Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Applying For My Permit

General Information

  • Work to install a sign or awning prior to BDS issuing a permit is prohibited. Any such pre-permit work is subject to a citation of violation and a fine. Both the person installing a sign without a permit and the property owner can be found in violation of the code.
  • A separate permit application is required for each sign or awning.
  • All plans and drawings must be complete and drawn to scale. Line quality and contrast must be easily read and result in a readable document after photocopying, microfilming, scanning or similar reproduction. The site plan, and structural design drawings and calculations must be on substantial paper.
  • The requirements for alteration to an existing sign are the same as for a new sign, however if the expansion of the new sign is 10% or less than the size/area of the existing permitted sign, no structural drawings or calculations are required.
  • When a sign includes lighting or other electrical components the party doing the work must be an electrician licensed by the State of Oregon. 

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:

  • All details and dimensions of the sign;
  • Type of material and all dimensions of supports and footings;
  • Clearance above ground;
  • Distance of any projection over the right-of-way;
  • If the sign will be attached to a building:  Show the building roof line for the wall on which the sign will be mounted; and
  • Type of lighting.

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:

  • Site address;
  • Sign contractor’s name;
  • Property lines and lengths along street(s);
  • Building footprint;
  • Lengths of building walls:
    • that face a public street and have a public entrance; or
    • tenant space without street frontage, but with a public entrance facing a parking area;
  • Public entrance(s) to each building;
  • Name(s) of abutting street(s);
  • If the sign is to be located within 15' of a street corner or driveway, distance between sign and corner or driveway. Distance is measured from the street curb on a corner and from the driveway throat on a driveway (not required for sign alterations if the size or location of the sign is not changing);
  • Parking areas and driveways (not required for sign alterations);
  • Locations and dimensions of existing and proposed signs (for sign alterations where the sign size is not changing, include only the sign proposed for alteration)
  • Note which existing signs are freestanding and which project over the right-of-way (not required for sign alterations where the size or location is not changing); and
  • North arrow.

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:

  1. Dimensions;
  2. Materials;
  3. Construction of the sign (e.g, plastic, light gauge steel);
  4. Foundations for freestanding signs;
  5. Methods of attachments to the building or structure; and,
  6. If the sign or awning is to be attached to a building, the drawings shall have information justifying the adequacy of building members to support the loads imposed by the sign and sign structure or awning and awning structure.

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:

  1. Freestanding Signs, Asymmetrical Design: 200 square feet maximum area when not over 25 feet from top of the sign to grade;
  2. Freestanding Signs, Symmetrical Design: 200 square feet maximum area when not more than 25 feet from top of sign to grade; or
  3. Projecting wall mounted Signs: 200 square feet maximum sign area and which not less than 8 feet clearance is provided below the sign to the highest ground level.  Pre-approved projecting sign designs will be limited to the attachment methods, attachment materials and wall materials specified in the request. 

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.