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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 1331, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

What are the alternatives to an LID?

City Council approved expanded maintenance options with the passage of Ordinance #177124. This ordinance became effective on January 10, 2003. Property owners were previously limited to the use of hand tools in maintaining unimproved streets. The ordinance provided for greater flexibility for abutting property owners in maintaining unimproved streets without a permit.


Expanded Maintenance Options

  • What has changed regarding maintenance of unimproved streets without a permit?
Property owners previously were limited to using hand tools to maintain their streets. If the street is dirt or gravel, the street may now be regraded and/or new dirt or gravel applied to it subject to the restrictions in Section 17.42.025 of City Code.  If the street has existing pavement, a new pavement overlay may now be applied, also subject to the restrictions in Section 17.42.025 of City Code.  This additional flexibility applies only to streets for which the City does not have maintenance responsibility. You can call Andrew Aebi at 503-823-5648 to determine whether the City maintains your street.
  • What area of the street may I maintain?
If the City does not maintain your street, you may maintain only the area abutting your property to the centerline. You may not maintain the area abutting your neighbors’ properties. They are responsible for their own portion of the right-of-way. It is neither your right nor your responsibility to maintain right-of-way abutting someone else’s property without their permission. While neighbors may join together to perform maintenance, the City cannot enforce collection of funds for this purpose.
  • Can speed bumps be installed?
Expanded maintenance options applies only to streets for which the City does not have maintenance responsibility. Speed bumps are not allowed on streets that are not maintained by the City.
  • May property owners hire a contractor in lieu of doing the work themselves?
Yes; property owners may now hire a contractor to repair streets for which the City does not have maintenance responsibility, or do the work themselves. You may also want to consider hiring an engineer as well.
  • Can the City recommend a specific contractor or engineer?
Because there are a variety of firms which do business in the City and pay taxes to the City, we cannot recommend any one firm over another, but recommend hiring a firm which is licensed and bonded. A variety of contractors are listed in the Daily Journal of Commerce and in other publications. Design work should be done by a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).
  • What are some considerations in hiring a specific contractor or engineer?
We suggest ensuring that any firm you hire is properly registered, licensed and bonded in Oregon. By City Code, property owners are liable for the condition of abutting unimproved streets. Any issues with respect to the condition of the street are considered private disputes among property owners. The City can assist only if property owners elect to take out a permit for the work done, regardless of whether such a permit is required.
  • Is other notification required?
Oregon utility notification law applies if excavating more than one foot. Go to for more information.

Permit Project

Unimproved streets can be improved to City standards via a permit instead of using a local improvement district (LID).  This approach generally works best when abutting property owners have engineering and construction expertise and can arrange for interim financing of the improvements.  More information is available on the permit process by contacting Chon Wong in Permit Engineering at 503-823-7050.

Gravel Streets Program