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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 Inspections FAQs

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Electrical Service Inspection

Question:Electrical Service

  • Is a service inspection….(Inspection code #120/111) required or is that included in a cover inspection (inspection code #105) or a final inspection (inspection code  #199)?


  • Customers should request all inspections relevant to their project. If the project involves a service change, panel change or added sub panel, an inspection (#120/111/145) should be requested. This provides a record of requested inspections and approvals for all aspects of the electrical installation that has taken place. If only a cover inspection and a final inspection is approved there would be no record of a service/ sub panel approval unless a 120/111/145 inspection was requested and /or approved.

Backwater Valves

What is a “backwater valve” and under what circumstances should one be installed?

Backwater Valves

Question: What is a “backwater valve” and under what circumstances should one be installed?

Backwater Valve:  A device installed in a drainage system to prevent reverse flow.

  • When installed and operating in a correct manner, a backwater valve will prevent the reverse flow of sewage or other effluent from re-entering and possibly flooding the dwelling.      

The following code articles describe the criteria and circumstances of when “back water valves” are required.  

OPSC Section:

710.0 Drainage of Fixtures Located Below the Next Upstream Manhole or Below the Main Sewer Level. 

710.1 Backflow Protection. Where a fixture is installed on a floor level that is lower than the next upstream manhole cover of the public or private sewer serving such drainage piping, shall be protected from backflow of sewage by installing an approved type of backwater valve. Fixtures on floor levels above such elevation shall not discharge through the backwater valve. Cleanouts for drains that pass through a backwater valve shall be clearly identified with a label, sign or markings, stating water valve downstream". 

710.6 Backwater Valves. Backwater valves, gate valves, fullway ball valves, unions, motors, compressors, air tanks, and other mechanical devices required by this section shall be located where they will be accessible for inspection and repair and, unless continuously exposed, shall be enclosed in a masonry pit fitted with an adequately sized removable cover.

Backwater valves shall have bodies of cast-iron, plastic, brass, or other approved materials; shall have noncorrosive bearings, seats, and self-aligning discs; and shall be constructed so as to ensure a positive mechanical seal. Such backwater valves shall remain open during periods of low flows to avoid screening of solids and shall not restrict capacities or cause excessive turbulence during peak loads. Unless otherwise listed, valve access covers shall be bolted type with gasket, and each valve shall bear the manufacturer's name cast into the body and the cover.

Electrical Inspections Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I, as a homeowner or a member of the homeowner’s immediate family, do electrical work on a residential property?

Answer: It depends on your answer to the following questions which are based on Oregon Law, under Oregon Revised Statues, ORS 479.540 Electrical Safety Law: 

    • YES if it is a single family residence that you own and occupy, and will live in for 6 months after final approval.

    • NO
       If it is a residential property you own, but are using as a rental property; or
       If it is a residential property you own, but intend to rent, sell, lease or exchange; or
       If it is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU); or
       If a friend or tenant is doing the electrical work on your residential property 

Question: For Electrical Permits, when do I call for inspection and in what order?
Answer: Rough-in inspections are needed once wiring has been installed; all splices are completed, prior to installing the devices or covering the installation with finishes.

After rough-in approval, finishes are installed and all devices/fixtures are installed and functioning. Please then request a Final Inspection.

Question: Do I need to be home for the inspection?
Answer: An adult (18 years or older) is required to be present at the site for inspection if the property is occupied or has belongings inside per City policy.