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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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Portland Pathway FAQs

Photo of happy dog sitting nearby an urban trail

How do I know if the trail I have in mind is on public right-of-way (ROW)?

  • Go to PortlandMaps.com
  • Type in the address where the trail ends or begins, OR the cross-streets
  • All the areas outlined in white are City right-of-way.
  • Email PBOT staff to confirm that the undeveloped ROW is under PBOT jurisdiction.

What kind of trails are perfect for this program?

Trails that are great for the Portland Pathways program are ones that:

  • Serve as important walking connections to parks, transit, schools, and other destinations
  • Are gravel or dirt areas located in underdeveloped low-volume streets, alleyways, and urban pathways.

I want to get involved! How can I participate?

You can participate in numerous ways as a knowledgeable trail user, a neighbor, and an adjacent property owner!

As a knowledgeable trail user, you can:

  • Propose a trail and apply for a permit
  • Volunteer to create or maintain a permitted trail
  • Volunteer to provide technical support for new trails

As a neighbor, you can lend your voice during trail design and volunteer to maintain a permitted trail.

As an adjacent property owner, you can participate by keeping the trail clear of obstacles. You can also rest assured that you will not be liable for any personal injury or damages that occur on permitted trails under House Bill 2865 (ORS 105.668).

What is the difference between the simple and moderate community support requirement?

The difference between the simple and moderate community support requirements stems from whether the proposed trail has been adopted by City Council from a PBOT plan. If it has, then the trail has already been vetted by PBOT and only requires a notification to be sent to residents adjacent to the trail, stating that the trail will be constructed soon. However, the proposed trail will still have to be examined by other City of Portland bureaus.

If a trail has not been adopted by City Council, that means the trail will have to undergo a more thorough community engagement process, including a notification letter to adjacent property owners, to gauge community support for this project.

What does it mean for a trail to be “City Council-adopted”?

For a trail to be “City Council-adopted” or, “adopted by City Council,” it means that the trail was a part of a plan that was accepted by City Council as an official City of Portland plan, and included community engagement as part of the plan. 

For example, the Southwest Urban Trails Plan from 2000 was adopted by City Council, so trails on this map (Map 3.1) are considered "adopted":

Click here to see full plan and enlarged Map 3.1 in Appendix B.

Is there a Code of Conduct for Portland Pathways applications?

Yes! A Portland Pathways application requires applicants to adhere to a Code of Conduct for the benefit of themselves, the community, community partners, and city staff. The Code of Conduct is as follows:

  • 1. No person shall violate any Federal, State or City of Portland Laws.
  • 2. No person shall take, deface, degrade, damage or destroy any personal property located in or upon this location. 
  • 3. No person may light any object on fire except for smoking devices designed for smoking.
  • 4. No person shall engage in behavior that constitutes as harassment toward private property owners, residents or neighbors regardless of their support or opposition of the proposed trail.
  • 5. No person shall engage in behavior that constitutes as harassment toward City staff.
  • 6. No person shall engage in unsafe action during trail construction or during trail maintenance.

Consequences for not abiding by this Code of Conduct may result in the termination of a trail application or the removal of an existing permit.

Do tax payers have to pay for newly permitted trails? 

  • No. Trails that are permitted through this program are not provided with funds for trail development. This program provides technical support as well as a pathway to permit for eligible trails. However, we do work to inform those who subscribe to our eNewsletter and who inquire with us directly about grant opportunities to support trail development and maintenance across the City of Portland. 

Still have a question? Email us at trails@portlandoregon.gov and will add your question to the FAQ page! 

Updated June 2019