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Guide to outdoor dining permits (Healthy Businesses, Street Seats, Sidewalk Café)

People walking on sidewalk next to an outdoor dining structure located in the right-of-way. It is evening and there are string lights.
Guide for Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) permits to use sidewalk or street space for outdoor dining. Current permits called “Healthy Businesses,” a pandemic-era program. New Sidewalk Café or Street Seats permits will be under new Outdoor Dining program, pending council approval.
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*NEW* Draft design guidelines for future outdoor dining program

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) developed design guidelines for outdoor dining permits based on engagement with the local business community and other stakeholders. These guidelines will ensure that outdoor dining spaces in the street or sidewalk have access for people with disabilities, emergency response vehicles, public transit, and loading zones. The guidelines also address street safety hazards. The draft guidelines will help permit holders understand what will ultimately be required under PBOT's new permanent Outdoor Dining Program. Download the draft below:

Overview of current Healthy Businesses permit

Businesses are required to have a Healthy Businesses permit to have food or beverage service in city right-of-way and to take up portion of the sidewalk, parking, street, alley, etc. Here's what businesses should know before applying:

  • Access for pedestrians and people with disabilities must be maintained at all times. A clear 6-foot pedestrian path is required throughout the sidewalk at all times and no obstructions may be placed in this zone at any time.
  • PBOT encourages businesses to coordinate with neighboring businesses and organizations first before applying.
  • Area business districts and associations may be able to help provide insurance, traffic control devices, or other requirements of the Healthy Business permit.  Find your business district or association using this map 
  • Items and equipment (including traffic control devices) cannot be attached or adhered to the sidewalk, streets, curb, utility pole, or other City infrastructure. Permit holders cannot alter any infrastructure in the right-of-way.
  • Permit holders are responsible for maintaining the area around their installation. If a parking space is used, permit holders must clean debris from the area under and around as needed
  • Businesses must ensure that there is always access for people to line up and use transit stops.
  • Because this program is temporary, businesses may not relocate fixed infrastructure such as bike racks to make more room in the right-of-way, nor is PBOT able to accommodate such requests.
  • All streets will require some combination of traffic control equipment to separate people and vehicles. Parking lanes are typically 8 feet wide; 7 feet may be used for the installation with the remaining foot to be used for traffic control or other approved buffering materials. Streets with higher speed limits (25 mph or higher) will require more.  

How to apply for current Healthy Businesses permits

Applications for permits for the September 2022 - December 2023 cycle remain in place. Visit the application page here:

Apply for a Healthy Businesses permit 

These permits are good through Dec. 31, 2023. 

Current requirements for Healthy Businesses permits

See our current design guidelines and permit conditions, as well as a detailed guide to making your space compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the links below:

Healthy Businesses design guidelines and permit conditions

Making outdoor dining spaces ADA-compliant

Be sure to visit our other pages about PBOT's insurance requirements and standards, basic traffic control devices, and a partial list of vendors here:

PBOT’s insurance requirements and standards

Basic traffic control devices and vendors

Sign up for email updates

Stay up to date on the latest news and information about the existing Healthy Businesses permit and PBOT's new permit Outdoor Dining program.

Click here to sign up for email updates

History of the Healthy Businesses permit

The Healthy Businesses Permitting Program began as an emergency response that allowed for free, temporary permits with relaxed conditions. In 2020, Portland's Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) quickly responded and prioritized restaurants, retail, and others shifting to outdoor spaces without requiring an inspection for adherence to the written requirements that came with the permits.

Thanks to action by City Council in May 2022, the program is transitioning from short-term pandemic response to a long-term program.

Permits are temporary and revocable.

For information about using parking lots and other private property, visit the Bureau of Development Services.

The Healthy Businesses program was funded by Portland’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan, a federal economic stimulus bill designed to help communities recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession. The City of Portland is receiving $208 million of local recovery funds. Investments focus on three key priorities: houselessness response and household stabilization, business and commercial district stabilization, and community health and safety. For more information, go to