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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

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Any person, public, or private utility or entity seeking long term use of the streets must have authority from City Council for that use. The City Code prefers that the form of that authority be a franchise.  However, other forms of authority are available for specific applications, such as temporary revocable permits, right-of-way agreements and contracts. OCT is responsible for negotiating and administering these agreements on behalf of the City. Our short checklist can help determine whether you may need a franchise.

The first step to gain authority is to submit information to OCT briefly outlining the nature of the business and proposed facilities in the streets. Get a complete description of the information requested.  Upon receiving the information OCT staff may set up a preliminary meeting. The meeting is an opportunity for both staff and the applicant to gather additional information. 

Franchises can take anywhere from six months to one year or more to finalize depending on the complexities involved. Once final agreement is reached on the contents of the franchise, the process takes a minimum of four months (per City of Portland Charter). First the entire franchise is published in the Daily Journal of Commerce. After twenty days the franchise goes to City Council for a first reading. After another 30 days the franchise goes to the City Council for a second reading. Assuming passage by Council, the franchise becomes effective another sixty days later. A temporary revocable permit may be granted while the franchise becomes effective.

Please note that many of the provisions are required by the City Charter or City Code. Potential franchisees are asked to read through one or more current franchises, listed below, prior to the preliminary meeting.