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Comment on draft code language for deconstruction requirement through May 18

deconstruction workersDraft code language for Portland’s new deconstruction requirement that will help shape how certain buildings are removed in Portland is now ready for public comment through May 18, 2016. Portland City Council passed the new Deconstruction Resolution with a unanimous vote in February.

After incorporating revisions from the public comment period, City Council will consider the code language on June 29. Code language provides a framework for deconstruction and salvage requirements as well as enforcement. The new deconstruction requirement goes into effect in October 2016. 

Deconstruction is a method for removing structures that keeps valuable materials out of the landfill, protects health, creates pathways to construction careers and generates affordable reusable building materials. Currently, less than 10 percent of houses that are removed use deconstruction -- the rest are mechanically demolished, sending most materials to the landfill.

The new resolution directs BPS to develop code language that: 

Requires projects seeking a demolition permit for a one or two-family structure (house or duplex) to fully deconstruct that structure if: 

1. The structure was built in 1916 or earlier; or
2. The structure is a designated historic resource.

Provisions for exemptions will include structures that are determined to pose an immediate safety hazard or unsuitable for deconstruction / salvage (e.g., too much rot, mold, or fire). 

Benefits of the new deconstruction requirements

  • Diverts 8,000,000 pounds (4,000 tons) of materials for reuse (annually).
  • Creates job opportunities that act as a pathway for construction careers.
  • Increases likelihood of discovering materials containing lead and asbestos for safe removal and disposal.
  • Triples the amount of deconstruction activity in Portland.

How to Comment

The new code language is available for review at the City's website

Submit comments by email to

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-5468, the TTY at 503-823-6868 or the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

Deconstruction Grant Program gets additional funds from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

At a June 2015 City Council hearing, BPS recommended establishing a deconstruction grant program as a first step towards increasing deconstruction activity in Portland. City Council unanimously supported the recommendation and asked BPS to return in January 2016 with a status report on the grant program and recommendations for next steps. Maximum grant awards are $2,500 for full deconstruction; $500 for partial projects. 

BPS was recently awarded additional funding to support the grant program from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  Visit for application criteria and instructions.


Contact Shawn Wood at or 503-823-5468.