Permit Fees & Insurance
Permit Denials, Modifications & Appeals
The Special Events Program regulates special events to maximize the safety of street and sidewalk use for participants and the general public. The permitting process helps to protect public safety and convenience, and minimizes disruption of public services. Failure to obtain a permit in advance could result in the special event being discontinued by Portland Police.
The Special Events Program permits all moving events on streets and/or sidewalks, such as runs, walks, marches, parades or bicycle races.
Each event is different, and depending on the design of your event, you may be required to have additional permits from other City departments or other agencies. Our Additional Permits guide will help you with possible additional permits an event may need. Event organizers are responsible for getting all necessary permits in place before an event.
Please submit an application as early as possible. If you have a general sense of the event type, date, size and route, it is time to submit an application. Details may be filled in later, but the written application is the first step toward meeting deadlines and getting feedback on your application. No event dates are held and no evaluation of the event is done until after the written application and fee ($25.00) are received by the event coordinator.
More time for the event approval process generally leads to a more smooth planning process and a better event. Applications for returning annual events are due no later than 9 months prior to the event date in order to hold the date for the following year.
For new events, complex or large events often require additional time. In any case, applications should be filed no later than 30 days prior to the date of the Special Event; applications filed less than 30 days prior to the date of the Special Event may be denied, and for larger or more complex events, failure to apply within a reasonable time frame for review may result in denial of a permit.
Contact the Special Events Coordinator by email or call 503-865-2482 to request an application form or download the application from our website. No event date is held until submission of a completed application and application fee. Large or complex events take more time to plan and require city resources (i.e., traffic plan, scheduling officers).
Please see our detailed Application Process document (high-level steps outlined below).
High-Level Application Process Steps
Once received, application is reviewed for safety, feasibility of route and date requested, use of city resources. Event organizer may need to meet with Special Events Advisory Committee to discuss the event.
- Coordinator makes recommendations for approval, modification or denial of the event permit, based upon input of the Advisory Committee and coordinator evaluation. Recommendations for modification or denial are forwarded to the Division Director, and additional review may be necessary.
- Permit approval or denial issued.
- Denial of a permit may be appealed to the Revenue Bureau Director and the City Council.
Special event permit fees are based on the event type and event criteria. Go to the Special Events Program Fee Schedule for more information about fees.
Permit fees can be refunded if a permit is denied or an event cancelled:
- Permit Denied
- The $25.00 application fee is not refunded. Other portions of the permit fee that are not administrative may be refunded if the application is denied after application review (per section 7 of the Special Events Administrative Rules).
- Event Cancellation
- If an event is cancelled by the event organizer after a permit is issued more than14 days before an event:
- Event organizer will submit a written notice of cancellation and request for permit refund more than fourteen (14) days prior to the event
- Event organizer is entitled to a permit fee refund less the administrative portion of the permit fee
- If an event is cancelled by the event organizer after a permit is issued less than14 days before an event:
- No refund will be issued
- If an event is cancelled by the event organizer after a permit is issued more than14 days before an event:
Several event categories have no associated permit fee. Events that meet the criteria of those classifications are charged only for the application fee. The Special Event Fees & Insurance website explains what criteria are required to have moving special event with minimal permit fees.
All event organizers agree to save the City, its agents, officials and employees harmless from and against all damages to persons or property, all expenses, and other liability that may result from the event. Depending on the size and scope of the event a "Certificate of Insurance" may be required.
Sponsors of events are required to purchase insurance and indemnity coverage. The event organizer will maintain public liability and property damage insurance that protests the City and its officers, agents, and employees from all claims, demands, actions and suits for damage to property or personal injury, including death, arising from the event.
Insurance will provide not less than $1,000,000 for personal injury to each person, $1,000,000 for each occurrence, and $500,000 for each occurrence involving property damage, or a single limit policy of not less than $1,000,000 covering all claims per occurrence.
See Section 10 of the Street and Sidewalk Use Administrative Regulations for information on insurance waivers.
Events organizers that do not carry their own insurance coverage may buy public liability and property damage insurance designed for users of City property through a program coordinated by the City Bureau of Risk Management.
The Special Events Program will direct sponsors to the proper contact: email or 503-865-2482.
The Special Events Program and its Advisory Committee make every effort to vary special event routes to mitigate the impact of events on the general public. Please feel free to submit an event complaint if you feel your area has had too many special events.
It depends on the type of event. Sponsors of athletic and parade uses with a closed course (the Fee Schedule describes event types) are required to notify residential complexes, neighborhood groups, businesses and churches which will be affected by the event. Notifications are made at least fourteen (14) days before the event. Notification is in writing and includes the name and telephone number of the City official to contact with questions or concerns (sample Notification Form). A copy of the event notification form will be on record at the Special Events Program office at least six (6) days before the event and will include a list of those notified. Please feel free to submit an event complaint if you feel should have been notified, but were not. Special events permitted through our office are listed on the calendar, which has a RSS feed available for receiving updates.
The Special Events Program posts a link to the Keep Portland Moving website on the program homepage. Keep Portland Moving is a Portland Bureau of Transportation program that posts downtown traffic updates, and special event road closures. Special events permitted through our office are also listed on the calendar, which has a RSS feed available for receiving updates.
If you have a compliant about a permitted special event on streets and/or sidewalks (i.e., traffic impacts, unsafe or unorganized event, no event notification, interference with construction, maintenance, or public transit, etc.) please send your complaint to our office.
Event organizers work with the Special Events Coordinator to designate a special event route. After route approval by the Special Events Coordinator, the route can't change without prior written approval of the Special Events Coordinator.
Event organizers should contact the Special Events Coordinator by email or at 503-865-2482 to discuss any proposed route changes.
Event organizers should contact the Special Events Coordinator by email or at 503-865-2482 to discuss the proposed route. Event organizers must report their proposed route on the special event permit application.
The Special Events Coordinator will assist the event organizer with developing a safe route that meets the safety and support criteria in Section 7.A.1 of the Special Events Administrative Rules and also meets the goals of the event organizer.
During the permit application review process, the Special Events Coordinator determines whether an event requires a closed course.
Closed Course Terms
Closed course events that restrict access for six (6) hours or more, the event organizer must obtain permission of property owners and tenants whose property is enclosed by or abuts the closed course, and submit written evidence of permission to the Special Events Program.
If there are objections to the closed course, the Special Events Coordinator will review objections and make a recommendation to the Director.
Event organizers should contact the Special Events Coordinator by email or at 503-865-2482 to discuss the proposed route. Event organizers must report their proposed route on the special event permit application. All bridge uses and/or restrictions are coordinated through the Special Events Program and discussed with the Advisory Committee.
Event organizers should contact the Special Events Coordinator by email or at 503-865-2482 to discuss the proposed route. Event organizers must report their proposed route on the special event permit application. All routes that take place on a bus, streetcar or light rail route are coordinated through the Special Events Program and discussed with the Advisory Committee.
Sidewalk events that wish to have traffic stopped at intersections require the use of police services. Otherwise, any event in the street requires the use of police services to safely guide participants through the event course. Event organizers may also be required to use event monitors/volunteers as part of their permit conditions.
Contact the Special Events Coordinator by email or at 503-865-2482 to discuss your proposed route markings. The method of marking the route must be submitted to the Special Events Coordinator with the application. Painting or other methods that will cause damage to the sidewalk, street or other fixtures are prohibited. All route markings must be removed within 24 hours of the conclusion of the event.
Organizers of athletic and parade uses with a closed course must notify residential complexes, neighborhood groups, businesses and churches that will be affected by the event. This notification will be made at least fourteen (14) days before the event date. Notification will be in writing and will include the name and telephone number of the appropriate City official to contact in case of questions or concerns.
A sample notification form is available on the Special Events Program website. A copy of the actual form of notification must be sent to the Special Events Program Bureau at least six (6) days before the event date, include a list of those notified and a description of the methods of notification.
- Athletic uses that close streets will be held on Sundays or approved holidays, with starting times no later than 9:00 a.m. Exceptions permitted only with prior written approval of the Special Events Coordinator.
- The tail cars for athletic uses that consist of road runs will maintain an overall pace of 12 minutes per mile, and the City will only control the course in front of the tail car. The police supervisor may adjust the pace as necessary for the safety of the runner participants.
- Athletic events are subject to cost recovery for City services provided.
To avoid publication of misinformation, event organizers are advised not to publicize proposed events until after receipt of the permit from the Revenue Bureau Special Events Program. Event organizers who disregard this precaution will not receive special consideration in determining approval for the proposed event because of notice to the public or the expenditure of money.
A monitor is a person provided by an event organizer who is stationed along the route to aid in the safe and orderly use of sidewalks and streets. The Special Events Coordinator and Street and Sidewalk Use Advisory Committee will help the event organizers in determining the recommended number of monitors and their function.
Event organizers must provide monitors and train the monitors in how to stage a safe and orderly event. Monitors must be at least 16 years old and easily identifiable (e.g., badge, arm band, bib, shirt or cap).
The Bureau of Transportation will prepare a traffic control plan when required. The traffic control plan indicates the locations where monitors must be present and provides guidelines on monitor use and barricade locations.
The Special Events Coordinator may request proof of sufficient numbers of monitors from organizers.
One of the conditions of your permit is to adequately supply volunteers/monitors to staff positions along the route to adequately direct participants. Volunteers must be trained to help in staging a safe event -- event safety is a top priority for the Special Events Program.
Event organizers with a special events permit are allowed to remove, by towing, vehicles legally parked in the reserved area. In such instances, the event organizer contracts and pays the tower for this service. This is not a penalty tow and vehicles are relocated per the following terms.
Tow Contract Terms
- Permittee's are encouraged, but in no way required, to use towers from the Contract Rotation.
- If a Tow Contractor has been hired by a permit holder, such as an event coordinator or production company, etc., to provide courtesy towing from the public right of way, the Tow Contractor shall notify the Tow Desk and Portland Police Bureau Auto Records not later than 48 hours before the event.
- Each courtesy tow from public right of way must be ordered by an authorized City official, either Parking Enforcement Officer or Police Officer.
- Procedures established by the Bureau of Traffic Management for parking control must be followed.
- The Tow Contractor must pre-arrange any necessary credit arrangements with the permittee to assure payment for towing and dispatching services. The tower will be billed for dispatching by Tow Desk, as usual.
- The authorized City official may direct that the vehicle be moved to another legal parking space on the public right-of-way; to any storage facility designated by the City, or; to private property, provided the permittee has secured the permission of the property owner.
- Tow Contractor shall tell the Police Records Division the exact location of each towed vehicle by calling the Tow Desk within one hour of the completion of each tow. This is for the owner's information and to prevent a vehicle from being reported and recorded as stolen. The Tow Desk phone number is (503) 528-7460.
- Vehicles which the permittee wishes to exempt from towing must be identified, either by company signs, painted or magnetic, on both sides of the vehicle or by a complete and clearly displayed "Reserved Area Identification Card," supplied by the permit center. Once an officer has been called to order a tow, all vehicles in the restricted area that do not have proper identification cards displayed will be towed and all tows will be of the same type.
- The permittee will bear all costs of towing and storing a vehicle for a period of not more than 72 hours. If the vehicle is towed and stored at a private facility and the owner fails to pick up the car within 72 hours after it is towed, the vehicle owner may be charged a storage fee as set out in the Contract for Vehicle Towing and Storage.
Per Section 7 of the Special Events Administrative Rules, the Special Events Coordinator may make a recommendation to the Director for permit denial if the proposed event does not meet one or more of the following criteria for event permit approval:
- The proposed event can function safely and is designed to protect the safety of participants and others;
- The required City resources, including administrative, police and maintenance support are available to support the proposed event and the proposed event will not deny reasonable City services, including police protection, to the City;
- The proposed event will not cause undue interference with previously approved construction, maintenance or other activities, including other special events;
- The proposed event will not cause undue interference with public transit systems or the use of rights-of-way, and will not unduly inconvenience the general public;
- The date the application is received by the Revenue Bureau Special Events Program.
The Special Events Coordinator may recommend to the Director denial of a permit application filed less than 30 days prior to the date of the event if there is not sufficient time available for the Special Events Program and Advisory Committee to process and review the application.
The Special Event Coordinator may recommend to the Director that a permit be denied if the Coordinator determines that a requested closed course permit is not required for the event requested.
Additionally, the Special Events Coordinator may make a recommendation to revoke a permit if there is lack of compliance with the Special Events Administrative Rules or PCC Chapter 7.22 or any conditions of the permit.
Before making a recommendation to the Director for denial of a permit application, the Special Events Coordinator will offer proposed modifications of the requested permit (i.e., alternative event date, route, etc.) in order to provide options for approval of the permit.
Day of Event Permit Modifications
For Street, Parade or Athletic uses, at least 75% of the minimum number of participants must be present within 15 minutes of the designated start time for the event to proceed as planned. If inadequate participation is present, the Special Events Coordinator or the police supervisor assigned to the event may reasonably modify the permit so the event may proceed in a manner other than as planned which will not unduly require use of City resources and will minimize inconvenience to the public.
Yes. An event organizer, whose application for a Special Event permit is denied may appeal the denial by filing a written notice of appeal to the Revenue Bureau Director no later than five (5) business days following receipt of written notice from the Special Event Coordinator that the application has been denied:
Portland Bureau of Transportation
RE: Special Events Permit Appeal
1120 SW 5th Ave. Room 800
Portland, OR 97204
- The burden of persuasion is on the event organizer. The event organizer may provide written or oral evidence to the Bureau Director in support of the organizer's appeal. If written evidence is to be presented, it will accompany the event organizer’s notice of appeal. If the event organizer wants to present oral evidence, the organizer will request a hearing before the Bureau Director in the written notice of appeal.
- The Bureau Director will schedule any requested oral presentation no more than five (5) business days after receiving the notice of appeal.
- The Bureau Director will make a decision on the appeal no more than five (5) days following conclusion of presentation of evidence.
- The Bureau Director decision may be appealed to City Council, but only after the event organizer has exhausted the all administrative remedies.
- In any appeal to City Council, no additional evidence may be presented and City Council will make its decision based on the evidentiary record before the Bureau Director.