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Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300

Email: bds@portlandoregon.gov

1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Getting Started

A demolition permit is required to demolish any building that required a building permit to construct. 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.

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 City 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.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

1. Is the proposed work a Demolition or Major Alteration?

Note: Portland City Council recently approved amendments to the demolition delay and notification requirements contained in City Code Section 24.55.200 effective April 20, 2015. For more detailed information on the new Demolition Ordinance, visit the Residential Demolition and Major Alteration and Addition Delay and Notification Information webpage.

A demolition means removal of the entire superstructure down to the subflooring, such that none of the existing superstructure is maintained.  Demolition includes removal of all exterior walls. It also includes alteration, abandonment or removal of all of the existing perimeter foundation. 

To assist with determining whether the work qualifies as a demolition or a major alteration or addition, the following guides offer an overview and illustrate various examples:

Note: Portland City Council recently added City Code Section 24.55.210 (Major Alterations and Additions) that requires notification and delay for larger residential alteration and addition projects. Please see the Major Residential Alteration and Addition Permit - Overview and Criteria page for information on this type of permit.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IF YOUR PROJECT CHANGES FROM A MAJOR ALTERATION/ADDITION TO A DEMOLITION AT ANY POINT, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO STOP YOUR PROJECT, OBTAIN A DEMOLITION PERMIT AND MEET THE 35 DAY DELAY AND NOTIFICATION REQURIEMENTS FOR DEMOLITION PROJECTS.

2. Demolition Delay Ordinance (City Code Section 24.55.200)
Residential structures in areas with a residential Comprehensive Plan Map designation are subject to a Residential Demolition Delay. 

The new Demolition Ordinance, effective April 20, 2015, requires the following:

  • Mailed notice sent by BDS to properties within 150 feet within 5 business days of a complete application being received by BDS
  • Emailed notice sent by BDS to recognized organizations whose boundaries include the site, the Architectural Heritage Center and Restore Oregon
  • Door hangers placed on abutting and surrounding properties by the applicant 5 days before demolition activity commences
  • Possible 60- day extension with a successful appeal of the demolition permit issuance
  • Certification Regarding Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint

The Residential Demolitions - Overview and Criteria webpage contains more information on the new Demolition Ordinance, including the 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.

3. 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.

4. Utilities
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.

5. 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.

6. Certification Regarding Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint
The applicant must submit a Certification Regarding Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint to BDS before the permit can be issued. By submitting the form, the applicant certifies that the area of proposed work has been tested by a certified contractor and either does not contain asbestos or lead-based paint, or that it does and the materials will be properly abated, handled and disposed of.

7. 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