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Original Art Mural Permit Program Up and Running


Roseway by Angelina Marino, Gary Herd, Joel Heidel and Marlys Mick

On August 3, 2009, the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) began accepting permit applications for the new Original Art Murals program. The Original Art Murals program allows murals to be permitted separately from sign regulations, and complements the existing Regional Arts and Culture Council’s (RACC) Public Art program. 

Scrap by Bruce Orr

An Original Art Mural is defined specifically as a hand-produced work of visual art that is tiled or painted by hand directly upon, or affixed directly to an exterior wall of a building. Murals permitted under this process must stay in place without alterations for a period of at least five years, with the building owner receiving no compensation for the display of the mural.

Permits issued under this program will be reviewed using regulations contained in Title 4 (Original Art Murals) of the City Code, and the accompanying Administrative Rules. To be considered an Original Art Mural, a permit must have been issued under the Title 4 regulations. Murals that are not approved through Title 4 (or are not part of the RACC Public Art program) will be classified as signs.

For a copy of the Original Art Mural permit application, and for more information on the mural program, go to, or contact Kristin Cooper (503-823-7547) or Jean Hester (503-823-7783).



nicki winstead

August 14, 2009 at 2:43 PM

I have some questions regarding the reasons why the BDS implemented this interesting art initiative. I think its a great idea to improve the environment of cities. Can you please give me reasons of why art murals are benficial to the community. Thank you!


Douglas Hardy

August 17, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Nicki, good question on the community benefits of murals. The City of Portland has a longstanding tradition of supporting the arts, and through the Original Art Mural permit program, the City hopes to encourage one of the most public, accessible forms of art.

Some specific goals the City hopes to achieve through the implementation of the Original Art Mural program include:

? Contribute to the beauty of the City's aesthetic environment by adding visual interest to building walls;
? Expose citizens to art in public places;
? Increase opportunities for artistic expression by persons of all ages, and with diverse ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds;
? Encourage and support the City's arts community and growing creative economy;
? Create a strong sense of community pride and self esteem; and
? Discourage graffitti on building walls.

The benefits that murals can bring to a community are extensive. We look forward to promoting these goals through the implementation of the City's new Original Art Mural Program.

Douglas Hardy
Senior Planner
City of Portland


Dan Collins

August 25, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Is there a permit fee for Original Art Murals? If yes, where can I access the fee schedule?


A. Marino

August 27, 2009 at 9:21 PM

In response to Nicki:

I wanted to add to Mr. Hardy's answer. In a community mural, the neighbors of that community have an opportunity to be part of the mural process. In the creating of the Roseway mural "A Neighborhood in Motion", there was input from a couple of hundred people. We listened to their comments and ideas and incorporated them into the mural. When it came to painting, the neighbors came out for a couple of weekends. Over fifty people showed up from four years old to seventy years old to put there mark on the 16' x 70 wall. The neighborhood is still a buzz. They love it and appreciate our translation of thier vision. I want to add that several community members worked untold hours along side of us, in community outreach and administration to see the project through, including Peggy Sullivan, Kim Monaco, Bonnie LaDoe.
Murals definetly sparks community spirit.



September 11, 2009 at 10:58 AM

It's great that this program is available now!

Already we are seeing a flowering of new mural projects.

A BIG "thank you" to everyone at BDS and the City of Portland who worked so hard to make this new mural code a possibility.


Randall Tendick

April 10, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Is there a listing of all the murals in and around the City of Portland? I want to take some pictures but can't find where they are all located, it's just for my personal use not planing on doing anything except post on my FB account as murals in Portland. First is there a directory of buildings? and also is it permitted to take pictures in this way? I know Portland seems to be unfriendly to photographers and I've been given warning that you can't take pictures of the MAX light rail before so don't want to get into trouble.


Angelina Marino

September 28, 2010 at 11:52 AM

I am a Portland muralist/artist. I have several murals posted at my site
If you are interested in posting one of these murals to your page, there is a paste to browser option. Contact me at with any questions.
Angelina Marino


Angelina Marino

September 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I am a Portland muralist/artist. I have several murals posted at my site
If you are interested in posting one of these murals to your page, there is a paste to browser option. Contact me at with any questions.
Angelina Marino


Ellie Miller

September 29, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Such exquisite art. Murals are such a beautiful way to showcase and portray the culture of an area.One day I would love to paint a mural to share with the world. Right now my focus is on perfecting the art of becoming a fine art photographer ( To all the mural artists out there keep doing what you are doing. The world can always use more beautiful murals.



May 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Dear Readers,
I'm chiming in here to recognize the tireless & lengthy work of mural artist Joe Cotter who helped make these two permitting programs (RACC & City) happen.

Opportunities for community murals were virtually non-existent until Joe & his comrades (Portland Mural Defense) got involved!!

It's only fair to mention him when talking about Portland's mural history. Sadly, Joe passed away from cancer in early 2012. We miss you, Joe!

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