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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

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

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Street Vacation Process

Is an existing street right-of-way causing a problem?
The street vacation process
How the process works
Forms at a glance


Is an Existing Street Right-of-Way Causing a Problem?

The solution may be to vacate it.

Vacating street right-of-way eliminates the public's interest and returns ownership of the street area to private parties - most often, but not always, to the abutting property owners.

The street vacation process may solve development-related problems caused by the existence of unneeded public right-of-way. For example, an undeveloped street through two parcels of land may be vacated to allow better development of the property.

The street vacation process does not solve problems like parking disputes or vandalism. For that kind of nuisance, it's probably better - and easier - to work it out with your neighbors or report the problem to the City.


The Street Vacation Process

Vacating a street takes time, money, and work. The information provided below will help facilitate the street vacation process. Please be sure to read through each form carefully and complete the information requested.

This is not an "overnight" solution. Vacating a street is a lengthy process, especially if the problem is complex or controversial. And, it can take a lot of your time. Click here for the estimated Street Vacation Timeline.

You will be charged for the City's time and expenses to process the vacation. A  non-refundable deposit must be paid when you file the signed and notarized petition with the City. If there are additional costs in excess of the non-refundable deposit, they must be paid prior to recording the Ordinance if the vacation is successful, or at the time the vacation process is discontinued.

There may be additional costs to you to meet conditions of the vacation, such as moving utilities or reconstructing an intersection.


In addition to leg work, getting a street vacated takes coordination and cooperation - with the City, other public agencies, and the affected property owners. 


How the Process Works 

Preliminary Investigation

The first move is yours. You can save yourself time and money if you do some investigating on your own. Click here to read our Vacating a Street Brochure

If everything checks out, request a street vacation petition. For preparation of the petition, please contact the City of Portland by emailing or by calling (503) 823-1372.

  • City staff will prepare the petition including a map, and send it to you with instructions for collecting signatures.
  • You must collect the signatures of:
    • 100 percent of the property owners abutting the right-of-way you wish to vacate,
    • The owner(s) of 2/3 of the property in the affected area as shown on the map we provide.
  • Submit the completed petition per the instructions of the petition.

Formal Investigation

Is there a public need for the right-of-way? Once the petition has been certified by the Auditor's Office, it is forwarded to the Right of Way Acquisition Section (RWA). RWA will send the request to City bureaus, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, other government agencies, utility companies, and neighborhood associations to see if there are any reasons - now or in the future - why the street shouldn't be vacated. There may or may not be objections to all or a part of the proposed street vacation.

The City Engineer will summarize the responses in a report and make a recommendation to the City Council.

You will receive a copy of the report to review. If you would like to proceed, simply sign and return the report to RWA.

Remember, there may be more costs if you have conditions to meet.

Public Hearing

Public opinion can affect the outcome.

  • Streets are not vacated on our recommendation alone. City Council will hold a public hearing. Anyone can attend and comment on the proposed street vacation. After considering the testimony and our recommendation, City Council will make a decision.
  • If the street vacation is approved, we will prepare an Ordinance to vacate the street right-of-way and send it back to City Council for final action.

Recording the Ordinance

The City has to take the final step.  After the Ordinance passes, there is a 30-day waiting period. When the 30 days are up, all the conditions are met, and all the costs are paid, the City will send a certified copy of the Ordinance to be recorded in the County Deed Records. The street vacation is complete and the property will be added to the County tax assessment tolls.

If you think a street vacation may be the solution to your problem, call RWA at  (503) 823-1372. We'll answer your questions and get you started. Or, if another course of action is better, we'll direct you to the agency that can help you.


Forms at a Glance