Signs, awnings, and banners located on private property and portable signs (commonly known as A-Boards), regardless of location, are regulated by Title 32 (known as the sign code) of the Portland City Code. The Bureau of Development Services administers the sign code.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (503-823-5185) regulates signs located in the street right-of-way, except for portable signs (A-Boards). They also regulate signs attached to utility poles as specified in section 17.64.040.A in Title 17.
Some signs are regulated by the sign code, but are exempt from permit or registration requirements. See section 32.62.010.A of the sign code for a listing of signs that are exempt from permits or registration.
|Sign Specialist for signs, awnings and banners located on private property (503) 823-7996|
|Sign Specialist for portable (A-Board) signs only (503) 823-2633|
Mail / Location:
|City of Portland
Bureau of Development Services
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 5000
Portland, OR 97201
(1) Sign Permits:
Required for installing new permanent signs and for structurally altering or relocating existing permanent signs on private property. Except for certain portable signs, private signs are prohibited in street rights-of-ways. Some private signs may project from a building into the street right-of-way. Indirect lighting (wall washing or backlit) for a sign requires a separate electrical permit. Types of signs include freestanding, monument, projecting, signs on awning, fascia/wall, painted wall/adhered, pitched roof and marquee. Signs are regulated by size (total area), height, placement, construction and wiring. Electrical components within a sign such as internal or neon lighting are covered by the sign permit, but to connect to it a circuit, an electrical permit is required. See section 32.32.010 for the sign standards in the residential and open space zones and section 32.32.020 for sign standards in the commercial, employment and industrial zones.
(2) Awning Permit:
Required for installing a new awning, for adding to an existing awning, or structurally altering or relocating an existing awning on property. Lighting for awnings requires a separate electrical permit. Private awnings may project from buildings into the right-of-way, but must comply with pedestrian clearance and right-of-way extension standards. See section 32.52 for additional information.
(3) Temporary Banner/Balloon Registration: Required for hanging temporary banners and temporary balloon signs on private property. Some smaller banners (32 square feet and under) are exempt from both permit and registration requirements. Banners hung in the street rights-of-ways are regulated by the Portland Bureau of Transportation . They can be reached at (503) 823-5185. See section 32.32.030 K for additional information.
(4) Portable Sign (sometimes known as A-Boards or Sandwich Boards) Registration: Required for all portable signs whether located on private property or in street right-of-way. See section 32.32.030 C.3 and section 32.32.030 G for additional information.
(5) Temporary Fascia/Wall Sign and Temporary Freestanding Sign Registration:
Required for these signs when displayed for more than one year. See section 32.32.030 K for additional information.
Submittal Requirements for a sign or awning permit
1. One (1) Sign/awning permit application per sign
2. Two (2) minimum 8 ½” x 11” elevation drawings for the sign and a listing of existing exterior signs, including:
3. Two (2) copies of calculations showing allowed, existing and proposed sign area
4. Two (2) minimum 8 ½” x 11” copies of a site plan, including:
5. Two (2) copies structural design drawings; and two (2) copies of structural calculations (if applicable).
A. Drawings and Calculations. Drawings and calculations must be prepared by an engineer registered in Oregon. Drawings must include:
B. Pre-approved Structural Designs and Calculations: Structural designs and calculations for certain types and sizes of signs and awnings have been pre-approved by BDS. Although no pre-approved designs are on file for awnings or projecting signs, the pre-approval process is available for these installations as well. Drawings must still be submitted. However, if the drawings show compliance with a pre-approved structural design, generally structural plan review will not be required. Drawings prepared and sealed/stamped by an engineer are not required for pre-approved structural designs. Pre-approved structural designs are limited to:
Submittal requirements for a temporary banner registration:
Submittal requirements for a temporary fascia, freestanding or balloon sign registration:
Submittal requirements for a portable (A-Board) sign:
Submit the permit application to the Development Services Center in person or by mail.
When the proposed sign or awning has been determined to meet all requirements, fees are due and the permit or registration will be issued. Portable signs do not require a review process; application and fees should be submitted together.
(a) All awnings;A structural engineer will check the structural design for compliance with the Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC). All exterior signs must be able to resist the minimum wind loads and snow loads as required by the OSSC. All signs must be able to resist minimum vertical (dead and seismic) loads as required by OSSC.
(b) Signs projecting from or above buildings;
(c) All freestanding signs;
(d) Any wall sign that is over 400 lbs or over 7 lbs per square foot. Any wall sign that is not completely flush mounted-this includes signs on raceways;
(e) Where structural designs and calculations are not pre-approved by BDS; or
(f) Structural alterations to existing signs unless the alteration results in an expansion which is less than 10% of the existing sign size.
3. Permit Issuance: The permit will be issued when all reviews are complete, the proposed sign is approved, and fees are paid.
Inspections are required for all sign and awning permits. Call for inspections at the following points in the project:
To request an inspection , call (503) 823-7000 and select:
A special inspection may be required for complex signs as specified in the Oregon Structural Specialty Code. Notice will be given to the applicant as part of the engineering review process. When a special inspection is required, it must be performed by a City of Portland certified testing agency. For more information about special inspections call (503) 823-7782.