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The state regulates signs that are on public and private property and visible to state highways. No signs, other than official traffic control devices, are allowed in state highway right-of-way.
The Outdoor Sign Advertising Program uses two primary questions to determine when sign permits are required.
See the Reference Materials and Resources page for definitions of compensation and open to the public.
In 2006 an Oregon Supreme Court Decision, resulted in changes in the permitting system. The Outdoor Advertising Sign Program functions as a cap-and-replace program for most permits, with the exception of exempt signage and transit permits. Transit permits for signs on transit benches and routes, at official transit stops.
Outdoor Advertising Sign Permit. These permits can be for sign sizes up to the maximum of 14’ x 48’ and may contain any message or information the sign owner wants. However, the permits can be difficult to obtain and is a private transaction between the current permit holder and the party wishing to purchase the permit.
Oregon does not issue “new” permits, except for Transit Permits. Permits that existed prior to the law change on May 31, 2007, are called “preexisting” sign permits and may be reconstructed, relocated or sold, at which time updated permits are issued for the reconstruction, relocation or sale of the sign. If an outdoor advertising sign has been on site continuously since 5/31/07, being utilized as an outdoor advertising sign, please contact the sign program about the possibility of qualifying for an outdoor advertising sign permit.
These permits are for placing signs on existing public transit benches or shelters. See the application packets to view the requirements.
Three types of signs are exempt from the permit requirement.
Signs that are up for less than 60 days in a year, are no more than 12 square feet, and not posted for compensation may be exempt from needing a permit. As additional criteria apply, please see ORS 377.735.
Under statute ORS 377.735, signs up to 32 square feet may qualify for a size variance. To request a variance, please submit ODOT form 734-5123 Request for Size or Time Variance for Temporary Sign.
Signs of a Governmental Unit:
A city, county, or other unit of government may place a sign for the purposes of carrying out their official duties.
For more information please see ORS 377.756.
Public Safety & Convenience Signs:
A sign, no more than six square feet, that guides the public in the use of the highway system, may be exempt. Examples include signs for restrooms and freight entrances.
Please refer to ORS 377.735(4) for more information.
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