A demolition permit is required to demolish any building that required a building permit. Structures exempt from a building permit to construct do not require a permit for demolition. Structures that should have been constructed under permit, but were built without benefit of a permit, will require a demolition permit for removal.
A demolition permit is issued when the entire building is being demolished. The removal of a portion of a building is considered an alteration to that structure, and is usually reviewed and permitted as part of a larger project, not as a stand-alone permit. For more information about determining if your project is a demolition, alteration/remodel, or addition, please visit the Development Services Center.
Each structure removed requires a separate permit. For example, a detached garage and house on the same property will require two separate demolition permits.
A separate demolition permit is required even when a permit is being issued simultaneously to construct a new building in its place.
Erosion control inspections are required for each permit issued. Your permit will be reviewed under various code provisions, including Chapter 24.55 of the Portland Zoning Code. View more information on building codes.
It is recommended to visit or call the Planning and Zoning staff (503) 823-7526 and Buildings staff (503) 823-7310 at the Development Services Center early in the planning of your project.
The following information must be submitted when applying for a demolition permit. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information.
Erosion control plan (may be a part of the site plan) or completed simple site erosion control form, if the project will result in ground disturbing activity. Note: Erosion control measures shall be installed, even when a simple site erosion control form has been accepted.
SITE PLAN (Scale site plans to most appropriate scale, e.g. 1”= 10’ or 1/4”= 1’)
- Property lines, with dimensions
- Adjacent streets and any easements
- Property address and R number
- North arrow
- Structure to be demolished and its use
- Distance between remaining buildings and between remaining buildings and property lines
To submit for a permit, bring the completed building permit application and four (4) copies of site, architectural, and structural plans (for the area of proposed work and areas affected by such work ) along with intake fees to the Development Services Center.
If you are hiring sub-contractors to do work on your project, and know who they are when applying, they will be listed on your permit at that time. If you don't know when you apply for your permit, they can be added after issuance. Sub-contractors you hire must be registered with the State of Oregon and carry a current CCB license.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Demolition Delay Ordinance (Title 24.55.200)
To preserve housing in the city, the Portland City Code under Title 24.55.200 requires that the issuance of a demolition permit (for some residential structures) be delayed for 35 days. The delay gives other parties, such as a neighborhood association, notification of the proposal, and time to take action, such as offering to buy or move the house. Demolition delay applies only to the demolition of residences in residential zones. When an application for a building permit for a replacement dwelling on the same site is applied for and paid for at the same time, the demolition delay can be waived.
Demolition delay does not apply to:
- The demolition of any building in a commercial zone
- The demolition of any accessory structures (garages and sheds)
- Buildings that are subject to demolition proceedings, i.e. a hearing order with the appropriate number listed
- Buildings that have been declared a dangerous building (link to enforcement/dangerous buildings under enforcement services)
- Historic landmarks
- Soil Compaction
After demolition, the site must be restored to conditions suitable for new construction. If the building to be demolished has a basement or foundation that will result in a replacement fill of 24” or greater, the replacement soil is required to be compacted, and a soils special inspection by an independent agency is required.
A sewer cap is required if a house to be demolished is served by the City sewer. If the sanitary system was a septic tank or cesspool, then the abandonment of that system must be inspected under a decommission permit.
- Intent to Demolish
If you, the applicant, are not the owner of the property listed on the deed, you will need a completed intent to demolish form signed by all property owners. If you recently purchased the property, you will need to show proof of ownership.
- Tree Code Requirements
Title 11 Tree Code requirements are triggered by the criteria below, and must be met prior to a demolition permit being issued. Your permit can be taken in for review without tree preservation information, but you must complete your tree preservation requirements during the 35 day demolition delay period. Planning and Zoning won’t approve the demolition permit until the Title 11 Tree Code requirements are met. Because the permit can’t get issued until Planning and Zoning signs off on the application, failure to meet the Tree Code requirements could delay issuance of the permit. Information on Title 11 Tree Code requirements can be found at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/trees/66676.
Please note: The tree preservation requirements under Title 11 DO NOT apply in the following situations
- On sites smaller than 5,000 sq. ft.
- On sites that have no existing trees 12” or more in trunk diameter, or no street trees 6” or more in trunk diameter
- On sites where the applicant has brought an arborist report in with the application certifying that the trees on the site are dead, dying, or a nuisance species
- On sites that are in a zone that allows more than 85% building coverage.
After you pay intake fees, your project will be "under review". Plan reviewers from the Bureau of Development Services representing fire life safety and structural disciplines, Parks Bureau, Office of Transportation, Bureau of Environmental Services, Water Bureau and Fire Bureau will all participate in the review of your plans.
The bureaus/review groups that will check a typical conversion project are:
- Planning and Zoning (if there are any exterior changes)
- Life Safety Review
- Site Development Review (if the property has a slope of 20% or more there will be a site development review to identify any slide hazards and verify all erosion control measure proposals)
- Residential subsurface evaluation review
A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans. When you have gathered the additional information or made the corrections, bring the plans/information to the Development Services Center. Reviewers will be notified that a checksheet response has been received and the review will continue.
More information on checksheets
Status reports are available after your project has been assigned to reviewers. Status reports show all reviews and include the reviewer’s name and phone number. To obtain a status report, call (503) 823-7000 and select option four (4) to have a status report faxed to you or call (503) 823-7357 to have one mailed to you.
When the last technical review is approved, your permit will be pre-issued. You will be contacted when your permit is ready, and of your final fee total. Fees may be paid by cash, check, Visa or Mastercard.
If your permit is ready for issuance, you may pick up your permit between 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, Monday-Friday at Permitting Services, located on the 2nd floor of 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR. For more information call (503) 823-7357.
The yellow inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first.
Once your building permit is issued, erosion control measures must be installed, prior to beginning any further ground disturbing activities.
The Demolition Delay and Notifications webpage contains information on the new Courtesy Demolition Notification Process, current required delay and notification rules and regulations, links to State and Federal government agencies that regulate air quality, asbestos and lead paint and other useful information relating to residential demolitions.