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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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FAQ: Gravel Street Service

  1. Why are you grading my gravel street?
  2. What are you going to be doing?
  3. Will you work on the drainage on these streets?
  4. How much does this cost?
  5. How is this being paid for?
  6. How long will the work take?
  7. Why can’t I park on the street while you work?
  8. Will I be able to reach my house during the work?
  9. How can I maintain my own gravel street?
  10. What if I have additional questions?

1. Why are you grading my gravel street?

Portland has over 50 miles of gravel streets. These streets are not maintained by the city. As a result, there are many streets that are in bad shape with large potholes and ruts. For many years, community members have asked PBOT and the City of Portland to do something about these streets. Paving these streets is very expensive. We estimate that it costs $6.3 million per mile to pave a gravel street. Finding the funding to pay for paving the gravel and other underimproved streets in Portland is a long-term project.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something in the meantime. That is why we started the Gravel Streets Service. While this is not a permanent solution, we believe this service will improve the condition on many of the city’s gravel streets.


2. What are you going to be doing?

We will be grading and graveling the street. Our crews will fill in the potholes and ruts and add gravel where it is needed. The new gravel will be graded and compacted with a heavy roller to make the road smooth. We will also shape the road so that water runs off correctly.

Crews will not work on private property; they also won’t work on driveways and shoulder areas. 


3. Will you work on the drainage on these streets?

No, crews will not be performing any drainage work.


4. How much does this cost?

*This service is FREE to residents on gravel streets.


5. How is this being paid for?

The Gravel Streets Service is funded by PBOT’s general transportation funding.


6. How long will the work take?

The amount of time our crews will be on your street will depend on the length and condition of your streets. We estimate that each street will take about two days. If your street is longer or in particularly bad shape, it may take longer.


7. Why can’t I park on the street while you work?

We don’t allow parking for your safety and the safety of our crews. Not having cars on the street also allows our crews to work faster.


8. Will I be able to reach my house during the work?

Yes. Our crews will maintain access to your home during the project. Talk to one of the crew members, and they will assist you.


9. How can I maintain my own gravel street?

Currently property owners who live on gravel streets are responsible for maintaining a portion of the street that is in front of their property to the middle of the street. The Gravel Streets Service does not change this responsibility. PBOT will provide the service once every three years. Between each service, property owners can do work to maintain their portion of the street. They are not required to obtain a permit. Although they do not need a permit, property owners do still need to meet specific conditions in order to maintain the street abutting their property. These conditions are the following:

  1. The travel lane width of the unimproved portion of the street remains the same;
  2. There is no resulting change in existing drainage patterns outside the public right-of-way;
  3. Drainage-ways located within public rights-of-way are not filled in or otherwise altered in any manner that could impact the flow of water;
  4. The materials used for maintaining the street are equivalent to the existing street materials, except that gravel may be used to resurface a dirt road;
  5. Asphalt, concrete or other man-made materials may not be applied to existing dirt or gravel surfaces, nor may existing dirt or gravel surfaces be converted to a paved surface;
  6. The maintenance activities and resulting condition of the street do not adversely affect surrounding properties; 
  7. Trees in the public right-of-way are not removed or pruned unless a tree permit has been obtained as provided in Title 11, Trees; and
  8. Speed bumps or other types of devices intended to slow traffic are not constructed.

10. What if I have additional questions?

Please contact the Portland Bureau of Transportation at 503-823-5185.