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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

More Contact Info

Vacating a Street

- What is a Street Vacation?

- Vacating a street takes time and money.

- Steps for vacating a street.

For additional information call: (503) 823-1372

What is a Street Vacation?

Vacating street right-of-way removes the public’s interest and returns control of the land to the underlying fee owner(s) – most often, 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 might be vacated to allow better development of the property.

The street vacation process may not solve problems like parking disputes or vandalism.  For that kind of nuisance, we recommend contacting The Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

For questions about a street vacation, you can call us at: (503) 823-1372

Vacating a street takes:

Time

  • Takes 8-12+ months.
  • If the request is complex or controversial, it can take longer.
  • This is a lengthy process and takes coordination and cooperation with City staff, other public agencies, and any affected property owners.

Money

  • This is a cost recovery program in which you pay for City staff time, expenses, and overhead,  but not for the property itself.
  • You should expect the costs to be in the range of $7-$20+ thousand depending on complexity.
  • An Early Assistance review may be required with a fee for the review.  Visit portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/308415 for PBOT’s fee schedule.
  • A nominal fee is required when you request a petition (Phase I).
  • An upfront fee of $5,000 is required when submitting the completed petition (Phase II).  View PBOT’s fee schedule via the link above.  Contact RWA at (503) 823-1372 to move forward.
  • There may be additional costs to meet conditions of the vacation such as reconstructing an intersection.
  • All costs must be paid before the ordinance can be recorded.

Steps for Vacating a Street

1. Preliminary Investigation - The first move is yours

  • Call the Multnomah County Cartographer’s Office to find out where the property reverts should the street be vacated
  • Talk with your neighbors. Will the affected property owners agree to the vacation and sign the petition?
  • Contact your Neighborhood and Business Associations.  Will they support the vacation?  They can play a big role in the process
  • Check PortlandMaps.com. Are there any obvious obstacles – like a water main or sewer line – that could make vacating the street more difficult, costly, or even impossible?
  • If everything checks out, call our hotline at (503) 823-1372 to inquire if an Early Assistance Review will be required. 

2. Filing the Petition (Phase I) - When you're ready to get signatures!

City staff prepares the petition, including a map, and sends it to you with instructions for collecting signatures.  You may be required to provide a legal description of the right-of-way to be vacated.

You must collect the signatures, per ORS 271.080, of:

  • 100 percent of the property owners abutting the right-of-way you wish to vacate,

AND

  • The owner(s) of two-thirds of the affected area (based on square feet). City staff prepares the map needed to accomplish this.

When this is done, submit the completed petition and the signed and notarized affidavit to PBOT Right of Way Acquisition (1120 SW Fifth Ave., Ste 800, Portland, OR 97204) with a check for the upfront fee (currently $5,000). This non-refundable fee is your “down payment” on the total cost of the street vacation and begins the process.

3. Formal Investigation (Phase II) - Is there a public need for the right-of-way?

When you submit the completed petition:

  • We ask City bureaus if there are any reasons – now or in the future – why the street should not be vacated.  There may or may not be objections to all or a part of the proposed street vacation.
  • We also reach out to other governmental agencies, utility companies and neighborhood and business associations for their input.
  • We conduct a public hearing with the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC).  They may have additional requests or remarks.
  • The City Engineer summarizes all the responses in a report and makes a recommendation to the City Council.
  • If you do not receive support for your request from the City, you have the right to continue the process. City Council makes the final decision.

Remember! There will likely be more costs associated with the street vacation.

4. City Council - Public opinion can affect the outcome.

Streets are not vacated on our recommendation alone.

  • In addition to the PSC public hearing, City staff prepares an ordinance to be heard before City Council at an additional public hearing.
  • Anyone can attend and comment on the proposed street vacation. After considering the testimony and our recommendation, the Council makes the final decision, and if approved:

Any conditions required in the Engineer’s Report must be completed before the ordinance is recorded.

5. Recording the Ordinance - The City has to take the final step.

If City Council passes the ordinance there, is a 30-day waiting period before the ordinance can be recorded.

When:

  • The 30 days are up
  • All the conditions from the Engineers Report are met, and
  • All the costs are paid,

The City sends a certified copy of the ordinance to be recorded in the County Deed Records.

When the ordinance is recorded, the street vacation is complete and the property is added to the County tax assessment rolls.

CONGRATULATIONS!

You are finished!