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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Residential Demolitions - Overview and Criteria


Applications for demolition permits are subject to a variety of requirements specified in Portland City Code Chapter 24.55. In addition, demolition permits are subject to tree preservation requirements described in Portland City Code Chapter 11.50.040.n.

These requirements include providing notice of the demolition implementing site and dust control measures, and preserving a percentage of the viable trees on the site that are 12" or larger in trunk diameter, or paying into the City's Tree Mitigation Fund. Separate requirements apply to historic structures that are subject to the Zoning Code sections 33.445.800 – 33.445.810 and 33.846.080. Additional deconstruction requirements may apply if your structure is subject to the deconstruction ordinance - Portland City Code Chapter 17.106.

For information on obtaining a residential demolition permit, please see Residential Demolitions Permits.

Definition of a Demolition 24.55.150

  • Demolition. Demolition means removal of all exterior walls above the foundation.

See the Demolition Administrative Rules, Section II.2.2 for the definition of “Wall” and additional information on how to determine if all exterior walls have been removed. If your project does not meet the definition of a Demolition, then it most likely qualifies as a Major Residential Alteration.

Dust and Site Control Requirements

Effective July 1, 2018, all demolition projects of structures used for residential purposes with four or fewer dwelling units, including accessory structures on those sites and mixed-use structures, must comply with the dust and site control measures outlined in Portland City Code Section 24.55.205. 

See the Demolition Administrative Rules for additional information on how the dust and site control requirements will be implemented.

Deconstruction Requirements

Effective October 31, 2016, houses or duplexes built in 1916 or earlier, or designated historic regardless of age, must be deconstructed to salvage material for reuse. These regulations apply regardless of the zone the structure is located in. Deconstruction work must be performed by a Certified Deconstruction Contractor. Additional information on the deconstruction requirements can be found here.

NOTE: Effective January 20, 2020, the 1916 year-built threshold above will change to 1940.

Tree Preservation Requirements

Sites that contain viable trees that are 12" or greater in trunk diameter are subject to the tree preservation requirements of 11.50.040. Preserved trees must be shown on the demolition plan with tree preservation fencing meeting the requirements of 11.60.030. Tree preservation fencing must be inspected prior to the commencement of demolition work. Click here for more information.

Demolition Notification

When Demolition Delay applies, BDS and the permit applicant must perform the following notifications:

  • Mailed notice. Within five days of receipt of a complete application for a residential demolition permit, the Bureau of Development Services will mail written notice of the demolition request to all properties within 150 feet of the site to be demolished, to the recognized organization(s) whose boundaries include the site, to the Architectural Heritage Center and to Restore Oregon.
  • Posted notice. Not more than 2 weeks nor less than 72 hours before demolition activity commences, the applicant must post door hangers provided by the Bureau of Development Services on all properties within 300 feet of the site to be demolished.  BDS will provide the applicant with a list of the properties that need to be posted.

Demolition Delay

Demolitions of 1-2 dwelling unit structures in areas with a residential Comprehensive Plan Map designation are subject to a mandatory 35-day demolition delay and a possible additional 60-day delay. Please see Portland City Code 24.55.200 for complete criteria.

Extension of the Initial Demolition Delay Period

Any person may request an extension of the demolition delay period for up to an additional 60 days by filing an appeal of the issuance of the demolition permit in writing on forms provided by the Bureau of Development Services by 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the initial 35-day notice and delay period. The appeal application must include all of the following:

  1. An appeal fee or fee waiver (only a Recognized Organization whose boundaries include the site are eligible for a fee waiver);
  2. An appeal form
  3. A copy of a letter sent to the property owner requesting a meeting to discuss alternatives to demolition (View sample letter), along with a return receipt from the Post Office indicating the letter was sent registered or certified mail;
  4. A statement indicating why the structure is significant to the neighborhood;
  5. A plan to save the structure; and
  6. Evidence the appellant has a reasonable potential to consummate the plan within 95 days of the date the Bureau accepted the complete permit application, including a project budget and other evidence of funds on hand or a fund-raising plan sufficient to meet the financial requirements of the budget.

Owner Intent to Demolish Form

The owner of the property must sign a Property Owner’s Intent to Demolish Acknowledgement Statement as a formal acknowledgement that they are aware of the primary uses permitted under current zoning on the site.