A Boon to Small Businesses: “Parking Plazas” to continue through winter

As part of its Safe Streets Initiative, PBOT has a Business Toolkit intended to help businesses and organizations meet the requirements for physical distancing to limit the spread of Covid-19. Part of this toolkit is the Healthy Businesses permit, which allows for temporary use of sidewalks, parking spaces, and street right-of-way to give people more space to conduct business safely during the current public health crisis. 

For basic guidelines, see https://www.portland.gov/transportation/safestreetspdx/hb-requirements-conditions

Businesses that obtained Healthy Businesess permits for summer and fall 2020 may renew their permits for winter and thus remain open.   The winter permits are called the Winter Healthy Businesses permits. These new permits are FREE and will last through March 31, 2021. 

Winter permit guidelines include conditions for electrical,tents,and other equipment. Many businesses will seek to provide heat, more lighting, or generally shield their customers or merchandise from rain or harsher weather these next few months. Here are important requirements to keep in mind: 

  • You must keep 6 feet of sidewalk space clear for pedestrians at all times.  
  • You must keep cords for lighting or electricity at least 10 feet above the sidewalk or, if on the sidewalk, under ADA-compliant cord-protector ramps.  
  • Heaters must comply with requirements from the Fire Marshal’s Office 
  • You may have temporary tents and canopies next to buildings if you keep the 6-foot pedestrian through-zone clear. 
  • You may have freestanding tents in some parking spaces, but these will NOT BE ALLOWED within 50 feet of intersections for safety and visibility reasons. You must request an exemption to this rule. Portland Fire & Rescue’s Fire Marshal’s Office has also released guidance on tents and other safety considerations for businesses
  • You may not attach equipment to any utility pole, light pole, street sign, other infrastructure, or to the surface of the street or sidewalk. 
  • You must secure or remove your equipment as necessary during severe weather events such as wind, ice, or snow. 

This program is contingent on Multnomah County’s Covid-19 status. Permits are temporary and revocable.

For detail on these winter permits, see https://www.portland.gov/transportation/safestreetspdx/what-healthy-businesses-permit#toc–new-winter-healthy-businesses-permits- and

https://www.portland.gov/fire/permits-inspections/10-9-update-pbot-winter-healthy-businesses-programFor information about using parking lots and other private property, visit https://www.portland.gov/bds/news/2020/6/18/social-distancing-guidelines-restaurant-seating-and-retailers

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