Scenarios for Sidewalk Repair
Did you receive a Sidewalk Repair Notice?
Property owners’ responsibilities to repair sidewalks:
As in many other cities, the Portland City Code states that property owners must keep sidewalks in good repair so that they are free of tripping hazards and other safety hazards for pedestrians and people in wheelchairs. Transportation Bureau inspectors assess sidewalks and notify the property owner of needed repairs. In the event timely repairs are not made by the property owner, the Transportation Bureau hires a private contractor to make the repairs and bills the property owner for the costs.
Please follow the rest of this guide to learn how to proceed.
Are you a property owner and want to voluntarily repair your sidewalk?
- You can apply for a permit
- Please note these are not available for properties that have received a mandatory Sidewalk Repair Notice (described above).
- Please follow the rest of this guide to learn how to proceed.
Permit Refund Policy
If your permit:
- has a change in scope of work,
- has an error in the permit’s calculation, you may be able to request a refund from PBOT.
If we approve your refund on a same day payment, PBOT will void the MIP and your credit card account won't be charged.
If the permit has been processed through the bank, you'll need to complete and email a refund request for PBOT approval. PBOT sends approved refunds via check from the City of Portland, payable to the name listed on the Credit Card used for paying the MIP invoice. Refunds may take up to 60 days to process and are at the discretion of PBOT.
All refunds shall be at the discretion of Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Learn more about the Refund Policy on Permits Issued by Street Systems Management
Request a refund – Please email the request listing the MIP information and payee’s information, an application will be provided by staff PBOTsidewalkpermit@portlandoregon.gov
Inspections & Consultations
All repairs and construction within the public right-of-way require a passing final inspection before the permitted work is considered complete. An MIP requires an inspection of the concrete forms or pavement base before pouring concrete or paving and a second inspection after completing the permitted work. In some cases, your inspector may require any additional inspections that they deem necessary.
If tree roots are exposed by your repair and the tree roots or tree base would need to be cut or otherwise impacted to a make the repair then you will also need an inspection by the City Forester before you build your concrete forms or place your base. Based on their inspection, it may not be possible to cut or disturb the tree roots. If unable to cut the tree roots then you will need to consult with your Minor Improvement Permit inspector before you build your concrete forms or place your base.
The Minor Improvement Permit inspector is available for consultations before you get your permit by calling 503-823-7002x1. You can get answers to questions such as how extensive of a repair might be required, what areas of sidewalk don't meet City maintenance standards, and how to solve unique problems or address specific conflicts with existing infrastructure. The City Forestry inspector can be reached for questions regarding trees at 503-823-TREE (8733).
Resources for Sidewalk Repair
Sidewalk Maintenance Standards
1. Trip hazard
Sidewalks will be cited for repair when there is a vertical step separation equal to or greater than 1/2".
2. Openings or cracks
Sidewalks will be cited for repair when openings or holes in the sidewalk equal or exceed 1/2".
3. Spalling Sidewalks
Sidewalks will be cited for repair when the sidewalk surface is chipped or deteriorated to a depth equal or greater than 1/2".
Common Repairs and Damage
Replacement of damaged sidewalk panels
Replacement of damaged curb
Repair of curb-tight sidewalk
Damage caused by tree roots
The below standard drawings provide a reference for design and construction of sidewalk, curbs, and driveways. There are multiple standard drawings for driveways and the appropriate standard for your location will be selected City staff. The final design and construction details are determined by the inspector for your permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q. Why is the property owner responsible to repair and maintain the City's sidewalk?
A. Portland City Charter and Portland City Code both state that property owners are responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks and driveways abutting their property. Refer to the following website to view City Code 17.28.020 Responsibility for Sidewalks and Curb
2) Q. Why did I get a Sidewalk Repair Notice?
A. The Bureau of Transportation received a complaint of a hazardous condition at or nearby your property. Sidewalk Maintenance Program Policy and Operating Guidelines state that the Sidewalk Repair Inspector will inspect the general area, including the specific address of the initial complaint. In addition, pro-active inspections of sidewalk adjacent to corners may be done, as resources allow.
3) Q. What is considered a hazard?
A. As a general guideline, refer to the Sidewalk Problems Illustrated diagram. Note that these are general guidelines and the Sidewalk Repair Inspector will use his/her professional judgment to determine needed repairs.
4) Q. How much time do I have to make repairs?
A. City Charter requires the abutting property owner to "immediately" make the repairs. Portland City Code allows 60 days. A reminder notice will be mailed to the property owner after approximately 30 days. If repairs are not made after 60 days, the City contractor will make repairs and the City Revenue Division will bill the property owner.
5) Q. Areas on my Sidewalk Repair Notice are designated as obstructed sidewalk. What now?
A. If your Notice includes any areas of obstructed sidewalk, these must be cleared before obtaining a permit. Once all obstructions have been cleared, call for a re-inspection. If all obstructions have been cleared satisfactorily, you will be sent a revised notice detailing the areas of hazardous sidewalk. Permit fees are based on the square footage of needed repairs, and this process will reduce the cost.
6) Q. Can I make the repairs myself?
A. Yes. Repairs made by property owners and contractors must meet all City Specifications.
A Sidewalk Repair Manual is in the resources above and refer to Standard Drawings
7) Q. Why are contractors contacting me and how did they get my information?
A. Sidewalk Repair Notices are public records routinely requested by contractors. You may be contacted by contractors offering to do this work. Please be aware that there is no financial relationship between the City and private contractors, and that you are under no obligation to hire contractors that contact you.
8) Q. Is it possible to make repairs less than what is shown on the Sidewalk Repair Notice diagram?
A. If the repairs are done by the property owner, or a contractor hired by the property owner, it may be possible to make minimal repairs. These repairs require prior approval and may result in lower repair costs. If the City makes repairs on your behalf, such minimal repairs will not be made. All work done by the City, except for damage caused by tree roots, is guaranteed for 3 years. Per policy, the City will only make full square replacement (no grinding or partial square replacement).
9) Q. Do I need a permit and where do I get one?
A. Yes. Working in the City right-of-way requires a permit. Apply for a permit. Call 503-823-1711 if this option will not work for you, and other accommodations will be made.
10) Q. How much will the permit cost?
A. Permit fees are reviewed annually and are based on the square footage of sidewalk, driveway, and lineal feet of curb to be repaired. The current pricing for a permit is $.99 per square foot of sidewalk and driveway, and $1.47 per linear foot of curb with a $60.00 minimum and a $500.00 maximum.
11) Q. My contractor is asking for payment in full. How do I know the work satisfies City requirements?
A. The City of Portland does not recommend payment in full until the work passes a final inspection. A record of this should be provided by the contractor or call 503-823-1711.
12) Q. Are there financing options available?
A. If repairs are made by the City, for assessments up to $2,500, financing can be made for 5 or 10 years. For assessments over $2,500, financing can be made for 5, 10 or 20 years. A loan contract will be included with your assessment. Contact the City Revenue Division Liens Section at 503-823-4090, or email email@example.com for specific information.