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Outdoor Advertising Sign Program Resources

Related Laws and Rules

Oregon Revised Statute

  • 377.700 - Motorist Information Signs
    • This section includes permitting requirements and exemptions

Oregon Administrative Rule

  • 734-059 - Signs, General Provisions
    • The section provides definitions of key terms, costs to obtain permits and business licenses, as well as penalties for related violations.
  • 734-060 - Signs
    • This section includes application process information and exemption rules.
  • 734-063 - Relocating Outdoor Advertising Signs on a Scenic Byway
    • Rules included in this section are intended to ensure the state complies with federal scenic byway laws.
  • 734-065 - Advertising Signs Attached to Bus Shelters
    • This section of Oregon rule reviews the specifications and requirements associated with transit shelter signage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are circumstances when a permit is required, such as:

  • If compensation will be exchanged for posting the sign;
  • If the sign is not located at a place of business or location open to the public.

A permit is not required if no funds are exchanged and the sign is located at a place of business or other location open to the public.

"For compensation" rules apply when anything of value is exchanged between parties for posting information on a sign structure, such as a billboard. Items of value include, but are not limited to:
  • Money;
  • Goods or services;
  • Forgiveness of a debt;
  • Consideration of a past or future action or payment; and
  • Erection of the sign.
Exclusions to this rule include payment to the sign builder or laborer for the physical act of initially building or erecting the sign structure.

​No, signs - including those defined as temporary - are not allowed in the state highway right-of-way.

Any sign placed in the highway right-of-way is done so illegally. If found, ODOT may remove signs from the right-of-way without notice.

Official highway signs are excluded from this rule.

The highway right-of-way is state-owned property that includes the roadway and often additional property alongside the pavement.

This property is used to enhance road safety, held for future road projects, and so on.

The width of the right-of-way varies depending on the location. Within the limits of a given city, the right-of-way may only extend from curb to curb. In other areas, the right-of-way may extend 200 feet or more beyond the pavement.

As right-of-way boundaries are not always clearly marked, local ODOT districts can provide assistance in determining these boundaries. 

​A business is defined as a commercial enterprise operated with the intent of economic gain.

A permit is not required when a business - visible from a highway - posts signs at the location of business, about the business. This also applies to activities that are open to the public.

Operations not classified as a business under sign regulations, and therefore subject to permitting rules include:

  • Agricultural or forest land;
  • Residential buildings; and 
  • Businesses operating outdoor advertising sign structures.

​An activity open to the public is defined as a location whose main purpose is to provide a service to the public. Such locations include:

  • Charitable organization centers;
  • Political campaign headquarters; 
  • Churches or other worship facility;
  • Community centers; and
  • Community parks.

Signs posted at a location of this nature are exempt from permit requirements if no compensation is exchanged between the involved parties.

Yes, state sign regulations apply to all state and federal highways, regardless of whether the sign is inside or outside the limits of a city.

Some permit requirements change within a city. For example, the law requires more distance between signs outside city limits, than within.

In addition, sometimes the state transfer a state highway to a county or city jurisdiction. In some cases, federal law requires us to continue regulating signs there. Check with us if you have a question about the location.​

Occasionally the state transfers ownership of a highway to a county or city jurisdiction. In certain circumstances, federal law requires ODOT to continue it responsibilities to regulation the signs on that roadway.

Oregon laws regulate the placement of signs to protect out state's unique beauty and to improve driver safety by reducing the visual distractions that signs can cause. Signs that are visible from state highways are subject to regulation, including those located on private property.

Oregon is required to meet or exceed federal standards for sign regulation or risk losing 10 percent of its annual highway funding. This amounts to approximately $45 million per year in highway construction and maintenance funding that could be lost if the state does not comply.

Glossary

For exact, legal definitions, please consult the Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules. If you cannot find a term of interest, please contact our office. 

Outdoor Advertising Sign Program

4040 Fairview Industrial Drive, MS 2
Salem, Oregon 97302
Phone: 503-986-3656
Fax: 503-986-3625

Program Contacts

Phone: 503-986-3656
 
Phone: 503-986-3635

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