an immediate decision. The Public Works Alternative Review Committee may seek additional information from the applicant, provide advice to the applicant, seek additional information from other City Bureaus, or complete additional reviews before a final decision is made.

When a final decision has been made, the applicant may choose to appeal that decision to the Public Works Appeal Panel.  Early Assistance and Public Works Inquiry responses are not considered final decisions and are not appealable.

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Prepare Your Request

A complete Public Works Alternative Review consists of:

  1. Public Works Alternative Review request form
  2. Supporting materials such as maps, drawings, plans, reports, and analyses
  3. $250.00 fee

The request form provides the primary information from which the Public Works Alternative Review Committee will make a decision. It is critical that information provided on this form be clear, concise, accurate and complete.

Reason for Request - The applicant must demonstrate that conditions exist that make constructing the required right-of-way improvements impractical or infeasible. A list of optional documentation is included in Section F of TRN 1.27. The ARC will consider alternative improvements to address any of the common site constraints listed in Section E of TRN 1.27. Additional unique site constraints may be considered on a site-by-site basis.

Supporting materials - 11”x17” maximum page size: Maps, drawings, and plans should provide sufficient information to detail the areas that are being reviewed as well as any areas that may be affected by or that may affect the review. Reports, analyses, and other data should be included only if they will help to clarify the request and make it easier for the committee to understand the conditions for which an alternative is being sought or the reasons for the request.

The $250.00 fee is due at the time the request is submitted and must be paid before the request is accepted as complete. Payments can be made online.  Please see next section below .

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How to File Your Request

You may submit your Request for a Public Works Administrative Alternative Review by email only. 

You can email your Request form to and we will send you a case number and IVR so you can pay the $250 fee online.  Payment of the $250 fee can be made online by visiting the City of Portland DevHub.

 First time users will need to create a Portland Online account. If you are an existing customer with the City of Portland, you can login with those credentials. To pay the fee, navigate to the “View/Pay Fees” tab. Search for your IVRThis should pull up your Request for Public Works Alternative Review. You can then follow the prompts for paying the fee. 

 Once your payment has been received, your Request will be processed for review.

 For questions regarding request submittal, please email

 Requests will be screened for completeness. Submittal of inaccurate or incomplete forms may cause a delay in reviewing the request.

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Alternative Review Decisions

The review time is approximately two weeks after submittal of the request and the decision can take an additional two weeks. Decisions are usually available by viewing Permits/Cases for the project site on PortlandMaps. The full decision will be emailed to the applicant.

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The Public Works Alternative Review program can be contacted by email at


Public Works Alternative Review

pwaltreview@portlandoregon.govSubmit your request for or questions regarding a public works administrative alternative review to this email.