What is a Healthy Blocks permit?
Healthy Blocks are intended to provide more space for neighbors – to walk, roll, bike, play, and socialize while physically distanced. The Healthy Block permit allows residents to temporarily close a street to create more outdoor recreation space for people to enjoy while following social distancing guidelines. This will not prevent local access, deliveries, waste pickup, or emergency vehicles.
Healthy Blocks must be free and open to the public. Private events or gatherings are not allowed.
All proposals and use of these permits must align with state and county health guidance related to Covid-19. See state and county links below:
Who can apply?
Residents may apply to use their street for Healthy Blocks activities up to 8 hours per week (maximum 2 days, such as Friday 4 - 6 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.).
What is expected? What should residents know before applying?
Healthy Blocks must:
- Be free and open to the general public
- Be on a street classified as "Local Service Traffic." Find your street classification using PBOT's Transportation System Plan street classification map.
- Be on a block that is not part of a bus or transit route.
- Take place between 9 a.m. and dusk, not to exceed 8 hours per week. This is inclusive of any setup or cleanup time. Permits may be extended until 9 p.m. only if retro-reflective materials are used for traffic control.
- Please note: Healthy Blocks applications take 7-15 business days to process. Please keep this in mind when applying.
- Size. Healthy Blocks may span up to 2 blocks, but intersections must remain open. It will take us longer to review applications to close multiple blocks.
- Insurance. Insurance is optional for this type of street closure, but you may want to insure your Healthy Blocks permit through a homeowners policy, a special rider, or a special event policy many insurance agencies put together. Remember any type of "event" must be free and open to the general public. The city also makes liability insurance available through a Tenant Users Liability Policy (TULIP). More information on TULIP here.
- Notification to neighbors. We encourage everyone to talk to their neighbors first before applying for a permit. This will help with scheduling and ensure you're not conflicting with any construction or other event that might bring extra vehicles to your block. Once you've applied, you are required to notify all residents on the block(s) at least 2 days before your permit starts. Talking to neighbors before you apply counts as notification. Download our Healthy Blocks flyer template, or create one of your own with the same information:
- Setup and breakdown. A detailed traffic control plan will be included with your permit, including information about what barricades are required, special requirements for when you can use household items (such as garbage bins) as a form of barricade (daylight hours only), where "Street Closed" signs must go, and other requirements. This will also detail when you can start setting up, and when you are required to break everything down and have the street open again. If streets are inactive they must be reopened for regular use.
- Street Paintings. Healthy Blocks for street painting projects may close up to 4 blocks for an intersection painting and are allowed 16 hours in a single week.
Additional permits that may be required
Healthy Blocks permits are for the use of the right-of-way and shall not exempt the permittee from obtaining any license or permit as required by 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. Please review these other requirements and guidance:
- ADA and accessibility requirements for public accommodations
- Multnomah County updates on Covid-19
- Office of Community & Civic Life Noise Control Program and Cannabis Program
- Oregon statewide guidance on Covid-19
- Oregon Health Authority updates on Covid-19
Where to buy or rent traffic control devices
Under certain conditions, such as during daylight hours, you may be able to use household items (such as garbage bins, with reflective tape) as a form of traffic control. Refer to your permit on what is or is not allowed, and the exact requirements for fire lanes, etc. Closures past dusk will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Permits for closures after dusk will require additional traffic control devices with warning lights. For a partial list of vendors and descriptions of types of traffic control, visit PBOT's resource page:
Questions before applying or about your permit?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-823-4003
To report a problem with an installation or to give us feedback on how PBOT’s Healthy Blocks program is going, please fill out PBOT's Healthy Blocks - Feedback Form