• Getting Started

    Signs, awnings, banners and strobe lights located on private property and portable signs (commonly known as A-Boards) regardless of location are regulated by Title 32 (known as the sign code) of the Portland City Code.

     
    The Bureau of Development Services administers the sign code, and the Portland Department of Transportation (503) 823-5185 regulates signs located in the street right-of-way, other than portable signs (A-Boards). Signs attached to utility poles are addressed by section 17.64.040.A in Title 17 and enforcement is done through the Portland Department of Transportation.
     
    See section 32.62.010.A of the sign code for a listing of signs that are regulated by the sign code, but are exempt from permit and registration.
     
    Contacts:
    Sign Specialist for signs, awnings and banners located on private property (503) 823-7996
      Sign Specialist for portable (A-Board) signs only (503) 823-7324
    Mail / Location:
    City of Portland
    Bureau of Development Services
    1900
    SW 4th Ave, Suite 5000
    Portland, OR 97201

    There are 5 Sign Permits Types:
     
    (1) Sign Permits:
    Required for installing new permanent signs and for structurally altering or relocating existing permanent signs on private property. Except for certain portable signs, private signs are prohibited in street right-of-ways. Some private signs may project from a building into the street right-of-way. Indirect lighting (wall washing or backlit) for a sign requires a separate electrical permit. Types of signs include freestanding, monument, projecting, signs on awning, fascia/wall, painted wall/adhered, pitched roof and marquee. Signs are regulated by size (total area), height, placement, construction and wiring. Electrical components within a sign such as internal or neon lighting are covered by the sign permit, but to connect to it an electrical permit is required for the sign circuit. See section 32.32.010 for the sign standards in the residential and open space zones and section 32.32.020 for sign standards in the commercial, employment and industrial zones.

    Sign permit application form
     
    (2) Awning Permit:
    Required for installing a new awning, for adding to an existing awning, or structurally altering or relocating an existing awning on property. Awnings are permitted by completing a sign permit application. Lighting for awnings requires a separate electrical permit. Private awnings may project from buildings into the right-of-way, but must comply with the pedestrian clearance and right-of-way extension standards. See section 32.52 for additional information.

    Sign permit application

    (3) Temporary Banner/Balloon Registration:
    Required for hanging temporary banners and temporary balloon signs on private property. Some smaller banners (32 square feet and under) are exempt from both permit and registration requirements. Banners hung in the street right-of-ways are regulated by the Portland Office of Transportation . They can be reached at (503) 823-5185. See section 32.32.030 K for additional information.

    Temporary sign permit application
     
    (4) Portable Sign (sometimes known as A-Boards or Sandwich Boards) Registration:
    Required for all portable signs whether located on private property or in street right-of-way. See section 32.32.030 C.3 and section 32.32.030 G for additional information.
     
    Portable sign registration application form
     
    (5)Temporary Fascia/Wall Sign and Temporary Freestanding Sign Registration:
    Required for these signs when displayed for more than one year. See section 32.32.030 K for additional information.
     
    Temporary sign permit application

    Applying For My Permit

    A separate permit application is required for each sign or awning.

     
    The requirements for alteration to an existing sign are the same as for a new sign, however if the expansion of the new sign is 10% or less than the size/area of the existing sign, then no structural review will be required.
     
    Submit the following for a permanent sign or awning:
    For structural review, three (3) sets of detailed structural design drawings and one (1) set of calculations must be provided.
     
    For more information on elevation, site plan and structural design drawings, refer to pages 6-8 of the sign permits and awnings program guide.
     
    Submit the following for a temporary banner registration:
    Submit the following for a temporary fascia, freestanding or balloon sign registration:
    Submit the permit application to the Development Services Center in person or by mail.

    Plan Review Process

    Bureau staff will check the proposed sign or awning for consistency with sign code standards applicable to the zoning and use of the proposed sign location. Staff will also determine if additional reviews are needed for compliance with land use standards (e.g. adjustment or design review) or structural standards.

     
    When the proposed sign or awning has been determined to meet all requirements, fees are due and the permit or registration will be issued. Portable signs do not require a review process; application and fees should be submitted together.
     
    When the proposal requires a construction standard alternate review, engineering review or additional land use review, these reviews must be complete before the permit will be issued. Please allow additional time for these reviews.
     
    For more information on these additional reviews, refer to pages 4-6 of the sign permits and awnings program guide.

    Inspection Process

    The Bureau of Development Services commercial electrical inspections section inspects sign and awning permits.

     
    Inspections are required for all sign and awning permits. Call for inspections at the following points in the project:
    To request an inspection , call (503) 823-7000 and select:
    A special inspection may be required for complex signs as specified in the Oregon Structural Specialty Code. Notice will be given to the applicant as part of the engineering review process. When a special inspection is required, it must be performed by a City of Portland certified testing agency. For more information about  special inspections call (503) 823-7782.

    Applications & Handouts

    Applications

     

    Handouts