COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: Extreme Risk

What is the Healthy Businesses permit?

The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Healthy Businesses permit allows temporary changes to streets to give people more space to conduct business safely amid our current public health crisis. Original permits expire Nov. 1, 2020. Applications for Winter Healthy Businesses permits now open.

On this page

Sign up for email updates

Stay up to date on the latest news and information about Healthy Businesses

Click here to sign up for email updates

Updated Friday, Oct. 2 with Winter Healthy Businesses permit information 

*NEW* Winter Healthy Businesses permits 

All current Healthy Businesses permits are set to expire Nov. 1, 2020. To ensure businesses can stay open in a way that serves their customers through fall and winter, PBOT created the Winter Healthy Businesses permit. These new permits are FREE and will last through March 31, 2021

Important new conditions for electrical, tents, and other equipment. Many businesses will look to provide heat, more lighting, or generally shield their customers or merchandise from rain or harsher weather these next few months. Here are important conditions on your permit to keep in mind: 

  • You must keep 6 feet of sidewalk space clear for pedestrians at all times.  

  • You must keep cords for lighting or electricity at least 10 feet above the sidewalk or, if on the sidewalk, under ADA-compliant cord-protector ramps.  

  • Heaters must comply with requirements from the Fire Marshal’s Office 

  • You may have temporary tents and canopies next to buildings if you keep the 6-foot pedestrian through-zone clear. 

  • You may have freestanding tents in some parking spaces, but these will NOT BE ALLOWED within 50 feet of intersections for safety and visibility reasons. You must request an exemption to this rule. Portland Fire & Rescue’s Fire Marshal’s Office has also released guidance on tents and other safety considerations for businesses

  • You may not attach equipment to any utility pole, light pole, street sign, other infrastructure, or to the surface of the street or sidewalk. 

  • You must secure or remove your equipment as necessary during severe weather events such as wind, ice, or snow. 

For more detail visit: 

What is the Healthy Businesses permit?

Part of PBOT's Safe Streets Initiative, the Business Toolkit is intended to help businesses and organizations meet the requirements for physical distancing to limit the spread of Covid-19. PBOT recognizes that sidewalks and streets play an important role in providing space for people to safely access goods and services. Part of this toolkit is the Healthy Businesses permit for larger use of the public right-of-way, with ongoing guidance from state and county health officials.

This program is contingent on Multnomah County remaining in Phase 1 of reopening. Permits are temporary and revocable.

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

Do I need a Healthy Businesses permit for my business to operate in the right-of-way?

For food and beverage service, YES.

To take up portions of the sidewalk, parking, street, alley, etc., YES.

For some minor use of the sidewalk, NO. If pedestrians can safely pass in compliance with current health guidance and current ADA standards, permits are not required for:  

  • Sidewalk markings that guide people lining up such as with chalk, tape, stickers/decals, or paint 

  • Portable tables for people to check in, order, pick up, or distribute disposable masks 

  • Hygiene stations for handwashing, hand sanitizing, or for sanitization of menus and other items 

  • Portable merchandise displays, such as rolling carts or racks 

If all you want is to reserve a parking space for temporary pickup/drop-off for you and your customers, visit Apply for a temporary pickup/drop-off permit

What should businesses consider first?

Whether you are looking for a solution for a single business or a whole block, PBOT's Business Toolkit team will work with you to find the best option for your location. We encourage businesses to work together to find solutions that will work for multiple businesses. 

Healthy Businesses 4 designs

What is expected? What should businesses know before applying?

  • 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 
  • Businesses must keep the public right-of-way open for pedestrians and people with disabilities at all times.
  • 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.
  • Where appropriate, parking along an entire block face may be used to support businesses. If all you want to do is convert a single parking space into a temporary pickup/drop-off zone for your block, visit Apply for a temporary pickup/drop-off parking space for your business
  • In some cases, travel lanes or entire streets may be closed to create space for commercial activity.
  • We may consider permitting temporary plazas or patios on or near streets with significant commercial activity and demand for space. 
  • All streets will require some combination of traffic control equipment to separate people and vehicles. Streets with higher speed limits (30 mph or higher) will require more.  

Is insurance required?   

You do not need insurance BEFORE applying. PBOT will require insurance for all permits we issue in the right-of-way. This helps protect the permit-holder and the City of Portland in the case of accidents or damage. Visit:

PBOT’s insurance requirements and standards

If traffic control is required, where can supplies be bought or rented? 

For a partial list of vendors and descriptions of types of traffic control, visit:

Basic traffic control devices and vendors

Organizations providing additional resources 

In addition to business districts and associations, these organizations may be providing resources and support during the Covid-19 pandemic:  

Companies providing additional resources

These companies have offered free, discounted, or at-cost support to Healthy Businesses applicants and permit-holders. These are only suggestions and not required for a permit. The City of Portland makes no guarantees as to the quality, workmanship, or ability to deliver.  

If you are a company that wants to provide resources or support, visit Sign up to provide support for the Healthy Businesses program

This list will be updated weekly:

  • Miller Paint is providing up to a 30% discount on paint for the purpose of street painting for Healthy Businesses permits. Place orders through any Miller Paint store for this discount. Say you have a Healthy Businesses permit and provide permit information when you place your order.

  • Portland State University's Center for Public Interest Design (CPID) is helping permit-holders connect with free professional design services and firms to support installing plazas. Partnering firms offering support include Anderson Construction, GBD Architects, HolstPLACE, SERA Architects, and SRG Partnership. Groups of businesses or districts can contact PBOT staff Greg Raisman at 503-823-1052 or greg.raisman@portlandoregon.gov to be matched with an architect or design firm. Individual businesses owned by people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander, or People of Color may also reach out to Greg for support with permit applications or installation.

Contact us

Questions before applying or about your permit? Other ideas for businesses using the public right-of-way? Contact the PBOT Business Toolkit team at 503-823-4026 or PBOTBusinessToolkit@portlandoregon.gov  

To report a problem with an installation or to give us feedback on how PBOT’s Healthy Businesses program is going, please fill out PBOT's Healthy Businesses - Feedback Form


Apply for a Healthy Businesses permit

Translated information about the Healthy Businesses permit

Chinese (Simplified):

русский (Russian)

Español (Spanish)

Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)