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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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Setting safe speeds on Portland’s shopping streets

State law allows Portland to request 20 mph speed limits on streets in business districts. As with all speed limit changes, Portland must request this change from Oregon’s Department of Transportation.

How requests work

  1. As staff time allows, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation identifies streets that may be eligible for business 20 mph speed limits. The public can also suggest business 20 street segments online.
  2. Although not required by law, PBOT generally notifies the community that their street may be eligible for a 20 mph business district speed limit.
  3. PBOT sends a letter to ODOT requesting a 20 mph business district speed limit.
  4. If ODOT grants the request, PBOT creates a work order to place new 20 mph signage.

From start to finish, this process may take a month or more.

Benefits of 20 mph speed limits

Eligibility for business 20 mph speed limits

To qualify for a business 20 mph speed limit, a street must legally be in a “business district.”

Examples of Portland street segments with business 20 speed limits
SW Capitol, Miles to 37th
NE Fremont, 42nd to 52nd
SE Hawthorne, 30th to 50th
N Killingsworth, I-5 to Cleveland
SE Stark, Water to 15th

State law 801.170 defines a business district as “the territory contiguous to a highway when 50 percent or more of the frontage thereon for a distance of 600 feet or more on one side, or 300 feet or more on both sides, is occupied by buildings used for business.”

In preparing requests to ODOT, PBOT generally includes the following information:

  • Percentage of street frontage used for business
  • Latest crash data on deaths and serious injuries on the street segment
  • Evidence of support from the local community

PBOT may also use business license data to supplement information on commercial use.

More information:

Dana Dickman
Safety Section Manager, PBOT