Garbage and recycling containers are not allowed to be stored on public sidewalks or streets within the city of Portland. In October of 2007 City Council adopted recommendations for further regulation and enforcement of these restrictions including:
- Containers currently placed in the right-of-way will be enforced through a complaint-driven process.
- Businesses and waste hauling companies are prohibited from placing new containers in the right-of-way for permanent storage.
- New commercial buildings and major alterations will be required to provide sufficient space for on-site collection and storage of garbage and recycling.
View the Containers on the Right of Way (CROW) report adopted by council.
Complaints concerning illegal containers in the right-of-way are being handled by the BDS Neighborhood Inspections Section. Their phone number is (503) 823-2107.
Requirements for Trash/Recycling Rooms or Exterior Trash/Recycling Areas
Several city bureaus regulate different aspects of garbage/trash and recycling storage.
- The Vehicles and Traffic Code prohibits storing garbage/trash and recycling containers on the public right-of-way or other public property for longer than 24 hours. (See Portland City Code, 16.20.170)
- The Zoning Code requires that exterior garbage/trash or recycling areas be screened from the street and adjacent properties in commercial areas. (Planning and Zoning Code section 33.130.235). The screening must, as a minimum, meet the requirements of the L2 or F2 standards of Chapter 33.248, Landscaping and Screening. Both of these sections of the Zoning Code are available online. You may also call the Zoning Information line at (503) 823-7526 and speak to a planner, or visit our Development Services Center.
- The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Stormwater Management Manual requires that exterior solid waste storage areas which includes, recycling (except cardboard), grease, and compost bins, are covered; are stored on pavement; are hydraulically isolated; and include drainage to an approved sanitary sewer system. Trash compactors are not required to be covered, but must comply with the drainage and isolation requirements. See the BES Stormwater Management Manual Chapter 4.5. BES Source Control staff is available to answer your questions on the phone at (503) 823-7122 or in the Development Services Center.
- The Building Code and Fire Code require indoor trash rooms to be equipped with a fire sprinkler system and to be constructed so that there is a fire separation between the trash room and the rest of the building. Interior door openings between the trash room and the building are restricted. See the BDS Code Guide IBC/7/#2. For more information, speak to a Life Safety Reviewer at (503) 823-1456 or visit our Development Services Center.
- The Portland Fire Code has regulations concerning the volume of trash or recycling that are allowed in various container types, locations or rooms. See Fire Code Sections 304 and 316 in Chapter 3 of the Fire Code or call (503) 823-3712. You can also call (503) 823-3712 and ask to be connected to your district fire inspector.
- The Solid Waste and Recycling Administrative Rules prohibit placing newly distributed containers in the public right of way. In addition, the rules require that businesses separate their recyclable materials and set out at least 50% of their waste for recycling. See the administrative rules regarding Commercial Solid Waste, Recycling & Compostables. For questions or information concerning commercial recycling, you can call the Bureau of Sustainable Development at or (503) 823-7037.
- The Permitting Services section of BDS (503) 823-7357 can help you with information about permitting the construction of either interior trash rooms or exterior storage areas.