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FIR-3.11 - Public Assembly Event Permits

Administrative Rule Adopted by Portland Fire & Rescue Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority




A.  This policy is established May 2, 1991.


B.  The purpose of this policy is to provide clarity and uniformity in the issuance of public assembly permits.


C.  The policy shall apply within all areas in which Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) has fire prevention authority.




A.  References:


1.  2007 Portland Fire Code (PFC), Chapter 10.


2.  NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.


3.  2010 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC).


4.  Portland City Code Title 31.40.040.


B.  Definitions:


1.  Annual Occupancy Permit: A permit that is renewed annually which covers the total public assembly occupancy and floor plans. Does not cover any specific event or performance.


2.  Bulk Space: Floor areas which DO NOT have established floor plans for the layout of fixtures, booths, exhibits, display products, etc. at the time of plan submittal. Bulk space areas are commonly shown on floor plans as a large blank area without aisles, booths, or fixtures, etc.


3.  Event: A temporary public assembly gathering of 500 or more people indoors or outdoors where more than 50 people are confined by fences. Events are gatherings which are not physically laid out in accordance with floor plans approved as part of an Annual Public Assembly Occupant Permit.




A.  Permits Required:


1.  Public Assembly Event permits are required for events held inside a structure when the calculated load exceeds 500 people. Permits are required for events such as trade shows, exhibits, conventions, meetings, food festivals, art festivals, or similar functions.


2.  Trade shows with six or more vending booths or display tables.


3.  Fenced outdoor events where 50 or more people may gather.


Exception: Public Assembly Event permits are not required for events at public assemblies which conform to seating plans approved under an Annual Occupancy Permit or as approved by the Bureau of Development Services (BDS).


B.  Plan Submittal Requirements:


1.  A completed permit application must be submitted with two copies of floor plans drawn to scale. It is permissible to use generic facility floor plans, such as those provided by the Convention Center, Expo Center, etc. However, if generic facility floor plans are used, and are not drawn to scale, then additional dimensions must be provided for booths, exhibits, etc. In general, the Fire Prevention Division will not approve floor plans which have not been approved by the Public Assembly Facility Management where applicable.


Information required on plans:


a.  Floor layout showing booths, stages, tables, furniture locations, etc.


b.  Location and size of all exits. Indicate door swing.


c.  Aisle locations and dimensions.


d.  Use and location of decorations.


e.  If propane is to be used, a separate permit will be required. The plan submitted with the application shall show the location(s) of tanks and type(s) of equipment.


2.  Submittal Deadline: Applications and required plan information must be submitted twenty one (21) days prior to the event start date. If materials are submitted less than 21 days before an event a double permit fee may be assessed. Revisions may be submitted up to seven days before an event date but could result in additional fees if the revisions include changes such as adding booths, reducing exit widths, etc. or if the revision requires code resolution.


PF&R strongly discourages applicants from submitting permit applications less than seven (7) days before an event. Upon receipt of an application less than 7 days prior to an event, the FMO will make reasonable efforts to determine whether any Fire Inspectors are available to complete a plan review and site inspection prior to the event. If no Inspectors are available, the application will be rejected. If an Inspector is available but is unable to schedule an inspection with the applicant, the application will be rejected.


Regardless of when the application is submitted, PF&R will not issue a permit unless all fire and life safety violations identified by the Inspector have been abated.


3.  Failure to comply with the provisions of an approved permit or any requirements of this policy may result in the revocation of the current permit, issuing of citations and/or fines, and/or denial of any further requests for permits by said applicant.


C.  Special Facility Use Notice Requirements: Operators of facilities which normally operate from approved Annual Occupancy Public Assembly seating plans, must provide 30-day notice to the Fire Marshal’s Office for any changes to the approved permit.


D.  Fire Watch/Standby: The Fire Marshal’s Office may perform a fire watch or standby if additional fire and life safety hazards are identified during plan review. Associated fees are at the expense of the applicant and can be found in Portland Policy FIR-12.01 - Fire Regulations Fee Schedule.



Originally adopted by Fire Marshal as Fire Prevention Division Policy Manual Document C-11, effective May 2, 1991, revised May 12, 1997.
Filed for inclusion in PPD June 13, 2003.
Revised administrative rule adopted by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue and filed for inclusion in PPD July 7, 2009.
Revised administrative rule adopted by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue and filed for inclusion in PPD August 25, 2011.
Revised administrative rule adopted by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue and filed for inclusion in PPD September 8, 2011.
Revised administrative rule adopted by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue and filed for inclusion in PPD November 19, 2015.