Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

School Zone Flashing Beacons

View SchoolBeacons in a larger map.

flashing beaconTraffic conditions near schools can seriously affect the safety of school children walking, biking, or being driven to school. Although by law, school zones have a 20 MPH speed limit when certain conditions are met, the posted limits alone aren’t necessarily effective at slowing motorists to improve the safety of children as they are walking or bicycling to/from school.

The City of Portland has installed flashing beacons at many schools to alert drivers that they are in a school zone, children are likely to be present, and the speed limit is 20 MPH.

School beacons are flashing lights placed above the school speed zone signs.  Beacons are scheduled to operate when children are expected to be present, such as before and after school, kindergarten or pre-school release times, and after school program release times.

When the light is flashing, the speed limit is 20 MPH - even if children are not present. 

All the beacons have signs explaining that when the lights are flashing, a 20 MPH speed limit is enforced in the school zone. However, police officers can issue citations at any time a safety violation occurs that endangers children.

The City of Portland maintains and programs over 160 flashing school beacons within five school districts along with private schools. The city has moved toward solar powered units for easier installation and maintenance with the latest beacons in 2017 and 2018.  The newest locations were funded by the Fixing Our Streets initiative and coordinated through Safe Routes to School.

Flashing school beacons are controlled remotely by a programing application using wireless communication. Flashing time schedules are based on information provided by each school’s administration. These are updated every summer to accommodate the changing times and calendars of each school for the upcoming school year. Times that the beacons are on can vary depending on the school schedules and circumstances. Beacons are typically on for a total of one hour per event; however, there are exceptions. Beacons may accommodate two schools within close proximity to one another. 

To report issues with existing flashing school beacons, please use: PDX Reporter – OR call 503-823-1700

Other questions or concerns: Janis McDonald – Safe Routes to School Coordinator at 503-823-5358

Examples of School Zone Signage:

speed signs