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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Why was this Draft Policy developed?


Neighborhood and community activists have raised concerns in the past about the need for a more consistent and transparent process for how the City identifies and disposes of real property.

In 2010, in response to community concerns about the disposition of city-owned Park Bureau and Water Bureau land, two neighborhood district coalitions—SE Uplift and the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN)—created a workgroup to research the issue and make recommendations. The workgroup members created a checklist suggested information community member should consider asking city bureaus to provide.

In 2013, community members contacted the City Ombudsman with concerns about the Water Bureau’s sale of the city-owned “Freeman Tank property” in southwest Portland to a private developer.

City Auditor reviews City’s real property management and disposition of surplus property: After the Freeman Tank issue arose, the City Auditor decided to audit the City’s structure for real property management and how the City and bureaus identify and dispose of surplus real property. In April 2015, the City Auditor issued a report. The report found that no overall City strategy existed for real property management and little guidance existed for bureaus and city staff on how to identify and dispose of surplus real property. The City Auditor also found that the City lacks a comprehensive inventory of City-owned real property and was not periodically reviewing the City’s real property holdings.

The City Auditor recommended a number of actions, including:

  • Creation of a consistent, city-government-wide policy on excess and surplus real property disposition to present to City Council for approval.
  • Strengthened centralized management within city government of the surplus real property disposal process.
  • Development of a comprehensive inventory of all City-owned real property and regularly review and update the inventory.

The full City Auditor report is available at: :

BES and Water Bureau Adopt Interim Policies: Shortly before the City Auditor began the audit, Commissioner Fish directed the Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services to adopt pilot policies for the sale of surplus real property. Both bureau adopted interim policies and have created websites with information about their policies and real property holdings.

The Bureau of Internal Business Services (BIBS) also has a website devoted to property available for lease or sale.

Committee develops proposed city-wide policy:  Also shortly before the City Auditor began the audit, the Portland Property Management Committee (PPMC) (convened by the BIBS Director) began to develop a city wide policy for surplus real property disposition. The committee included bureau property managers and representatives from the City Attorney’s Office and city policy staff.

Some recent articles: