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Bureau of Development Services Implements Tall Grass and Weed Complaint Pilot Project


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services


July 20, 2010

Contact: Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

Effective July 19, 2010. In an effort to provide the highest level of service, while maximizing limited resources, the Bureau of Development Services has created a pilot project for the summer that allows citizens to submit online complaints accompanied with a digital photograph of tall grass and weed violations at properties within the City of Portland.

Title 29 of Portland City Code requires the owner of any property to cut and remove, and keep cut and removed all weeds, and grass that are located in lawn areas and have a prevailing height of more than 10 inches. In October 2009, BDS was forced to prioritize various enforcement/complaint types in order to effectively process the most critical cases with reduced resources. Unfortunately, limited resources have not allowed BDS to respond to tall grass and weed complaints.

"Even though tall grass and weed conditions have been deemed a lower priority, I do understand the importance of the outdoor maintenance regulations as they relate to increased vandalism, graffiti, and other conditions that can lead to neighborhood deterioration" said Paul Scarlett, Bureau of Development Services Director. "While BDS enforcement resources remain limited at this time, we are very excited to create this opportunity to allow citizens to partner with us to address tall grass and weed violations to improve the livability and safety of our community."

To participate in the pilot project and report a property with grass and weeds in excess of 10 inches high, citizens are encouraged to submit a complaint accompanied by a digital photograph online at Due to limited resources, complaints may only be submitted online and must be accompanied by a digital photograph of the reported violation.

If you have questions or concerns about this press release, please contact Ross Caron, BDS Public Information Officer, at 503-823-4268 or via email at You can also get more information regarding this pilot program by visiting



Lori Gilmore

July 22, 2010 at 1:24 PM

As a city Portland has messed priorities - tall grass and weeds are a problem while the mayor promotes the Brewer's Festival which promotes drinking, drunken behaviors, and drunk driving which kills people far more often than an unkempt yard. The city also does nothing to discourage the naked bike ride or the fact that Portland is known as the strip club capital of the U.S. - which draws unwanted, if not criminal, elements to the community. I think you folks need to get a grip on some real priorities instead of wasting time and money harrassing folks for tall grass and weeds. Glad I live in Hillsboro. I am ashamed of the Big Brother aspect of the Portland gov't and the Portland metro area.



July 23, 2010 at 11:21 AM

If the city really wants to save on expenditures, why not FIRST encourage people to directly notify the property owners that their weeds/grass are a nuisance/hazard and ASK THEM to cut them back?
This can be done anonymously, if needed.
If the property owner does not readily comply, a second note could be sent, telling them that a complaint will be made to the city if they continue to ignore the requests.

Filing an official complaint with the city still requires taxpayer-paid staff hours & other costs for the city to follow up. Any time we go FIRST to "the government" (the courts, police, other municipal bureaus) to deal with problems instead of trying to find solutions on our own, we contribute to the necessity of that dreaded "tax burden."



July 23, 2010 at 11:35 AM

My neighbor has a forest in her lot. The trees are so thick & tall that they are shading our yards. They have been planted 20+ yrs ago & never been pruned or thinned out, now they are chocking each other out & is a total fire hazzard besides how will they ever be harvested or taken out. No one have ever ventured into the lot in the last 10-15+ years.
our lots are approx. 100X500 feet deep (on slope}
my address is: 7103 S.W. 35TH AVE 503 244-0310


Raymond C. Thomas

August 13, 2010 at 7:04 PM

My neighbor at6841 s.e. Ramona st. has tall grass about 3ft. in the back yard and tall weeds in the front yard. I talked to them about this problem and his answer was (that's my opinion and he disagrees. We have a fence between us, the fence is mine, and I am afraid of a fire that could burn my house. I have called to complain twice and so far nothing hs been done. I left a note on his garage telling him his property is a disgrace in the community. Please help if possible. Thank you. Ray Thomas


Andy Angst

August 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

So the fine is $216 per month plus 10 percent for the auditor's assessment...that works out to $21.60 for someone to look at a photo?

Is this a great country or what?


Valerie hurst

August 26, 2010 at 1:25 PM

This is Valerie at KATU channel 2. I'm writing on behalf of Raymond Thomas, who contacted you here earlier this month regarding tall weeds and grass in his neighborhood. He lives on southeast Ramona street. His online posting is stii here on the site but he doesn't have a camera, so I took these photos for him.

Will you please confirm you received them? And thank you so much!



Randy James

June 1, 2011 at 11:36 AM

The motivation for this is the same as the parking patrol dragnet which has been in effect ever since the state's public employees realized their lavish compensation and benefits were bankrupting the state. Any excuse they can think of to gouge citizens for $40 - $400 (and beyond) is worth a try.

Suggestion to the apparatchiks down at City Hall in Portland: your parking meter readers have high-tech wireless computers with on-board printers and digital cameras. (Highly skilled individuals making $50K and above should not be required to actually write out their tickets anyway, seems to me.) As they're making their rounds through our neighborhoods, why not give them a ruler to go with it, and let them measure the grass in any yard that looks suspicious, then take a picture and issue a ticket right on the spot? Cha-Ching...There's another $216 for your pension funds!

(They don't call this "The Peoples Republic of Oregon" for nothing!)


Norma Conder

August 20, 2012 at 2:00 PM

my neighbor at 3727 s.e. Knapp street Portland Oregon has over grown shrubs; black berries taking over the backyard and his shrubs in front are taking over the sidewalk on Knapp St. He has no garbage srvice and he usues the house for storage he said the house has no furnace. The house is a mess.


Randy Horne

June 18, 2015 at 6:05 AM

I dont really see the sense of this department as I have sent in complaints regarding my neighbors 5ft high grass, which at this time of year is an extreme fire danger not to say anything about all the rodents coming from that place, and nothing ever gets done about it. It usually takes a dozen or so complaints from surrounding neighbors or to show up on the news before any action takes place. I didnt realize it took an act of congress for the city to enforce grass to be kept cut to a normal length. This is at 11031 Foster Rd SE if anyone cares.


Randy Horne

July 7, 2015 at 6:15 AM

As usual 13011 SE Foster Rd has cut the grass around the house but done nothing with the rest of their surrounding property. You'd think someone at this department could get it right without having to file more complaints the first time.

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