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Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300

TTY : 503-823-6868

1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

(Printable Version)

What is Permits Online?

Permits Online is a website developed and maintained by the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services. It provides a quick, easy alternative for contractors and homeowners to purchase simple electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits that do not require plan review. Forget driving Downtown and finding a place to park – forget waiting in line! Once you have successfully completed your application and your permit has been issued, a copy of your permit will be sent to you via email attachment - that's it – that's all there is to it!


When is Permits Online available?

Permits Online is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Like any other website, there is an occasional need for maintenance. We try to schedule maintenance on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and noon. If other non-routine maintenance is required, we will post a message at the top of the BDS Permits Online webpage. We recommend you bookmark this page.


How do I access Permits Online?

To access the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services online permitting system use the BDS web address: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds, and choose the Quick Link, from the list on the left side of the page: Apply for an Online Permit.


What are the minimum system requirements to use Permits Online?

1.  One of the following browsers:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.02.28
  • Mozilla Firefox 0.8
  • Netscape 7.1

2.  A credit card: VISA or MasterCard

3.  A valid email account that accepts PDF attachments


What payment options are available online?

At this time, Permits Online accepts VISA and MasterCard only.


How long does it take to get a permit using Permits Online?

Your permit will be created and entered into the Bureau of Development Services database as soon as you have completed the simple steps in the application process. Once fees are paid, your permit will be issued and you can schedule inspections. You will receive a copy of your permit via PDF email attachment within minutes. Please be sure your email system will accept email attachments from BDSPermitsOnline@portlandoregon.gov, or your permit may be rejected by your email server. It may also go to your Junk Email if our address is unknown to your system.


What if I need help with my permit?

If you need additional help, we're just a phone call away. If you have specific questions about your online permit purchase and you need assistance, our helpful permit/technical staff can be reached at (503) 823-7420. Permits Online phone hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday – Friday.


What Permits Can I Purchase Using Permits Online?

You may apply for simple plumbing, electrical, and mechanical permits under your own name and licensure. General Contractors may NOT purchase "third party" permits for subcontractors online. You must be the property owner or a contractor specifically licensed to perform the permitted work. It is important to note that permits applied for using Permits Online must not require plan review.

 

If your permit requires plan review, it cannot be purchased online. See what types of permits require plan review?

 

   PERMITS AVAILABLE VIA PERMITS ONLINE
Electrical Permits Mechanical Permits Plumbing Permits
  • Residential Wiring
  • Manufactured Home Service
  • Services & Feeders up to 600 amps
  • Temporary Service Feeders
  • Branch Circuits, with or without service feeders
  • Electrical Service Reconnection
  • Pump or Irrigation Circles
  • Sign or Outline Lighting
  • Limited Energy Panel/Signal Circuits
  • Renewable Energy up to 25 kva


RESIDENTIAL Installations ONLY:
  • Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
  • Furnace/Burner (includes ductwork, vent and liner)
  • Air Handling Units, Hydronic Hot  Water Systems, Boilers, Vents
  • Gas or Wood Fireplace Inserts
  • Chimney/Liner/Flue/Vents
  • Woodstoves, Gas Fireplaces
  • Exhaust & Venting, Attic Fans
  • Gas Fuel Piping
  • Other Appliances—Oil Tanks, Gas or Diesel Generators, Ceramic Kilns

 


  • Rain Drain, Storm Sewer, Water Service Lines (by # of feet)
  • Catch Basin/Area Drains
  • Manufactured Home Utilities
  • All types of plumbing fixtures—washers, ice makers, garbage disposals, drinking fountains, toilets, sinks, tubs/showers, urinals, hose bibs, backwater valves, etc.
  • Replace In-Building Water Supply Lines (by # of floors)
  • Commercial Roof drains
  • Solar Units, Stormwater Tanks

 

If any of the following are applicable to your project, then your permit requires plan review and cannot be purchased online:

 

    NOT AVAILABLE VIA PERMITS ONLINE
Electrical Permits Mechanical Permits Plumbing Permits
  • Fire pump
  • Emergency system
  • Addition of new motor load of 100 HP or more
  • Six or more residential units
  • Health care facilities
  • Hazardous locations
  • Service or feeder over 600 amps
  • Building over three stories
  • Marinas and boatyards
  • Floating buildings
  • Commercial use agricultural buildings
  • Installation of 75 KVA or larger separately derived system
  • A, E, 1-2, 1-3 occupancy recreational vehicle parks

    Note that none of the above are applicable to temporary construction service
  • At this time, Commercial Mechanical Permits are not available online.

 

Please note: Refunds will NOT be made on Residential Mechanical Permits purchased for projects deemed COMMERCIAL.

  • Food service
  • Medical gas systems
  • Bathroom/Kitchen packages that are part of a Residential New Single Family Dwelling
  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Sewer Connection permits,
  • Sewer caps
  • Sewer lines and Sewer Line Repairs

What types of permits require plan review?

If any of the following are applicable to your project, then your permit requires plan review and cannot be purchased online:

 

   NOT AVAILABLE VIA PERMITS ONLINE
Electrical Permits Mechanical Permits Plumbing Permits
  • Fire pump
  • Emergency system
  • Addition of new motor load of 100 HP or more
  • Six or more residential units
  • Health care facilities
  • Hazardous locations
  • Service or feeder over 600 amps
  • Building over three stories
  • Marinas and boatyards
  • Floating buildings
  • Commercial use agricultural buildings
  • Installation of 75 KVA or larger separately derived system
  • A, E, 1-2, 1-3 occupancy recreational vehicle parks

    Note that none of the above are applicable to temporary construction service
  • At this time, Commercial Mechanical Permits are not available online.

 

Please note: Refunds will NOT be made on Residential Mechanical Permits purchased for projects deemed COMMERCIAL.

  • Food service
  • Medical gas systems
  • Bathroom/Kitchen packages that are part of a Residential New Single Family Dwelling
  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Sewer Connection permits,
  • Sewer caps
  • Sewer lines and Sewer Line Repairs