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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Welcome to the official web site of the City of Portland, Oregon

General Information: 503-823-4000


1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 110, Portland, OR 97204

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Getting Started

A building permit is required when constructing a retaining wall that:

  • is more than four (4) feet high, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.
  • supports a surcharge. A surcharge is an additional load, beyond the normal weight of a level earth backfill is to holding back.

A zoning permit or a site development permit may be required instead of a building permit. Visit or call the Planning and Zoning staff (503) 823-7526 and Site Development staff (503) 823-7310 at the Development Services Center to determine if these permits are required. 

Your permit will be reviewed under provisions in the Residential Specialty Code (formerly the One and Two Family Dwelling Specialty Code) based on the 2003 IRC. View more information on building codes.