What is Portland's Gravel Street Service?
Portland has over 50 miles of gravel streets which are not maintained by the city. As a result, these streets are in bad shape, with large potholes and ruts. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched its Gravel Street Service as a cost-effective, short-term solution to help all those community members who have asked us to improve the condition of the gravel road they live on. This service is FREE for residents.
Our crews work on a three-year cycle, working from November through February and tackling different sections of the city each of those three years. Crews fill in ruts and potholes, then grade and gravel the street, leaving residents with a much smoother surface and making it easier for folks to get around their neighborhood and access where they live. PBOT crews then rotate back to where we started and begin the three-year cycle again. Last year, we smoothed out gravel streets in Southeast Portland (south of SE Division Street). This year we are working in North, Northeast, and Southeast Portland (north of SE Division Street).
After crews finish, property owners are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the street in front of their property. For more guidance about how to perform this maintenance, see our FAQ below.
Interactive Map of the Gravel Street Service
What can residents expect before and during the work?
Residents in the area will receive a letter letting you know when crews will be coming. Look for door hangers and "No Parking" signs which will be put out a few days before we start. While crews work, we will limit some parking and restrict traffic where we need to do our work safely and efficiently. PBOT crews typically work weekdays from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. In some cases, they may need to do some weekend work. Most streets take about 2 days, but could take longer depending on the length and condition of your street. Be prepared for dust and noise at times.
Will I be able to get to my house during the work?
Yes. Our crews will maintain access to your home during the project. Talk to one of the crew members, and they will assist you if you need.
How does PBOT fund this work?
Portland Gravel Street Service is currently funded by PBOT’s general transportation funding.
How can I maintain my own gravel street after your work is done?
Currently, property owners who live on gravel streets are responsible for maintaining a portion of the street that is in front of their property to the middle of the street. PBOT's Portland Gravel Street Service does not change this responsibility. PBOT will grade and gravel as part of Portland Gravel Street Service once every 3 years. In between services, property owners may maintain their portion of the street. Permits are not required, but property owners MUST still meet specific conditions in order to maintain the street abutting their property, including:
- The travel lane width of the unimproved portion of the street remains the same;
- There is no resulting change in existing drainage patterns outside the public right-of-way;
- Drainage-ways located within public rights-of-way are not filled in or otherwise altered in any manner that could impact the flow of water;
- The materials used for maintaining the street are equivalent to the existing street materials, except that gravel may be used to resurface a dirt road;
- Asphalt, concrete, or other man-made materials may not be applied to existing dirt or gravel surfaces, nor may existing dirt or gravel surfaces be converted to a paved surface;
- The maintenance activities and resulting condition of the street do not adversely affect surrounding properties;
- Trees in the public right-of-way are not removed or pruned unless a tree permit has been obtained as provided in Title 11, Trees; and
- Speed bumps or other types of devices intended to slow traffic are not constructed.
View before-and-after pictures of Portland Gravel Street Service
Download PBOT's community involvement study (August 2016 - October 2017)
Covid-19 and Construction Work
The start of the pandemic forced a delay in our service as we adjusted our staffing and work activities to ensure our crews’ safety during the public health emergency. With new procedures in place to protect our crews and fellow Portlanders, we have now resumed the Gravel Street Service. We're focused on delivering critical repairs and maintenance while taking specific steps to keep our workforce safe. These include modified shifts, physical distancing, and other precautions based on current guidelines from local, state, and federal health officials. Thank you for giving our crews the space and time they need to keep our city moving.