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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Gravel Residential Streets

  • Traditional residential street design Click here to view more street design options

  • View of a shared residential street design All street users have the benefit of sharing paved roadways

There are about 50 miles of unpaved dirt and gravel streets in Portland and most of these are on residential streets. Unimproved streets provide poor accessibility, particularly for pedestrians, and can reduce neighborhood livability.

Adjacent property owners are responsible for building new or improving existing residential streets, either as a requirement of infill development or through a Local Improvement District (LID).

Infill development happens sporadically and often these improvements are left disconnected from the rest of the street system. It can take many years for development to complete the connections.

Additionally, few dirt and gravel streets are being improved through LID's. The costs of building a full street improvement, including curbs, sidewalks on both sides of the street, and a stormwater system, can be out of reach for some property owners.

A new approach is needed to help pave these streets and get pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and residents up out of the mud and gravel. To make it easier for property owners to improve dirt and gravel streets with at least an asphalt surface, new design standards were developed with the intent to lower the cost of improvements. Streets that meet the following minimum criteria may qualify for the new design options:

  • Zoned for single family residential development (R5-R7)
  • Classified as a “Local Street” for all modes in the Transportation System Plan (TSP).
  • Not in a “Pedestrian District” (classification in the TSP)

To find out if your street may qualify for one of these options, contact Barbara Plummer at or 503-823-4584.

Maintaining your gravel street

In most case, the City does not maintain unimproved or gravel streets and adjacent proprty owners are responsible for maintenance. Here are some options for maintaining or improving your street.