1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
1. Is the proposed work a Demolition or Major Alteration?
A demolition means removal of all exterior walls above the foundation.
A major alteration means removing 50% or more of the exterior walls above the foundation.
To assist with determining whether the work qualifies as a demolition or a major alteration, the following guide offers an overview and illustrate various examples of major alterations and additions.
Portland City Code Section 24.55.210 (Major Alterations and Additions) require notification and delay for larger residential alteration and addition projects. Please see the Major Residential Alteration and Addition Permit - Overview and Criteria page for information on this type of permit.
Important: If your project changes from a major alteration to a demolition at any point, you will be required to stop your project, obtain a demolition permit and meet the 35-day delay and notification requirements for demolition projects.
2. Demolition Delay Ordinance (City Code Section 24.55.200)
A demolition permit for structures with 1-2 dwelling units in areas with a residential Comprehensive Plan Map designation are subject to a demolition delay. The Demolition Ordinance requires the following:
Mailed notice sent by BDS to properties within 150 feet within 5 business days of a complete application being received by BDS
Emailed notice sent by BDS to recognized organizations whose boundaries include the site, the Architectural Heritage Center and Restore Oregon
Door hangers placed on properties within 300 feet by the applicant not more than two weeks nor less than 72 hours before demolition activity commences
Possible 60- day extension with a successful appeal of the demolition permit issuance
The Residential Demolitions - Overview and Criteria webpage contains more information on the Demolition Ordinance, including the required delay and notification rules and regulations, links to State and federal government agencies that regulate air quality, asbestos and lead paint and other useful information relating to residential demolitions.
3. Site Controls for Demolitions with 1-4 Dwelling Units
Effective July 1, 2018, demolitions of structures with 1-4 dwelling units and the accessory structures over 200s square feet on those sites must implement the site control measures outlined in Portland City Code Section 24.55.205. Those site control measures include:
4. Deconstruction Ordinance (City Code Chapter 17.106)
All single-dwelling structures (houses and duplexes) in all zones are subject to a Deconstruction Ordinance if:
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s ExploreDecon.com webpage contains information about the Deconstruction Ordinance, associated Administrative Rules, and a list of Certified Deconstruction Contractors.
5. Soil Compaction
After demolition, the site must be restored to conditions suitable for new construction. If the building to be demolished has a basement or foundation that will result in a replacement fill of 24” or greater, the replacement soil is required to be compacted, and a soils special inspection by an independent agency is required.
When a replacement house is being constructed at the same time and the basement excavation is being reused, in some conditions, it is possible to put off the compacted fill requirement by submitting an Agreement for Basement Fill & Compaction. This agreement guarantees that the excavation will be filled if the new construction does not occur.
A sewer cap is required if a house to be demolished is served by the City sewer. If the sanitary system was a septic tank or cesspool, then the abandonment of that system must be inspected under a decommission permit.
7. Intent to Demolish
If you, the applicant, are not the owner of the property listed on the deed, you will need a completed intent to demolish form signed by all property owners. If you recently purchased the property, you will need to show proof of ownership.
8. Tree Code Requirements
Title 11 Tree Code requirements are triggered by the criteria below, and must be met prior to a demolition permit being issued. Your permit can be taken in for review without tree preservation information, but you must complete your tree preservation requirements during the 35-day demolition delay period. Planning and Zoning won’t approve the demolition permit until the Title 11 Tree Code requirements are met. Because the permit can’t get issued until Planning and Zoning signs off on the application, failure to meet the Tree Code requirements could delay issuance of the permit. Learn more about trees and development.
The following information must be submitted when applying for a demolition permit. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information.
Erosion control plan (may be a part of the site plan) or completed simple site erosion control form, if the project will result in ground disturbing activity. Note: Erosion control measures shall be installed, even when a simple site erosion control form has been accepted. See Portland City Code Section 24.55.205 for dust and site control requirements for demolitions of structures with 1 – 4 dwelling units and their related detached accessory structures.
SITE PLAN (Scale site plans to most appropriate scale, e.g. 1”= 10’ or 1/4”= 1’)
To submit for a permit, bring the completed building permit application and four (4) copies of site, architectural, and structural plans (for the area of proposed work and areas affected by such work ) along with intake fees to the Development Services Center.
The Bureau of Development Services sells a "Residential Combination" permit package. This allows you to call for all inspections using just the Building Permit (RS) IVR number and pay for all the permits at one time. You will need to submit the trade (mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing) application(s) signed either by you, if you are doing these portions of the work yourself, or by your licensed subcontractors. If you do not have your completed subcontractor forms when you are applying for your residential permit (RS) you will have to apply for trade permits separately from the building permit. Sub-contractors that you hire must be registered with the State of Oregon and carry the correct licenses in association with their trade.
Many Demolition permits can be reviewed "over the counter” in the Development Services Center. You will meet individually with city staff from different departments. Each staff person will review your plans with you to verify that the proposed work meets requirements. If information is missing or if corrections are needed, you will be asked to update your plans. In this case, another trip to the Permit Center may be needed.
If the project is subject to Demolition Delay, the site control measures for demolitions of structures with 1 – 4 dwelling units and their detached accessory strctures, or more complex the plans will be taken in for the waiting period, or for further review. You will be sent a checksheet requesting any clarifications or corrections. For additional information on the review process, see the permitting process overview flowchart.
The bureaus/review groups that will check a typical demolition project are:
Status reports are available after your project has been taken in for review. Status reports show all reviews and include the reviewer’s name and phone number. To obtain a status report, call 503-823-7000 and select option four (4) to have a status report faxed to you or call 503-823-7357 to have one mailed to you.
When the last technical review is approved, and any required demolition delay has elapsed, your permit will be pre-issued. You will be contacted when your permit is ready, and notified of your final fee total. Fees may be paid by cash, check, Visa or Mastercard.
When your permit is ready to be issued, you may pick up your permit at Permitting Services, located on the 2nd floor of 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR. For more information call (503) 823-7357. For hours, see the hours listed on the Development Services Center page.
The blue inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first. All demolitions of structures with 1 – 4 dwelling units and their detached accessory structures will have three inspections. See Portland City Code Section 24.55.205.D and BDS Demolition Administrative Rule, Section 3.11 for more information on these inspections.
Once your building permit is issued, erosion control measures must be installed, prior to beginning any further ground disturbing activities. Please note: for demolitions of residential structures with 1 – 4 dwelling units and their detached accessory structures, the permit for any replacement structure(s) will not be issued until the demolition permit has been signed off by the inspector.