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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office for Community Technology

Broadband & Communications Policy, Cable Regulation & Consumer Protection and Utility Franchises, Licenses & Wireless

Phone: 503-823-5385

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 405, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Utility Licenses

Portland’s Utility License Law (City Code Section 7.14) may require you to obtain a Utility License ("License").  Any utility operating in in the City of Portland is required to obtain a License. Licenses are automatically renewed each year.

A "Utility" is the business of supplying electrical energy, gas, district heating or cooling, water, cable, communications, or other services through or associated with telecommunications utility, telephone or coaxial cable, sewage disposal and treatment, and other operations for public service but does not include transportation service, railroad operations, or services licensed under this Title (Code Section 7.14.040.H). 

Utilities operating in Portland are subject to the Utility License Law whether they have a franchise agreement or other similar authority to be in the right of way. A franchisee may not be required to get a license if its franchise fee payments are equal to or exceed the amount owed under the Utility License Law (City Code 7.14.050.B, 7.14.070).  If your company only provides Internet Access or Internet Access Service within the Federal Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 USC 151), it is exempt from the Utility License Law requirements.

All other utilities will need a License regardless of whether or not the utility owns or uses physical facilities in public streets.  A License is required of all wire line telecommunications companies including VOIP providers and any utility that resells lines or services from Qwest or others ("resellers").

There is no cost or fee to apply for or receive a License.

The administrative rules are available here.

FAQ for Utility License Law, Portland City Code 7.14

Frequently Asked Questions about the Utillity License Law

Utility License Application

Application for a license pursuant to the Utility License Law, Portland City Code Chapter 7.14. PDF Document

Utility License Law: Your Right to Appeal

Explanation of the administrative processes for both a protest of an Initial Determination or an appeal of a Final Determination of audits conducted by the Revenue Division on behalf of the Office for Community Technology.

Chapter 7.14 Utility License Law

Portland City Code, utility license law