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Portland Bureau of Transportation

We keep Portland moving

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Street Light Maintenance

Street Lights

Notice a dark streetlight? Report it to the Street Light Outage Hotline at (503) 865-LAMP (5267). 

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and upgrade of 11,000 roadway light fixtures and lighting systems. These lights and systems have a $170 million replacement value. The Bureau does not maintain lighting on private property, including parking lots, driveways, and private streets.

With proper maintenance and renewal, most street lights will last 20 years or longer. The pole that supports a decorative street light can last 90 years with proper maintenance. The pole that supports a cobra head is usually a utility pole and is the responsibility of the utilities, not the City.

The decorative lighting wiring systems are fed via underground cables that are starting to reach the end of their lives. Old lead cables are being replaced now, but many more need to be replaced. Decorative poles that were installed nearly a century ago also need to be replaced. 

Most street lighting maintenance falls within these categories. Click on each hyperlink for more information:


Preventative Maintenance

Re-lamping high-pressure sodium street lights occurs on a four or five year cycle or as outage frequency dictates. Re-lamping of street lights often involves extensive traffic control, lane and ramp closures, or off-hour shifts to work around light rail trains. Re-lamping is not required for LED street lights.

Street lights are refurbished by salvaging used or damaged street lighting equipment. Component parts are repaired or replaced, and fixtures are upgraded or modified to reduce future maintenance. Using recycled parts saves thousands of dollars over the cost of new materials.

The Bureau must stock parts and lamps for the more than 60 different types of fixtures and poles installed around the city.


Response Repairs

Street light outages include re-lamping, replacement of parts, or upgrades if parts are unavailable. Response to outage reports involves troubleshooting problems in the power distribution system, photo cell replacement, and contactor repair or replacement. Outage reports come from citizens, police, as well as Transportation crews and inspectors.

Physical damage includes knock-downs of street lights or controllers and unintentional damage from dig-ups of the distribution conduits. Repairs may take minutes or days depending on the extent of the damage.


Upgrades and Modifications

The bureau is converting high-pressure sodium fixtures to LEDs, which produce more light with less energy and are more reliable.

The bureau is upgrading the system controller by replacing obsolete controlling methods with magnetic contactors and solid-state equipment, greatly reducing system outages. 


Utility Contractor Assistance

The Bureau may relocate poles and fixtures to accommodate the construction of new buildings or roadways. The Bureau may also relocate street lights or makes temporary installations of lighting distribution lines due to repairs and upgrades to underground electrical utility ducts, communications conduits, and gas company pipelines by construction and utility companies. Bureau services are provided at cost to the contractor.