What is the Healthy Businesses permit?

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road to recovery
The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Healthy Businesses permit allows temporary changes to streets to give people more space to conduct business safely. The permits that expired June 30 were extended at no charge through Aug. 30, 2022. A new permit cycle begins on Sept. 1.
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Updated April 28, 2022, with links to PBOT's new guidance for making Healthy Businesses spaces ADA compliant.

Updated July 1, 2022, with information about upcoming changes.

Updated July 27, 2022, to announce that applications for Sept. 1 are now open.

Healthy Businesses permits - updates

Current permits extended through Aug. 31, 2022

The free Healthy Businesses permits that expired June 30 have been extended at no charge through Aug. 31, 2022, allowing more time for the city and businesses to transition to the next phase of the program. If you had an active permit before June 30, you should have received a new permit that has been extended through Aug. 31. If you have not, please reach out to PBOTBusinessToolkit@portlandoregon.gov.

September 2022 – December 2023 permit cycle

Applications for permits that start Sept. 1 are now open!

Apply for a Healthy Businesses permit 

Permits starting Sept. 1, 2022 will be good through Dec. 31, 2023. 

2022 program update timeline 

April – ADA requirements published and emailed to all permit holders 

June 30 – Current permits extended to Aug. 31

July 27 – Applications for new permit cycle open

Aug. 31 – Current permits expire 

Sept. 1 – New permit cycle begins

Current permit requirements 

Healthy Businesses design guidelines and permit conditions

ADA compliance

All Healthy Businesses spaces must be accessible for persons with disabilities. This includes PBOT requirements like keeping a clear, 6-foot-wide path of travel on the sidewalk and ADA design requirements like providing accessible seating. Our guide to making Healthy Businesses spaces ADA compliant can help you assess your permitted space for some of the most common barriers to access.

Important conditions for construction and utility conflicts.

Given the large volume of utilities that exist above, at, and below the surface of the right-of-way, we anticipate that some Healthy Business installations will need to be inactive or moved to accommodate needed utility improvements/repairs. During the permit application process, PBOT will review for any known conflicts. Healthy Business installations may be reopened once utility work/construction is complete.  

In an after-hours emergency, your installation 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.

Side Street Plaza - mandatory emergency lane.

Side street plazas are required to maintain a continuous 12-foot unobstructed pathway from one end of the plaza to the other, allowing for emergency vehicle access. Barricades should remain in place at both ends of the closure, as indicated in the sites approved traffic control plan (included with the permit).  The Fire Marshal's Office may issue a $500 fine on the spot for any permit holder that is not in compliance. 

Starting Sept. 1, 2022 

Fees. Application and permit fees apply to permits valid after Sept. 1. This important change to the program ensures that PBOT can continue providing technical assistance to permit holders – and it reflects the fact that our public streets are a valuable part of the shared fabric of the city. However, fees will be kept low for the next year thanks to Council-directed funding from the American Rescue Plan. This will give permittees time to transition to the new cost structure.

Fees for Healthy Businesses permits

Neighbor consent. New applicants (those who do not have a permit valid through Aug. 31) will be required to submit a signed Neighbor Consent Form if their proposed permitted area extends in front of the neighbor’s frontage.

Moving toward a permanent program

At this time, PBOT is re-evaluating design standards. Draft design guidelines for the permit cycle beginning Jan. 1, 2024, will be available for review and public comment later this year. These guidelines will ensure access for people with disabilities, emergency response, public transit operations, and loading zones and address street safety hazards. The draft guidelines will help permit holders understand what will ultimately be required under the permanent program goals and requirements. In the meantime, PBOT staff may assess whether your site contains any critical safety hazards or presents barriers that limit access for people with disabilities.

Existing full-street and lane-width plaza permits will be re-considered and renewed this fall. During the renewal process, PBOT staff will be in contact about options available and how plazas can accommodate access for the public and people with disabilities.


What is 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.

American Rescue Plan

This project is 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 Portland.gov/United.


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.

If all you want is to reserve a parking space for temporary pickup/drop-off for you and your customers, you can request a 5-Minute Fast Stop by emailing PBOTParkingControl@portlandoregon.gov


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?

  • 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.
  • 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 pickup/drop-off zone for your block, email PBOTParkingControl@portlandoregon.gov. For more information about permanent Fast Stop locations, please visit
    5-Minute Fast Stop Parking Zones
  • In some cases, 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. 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.  

Is insurance required?   

YES. Please visit our insurance page to find out the most current insurance requirements and standards.

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


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.


Application

Apply for a Healthy Businesses permit


Equity, nondiscrimination, and meaningful access

The City of Portland is committed to equity and meaningful access, and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, source of income, or familial status in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. To request translation, interpretation, accommodations, modifications, or other auxiliary aids or services, or to file a complaint of discrimination, contact 503-823-5185 or 311 (503-823-4000), for Relay Service & TTY: 711.

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Contact

PBOT Business Toolkit team

Safe Streets Initiative
phone number503-823-4026Contact with questions before applying, or about your permit.