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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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Housing & Nuisance Code We Enforce

Tall grass and weeds create hazards to neighborhood residents and contribute to an unkempt look and feel to a neighborhood. Tall grass can harbor trash and hazards which can be dangerous to neighborhood occupants and children. Pests are more comfortable in these overgrown conditions. A highly overgrown lot becomes very dry in the heat of summer and is a potential for a fire hazard. City Code requires that tall grass and weeds be kept under 10 inches in height.

The City of Portland has enacted an ordinance requiring that all rental property have every other week garbage collection, and weekly recycling and composting service. This service must be subscribed to and paid for by the owner of the property. Owner occupied properties are not required to have weekly garbage service but are required to maintain their property in a clean condition. This ordinance has greatly contributed to the cleanliness of the City of Portland and thereby helped reduce the workload on Inspectors.

Specifically, the ordinance reads "All exterior property areas shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage". In addition, the inspectors enforce the accumulation or storage of non-trash items such as appliances, building materials, furniture or other items not suited to outdoor use.

Housing Maintenance

When the Residential Inspection Division receives a complaint or request for service on a particular property, an inspector is dispatched to investigate. The inspector will be looking for conditions which indicate deferred maintenance or unapproved installations. Examples of deferred maintenance conditions on the outside of the dwelling are peeling paint, missing or damaged gutters, broken windows, poorly supported or deteriorated foundations, damaged roofing or chimneys, missing or damaged siding or other signs of neglect. Interior conditions might include: broken wiring or fixtures, leaking plumbing pipes, damaged walls or flooring, missing or non-functional smoke detectors, unsanitary conditions or signs of pests, broken doors or door hardware, heating problems, missing handrails, damaged stairs or similar conditions.

Note that all of the conditions listed above are not directly related to health or safety concerns. Violations might also include conditions which contribute to continued deterioration and to the protection of the dwelling. These conditions may be imminent or not.

Enforcement of this code also applies to the overall look and feel of a neighborhood. Rundown buildings contribute to a feeling of blight and will have a tendency to attract crime and transients.

Disabled Vehicles On Private Property

This Bureau does not have jurisdiction over disabled vehicles stored or parked on the sidewalk, planting strip or public right of way. These vehicles should be referred to the "Abandoned Auto Hotline" at 823-7309.

The Property nuisance portion of City Code Title 29 prohibits storage of disabled vehicles on private property. City Code 29.20.010 (I) does not permit the storing of a disabled vehicle for more than 7 days unless the vehicle is enclosed within a legally permitted building or unless it is stored by a licensed business enterprise dealing in junked vehicles lawfully conducted within the City. Removal and disposition of such disabled vehicles shall be in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 16.30 of the Code to the extent that such provisions are applicable.

This Bureau responds to complaints about damaged or disabled vehicles on private property. When the Inspector visits the property, they will determine if the vehicle is indeed visibly disabled, ie. flat tires, broken windows, engine parts missing, whether or not the vehicle is legally driveable on the street. If the Inspector determines this vehicle is disabled , the Inspector will tag the vehicle with a warning tag, warning the registered owner and the property owner that if the vehicle is not removed, made driveable or stored within garage within 7 days, the vehicle will be towed.

After the vehicle is tagged or warned at the site a letter will be sent to the registered owner and the property owner informing them of their responsibility for this vehicle. The owner is then given the opportunity to contest the warning through the Code Hearings Officer before the vehicle is towed.

This ordinance has greatly reduced the number of disabled and stored junk cars throughout the City.

Would you like to report a disabled vehicle on private property?