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BDS Announces Changes to the Private Street Administrative Rule


The Bureau of Development Services’ (BDS) administrative rules for private streets are being updated. Known as the Permanent Rule for Private Rights-of-Way, this set of administrative rules regulate the design and construction of private streets (including common greens and pedestrian connections) and alleys in the City. The existing administrative rules were developed in 2002, in conjunction with the adoption of the new land division code.

Private Street Admin Rule Review DraftWhy is this rule being updated now?

Several factors have driven the proposed update, including:

  • Adoption of the 2008 Stormwater Management Manual, and the implementation of policy mandating the use of vegetated stormwater infiltration facilities where feasible;
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's implementation of their Underground Injection Control regulations, which discourages the use of subsurface stormwater facilities (such as drywells);
  • The City's adoption of the International Fire Code, which modified allowed roadway widths;
  • The City's migration toward referencing Oregon Standard Drawings as a technical resource, rather than developing duplicate standards through the City Engineer;
  • The ongoing development of "Green Street" concepts, and the increasing number of proposals using porous concrete paver blocks as a roadway surfacing system; and
  • City Council's support of the courtyard housing concept as an infill strategy for medium-density multifamily zones as an alternative to standard rowhouses, and the inclusion of the "Shared Court" street type in the Zoning Code. 

The existing rules focus on the design, construction, inspection, and maintenance of private streets. It is the land division review process that determines when and where rights-of-way are created and whether they are public or private. The updated private street rules tie these planning and technical elements together for a more comprehensive assessment of when private street elements are required and how they should be built.

Who should be interested in the updated private street rules?


The revised private street rules will affect anyone involved in the design of private rights-of-way in the City of Portland. This includes engineers, surveyors, and property developers.

How to obtain a copy of the proposed revisions and provide comments:

View the Private Street Administrative Rule Review Draft

The Bureau of Development Service is accepting comments until 5:00 p.m. on May 18, 2010. You may provide comments at the hearing or send written comments. The hearing for revisions to the rule is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on May 18th, 2010 on the 7th floor of the 1900 SW 4th Ave building. Written comments can be sent to Kimberly Tallant at 1900 SW 4th Ave Suite 5000, Portland OR 97201. Comments may also be sent by FAX to 503-823-5630 or by email to

Adoption of an interim rule is anticipated in late June. Once the updated rules are adopted, BDS will provide customer training on the use of the new rules.

For further information, contact Kimberly Tallant in BDS at 503-823-0977.



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