Design requirements and conditions for current Healthy Businesses permits

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) design requirements and conditions for current Healthy Businesses permit holders (September 2022 – December 2023 cycle). See updates below for information on draft guidelines for new permanent Outdoor Dining program, pending council approval.
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Critical updates

Updated Aug. 17, 2023: pending council approval, the current pandemic-era Healthy Businesses program will be phased out and replaced with a new permanent Outdoor Dining program. Visit our Guide to outdoor dining permits page for more information and to download new draft design guidelines under consideration.

Updated April 28, 2022: this page has been updated with links to our supplementary guidance on Making outdoor dining spaces ADA-compliant.

Design requirements for sidewalk use

Access for pedestrians and people with disabilities must be maintained at all times. On the sidewalk, 6 ft of safe, clear pedestrian path is always required. Tables, chairs, and other equipment must not be placed within it.

Six feet of sidewalk width must remain clear and accessible for pedestrian access along the entire sidewalk, not including impediments like trees and landscaped areas. No obstructions may be located within this pedestrian through zone, including furniture, heaters, or other equipment. Tents may not be placed over this area. 

Tents that do not cover or impact the 6-foot pedestrian through zone may be placed next to the building or property, pending traffic engineer review.  Tents may not be placed on the sidewalk next to the curb, unless part of a tent in a permitted parking space. 

Permit holders are responsible for maintaining the area around their installation.

String lighting may cross the pedestrian through zone if over 10 feet above the sidewalk. Lighting may not be attached to any utility pole, light pole, street sign, or other infrastructure. If tents or awnings are observed to have reduced visibility for pedestrians, additional lighting may be required. 

Electrical cords may cross the pedestrian through zone if installed a minimum of 10 feet above the sidewalk or on the sidewalk under ADA compliant cord protector ramps. Cords shall not be attached to any utility pole, light pole, street sign, or other infrastructure. 

Utility infrastructure, including vaults and cabinets, shall be made accessible upon request.  

A-Board signs are not permitted under a Healthy Business Permit and cannot be placed within the Clear Pedestrian Zone. These signs require a separate permit that can be obtained from the Bureau of Development Services Trade permits group. They can be contacted at 503-823-7363. 

Permitted area is not to be used for storing items such as the following: containers of solid waste, recycling, or compostables, propane tanks, etc. (list is not exhaustive). 

Design requirements for use of parking spaces

For streets with speed limits over 25 mph you must create a Traffic Control Plan with PBOT for the conditions. (find speed limits here)

For streets with speed limits of 25 mph or lower, here is what's required for traffic control:

  • Next to the vehicle travel lane, provide a minimum of 1 foot of space for traffic control devices. Please note: parking spaces are typically 8 ft wide, for information about a particular space, please contact PBOT staff. This buffer space cannot be occupied or used for any other function. 
  • Permit-holder shall provide traffic control devices to delineate space from vehicle travel, using any of the following traffic control devices: 
    • Fencing, barrels, planters, stanchions 
    • Traffic cones, candle stick delineators, wave delineators 
    • Traffic control devices are required at each corner of the permitted space at minimum. Devices that are not continuous must be connected to provide a continuous delineation from vehicle lanes and parking spaces using metal or plastic chaining, rope, caution tape, or similar equipment. 
  • Traffic control device facing oncoming vehicles shall include reflectivity. Reflectivity shall be a minimum of 12 inches in vertical length and cannot be in the shape of any symbol. Any diagonal lines must slope down towards the vehicle lane. Additional traffic cones or candlestick delineators may be added to alert drivers.

Height Restrictions

For spaces within 50 feet of an intersection (measured from an official flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control device):

  • Items up to 6 feet tall are allowed within 4 feet of the sidewalk, curb, or edge of pavement. 
  • Items up to 3 feet tall are allowed in the remaining 3 feet adjacent to the vehicle lane.  
  • TENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED WITHIN 50 FEET OF INTERSECTIONS. Exceptions may be requested by contacting

For spaces more than 50 feet from an intersection:

  • Freestanding temporary tents are allowed and must have a minimum clearance height of 7.5 feet above the walking surface. Tents may partially cover the sidewalk (maintaining the same minimum clearance over sidewalk); each location must be approved by a City traffic engineer. Tents must not cover the 6-foot pedestrian through zone. Exceptions may be requested by contacting
parking plaza graphic showing design requirements
Design requirements graphics


Platforms may be installed. 

  • Platforms shall not impede stormwater gutter flow. 
  • Platforms that create accessible access are encouraged. 
  • Utility equipment shall be made accessible upon request.  

Umbrellas must have a weighted base. 

Tents must be weighted but may not be secured to the street or sidewalk. 

** Items and equipment (including traffic control devices) cannot be attached or adhered to the sidewalk, streets, curb, utility pole, light pole, or other infrastructure. Permit holders cannot alter any infrastructure in the right-of-way.**

Lighting is allowed but must not be distracting to drivers. Blinking lights and lights similar to traffic signals are prohibited. 

Heaters shall comply with requirements from the Fire Marshal's Office. Propane heaters require a permit and are not allowed under tents without approval from the Fire Marshal's Office.  

Permitted area is not to be used for storing items such as the following: containers of solid waste, recycling, or compostables, propane tanks, etc. (list is not exhaustive). 

Permit holders are responsible for maintaining the area around their installation.

Maintenance: Permit-holders may be required to remove or relocate installations for maintenance and construction activities, including emergency and utility work.” When you apply for a permit, we review for any known conflicts and will help coordinate any future utility or maintenance projects. New: In an after-hours emergency, your structure may need to be moved by the City of Portland. While reasonable efforts will be made to avoid damage to the structure given the nature of the emergency, the City of Portland is not responsible for any damages incurred due to the moving. 

Design requirements for street plazas using vehicle lanes

Permit-holders must comply with the Site Plan and approved Traffic Control Plan, including the provision of all specified traffic control devices and the provision of an 12-foot minimum width access lane for emergency vehicles.  

Traffic control devices may not be adhered, attached, or anchored to the street or sidewalk, utility poles, light poles, or other infrastructure.  

Sidewalks must continue to allow pedestrian travel. People on bikes must be allowed through permitted space. 

Equipment in the permitted space may not be adhered, attached, or anchored to the street, sidewalk utility pole, light pole, or other infrastructure.  

To request changes to the site plan, contact

Winter weather, maintenance, and construction

Storm drains: Permit-holders should ensure that nearby storm drains are cleared of leaves to prevent pools of water at permitted spaces. 

Leaf Day service: If you're in a Leaf District, all equipment in parking spaces must be removed on Leaf Days. Visit our Leaf Day page for more information on service districts and dates.

Storms and wind: Furniture and tents must be secured or removed when wind is expected, to prevent items from blowing into vehicle lanes or onto the sidewalk. 

Snow and ice: Tents must be removed when snow or ice is expected. Permit-holders may want to remove other equipment to prevent the accumulation of sand, gravel, and snow from plows and other maintenance activities. Visit our Winter Weather Center for info on snow and ice routes.

Maintenance: Permit-holders may be required to remove or relocate installations for maintenance and construction activities, including emergency and utility work. 

Other permit requirements

This permit is for the use of the right-of-way and shall not exempt the permittee from obtaining any license or permit as required by the City Code or Ordinances for any act to be performed under this permit, nor shall this permit waive the provisions of any City Code, Ordinance or the City Charter except as stated on permit.  

Permit Conditions


This permit does not guarantee a certain amount of square footage or specific location in the public right of way for the duration of the Healthy Business permit time period. If there are potential conflicting uses (such as emergency construction or planned maintenance work) or additional requests for Healthy Business permits in the same block, PBOT will work with all users of the right of way to accommodate all uses and will modify permits accordingly.  

Nothing contained herein shall limit the authority of the Bureau of Police and the Bureau of Transportation in maintaining the public peace and safety and upon a request of said Bureaus, the permittee shall immediately reopen the street to its normal use. This permit is revocable at any time by the City Traffic Engineer or their appointees any time in the event the public’s need requires it, or the permittee fails to comply with the conditions of this permit, and no expenditure of money hereunder, lapse of time, or any other act or thing shall operate as an estoppel against the City of Portland, or be held to give the permittee any vested or other right.  

This permit to use the street area and the stamped approved traffic control plan and/or site plan as applicable shall be on site and available for inspection by City of Portland representatives as requested during the duration of the permit, including additional permits and licenses as required. Insurance must be maintained for the duration of the permit.  

The permittee shall, at their own expense, be responsible for cleaning the area around the closure and opening the street to vehicular traffic prior to the ending time on this permit. Upon expiration of this permit the permittee shall immediately reopen said street to the normal use of the public. 

The permit granted is personal to the permittee only, and may not be transferred, assigned, or otherwise conveyed. Healthy Business permits require insurance that shall be kept in full force and in effect at all times this permit is valid. Permit Holder shall obtain Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) covering bodily injury and property issued on an occurrence basis of not less than $1,000,000 for each occurrence, $1,000,000 Personal Injury/Advertising Injury and $2,000,000 General Aggregate. This permit is automatically revoked without further action by the Director of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation if this insurance is permitted to lapse, is canceled, or for any reason becomes inoperative during the term of this permit.  

The permittee shall be liable to any person who is injured or otherwise suffers damage by reason of the permittee’s failure to keep the permitted area in safe condition and good repair or properly secured. Furthermore, the permittee shall be liable to the City, it’s officers, agents and employees, for any judgment or expense incurred or paid by the City, it’s officers, agents or employees, by reason of the existence of any structure in the right-of-way covered by this permit. The permittee shall defend and hold harmless the City of Portland, its officers, agents and employees from all claims for damages to persons or property, including legal fees and costs of defending any actions or suits, including any appeals, which may result from the use of the street area under this permit.  


Tents - can provide a dry place for customer waiting and service but can also make it hard to see signs and pedestrians. Conditions referencing tents apply to tents, canopies, and similar membrane structures. 

Pedestrian throughzone – a minimum safe, clear 6-foot-wide area throughout the sidewalk to allow for safe pedestrian and people with disabilities passage.

Contact us with any questions

Contact PBOT's Business Toolkit team: