Residential Fencing Code and Rules for Portland, OR

If you are planning to build a new fence for your home in Portland, OR, there are some general rules to be aware of. Portland has developed a simple PDF that covers all the basic information needed for building your new fence. You can view and download that PDF here:

Portland Fence Code

It is important to note that these rules are a generalization of fencing for the Portland area. Your specific zone in Portland may have a different set of rules! You should check out your local zoning area and see if there is something different from the City of Portland’s general fence building code. There may be fence height limitations, style limitations, etc. in addition to the generalized Portland fence building code. Best to check before you plan your build! You can research which zone you are in by clicking here:

Portland Planning and Sustainability

You can also call Portland Planning and Zoning: at (503) 823-7526



Here are some common fencing rules for fencing in Portland, Oregon:

Portland Fencing Set back requirements:

Think of this set of rules as the distance your fence must be built away from certain boundary lines (or how far the fence must be “set back” from a boundary line).

For fencing, the most common setback to worry about is the front yard fence. For example, there may be a local zoning code indicating “no fence shall be built within 3 ft of the city sidewalk.” For the most part, the sides and back line of your fencing can be built on or near your property line. Check with your local zoning authority and identify any required setbacks before you plan your build.




Fencing Property Lines                       

Fencing contractors will not identify your property lines for you. There are specialty contractors called “residential surveyors” that will identify your property lines. A quick search online should give you a few different surveyors to call should you need your property lines identified. You can also call the Portland Bureau of Transportation at 503-823-7002 for help locating your property lines along the street.

Fence Height Rules for Portland

Fencing height rules are different for the front and back of your house.

The backyard and side yard fence height: Fences in Portland can be constructed up to 7ft tall without a permit. Fencing around a swimming pool or a fence that is taller than 7ft should apply for a permit.

Front yard fence height can be built up to 3ft 6in tall. The front yard is defined as the front corner of your home to the street. The shorter height requirement for front yard fencing is enforced for driver and pedestrian safety. Think about pulling out of your driveway while operating a vehicle. Trying to enter a traffic-bearing street with a 7ft tall fence would be extremely difficult to see oncoming traffic. Another safety point would be to consider other drivers on the street, especially if you live on a corner lot where streets intersect! Drivers need to be able to view cross traffic to be able to enter the intersection safely.


Locating Under Ground Utilities

When you need to dig holes for fence posts, you need to call or go online and request an underground utility location company to visit your property and identify where the utilities are located. Fortunately, this service is free, and locating can be done within a few days! If you hire out your fence project to a professional contractor, they should take care of this for you. If you are a “do it yourself-er,” you can request an underground utility location for your property by clicking here:

Oregon 811 Utility Notification Center

Or by simply dialing “811” from your phone.

A professional underground utility contractor will come out to your home and mark with paint all of the underground utilities like natural gas, water, sewer, cable tv, and fiber optic communication lines. Sprinkler lines are not located, so be aware of where those might be located before you dig.

If you would like to delegate this task to a professional fencing company, give us a call to discuss your project! Our team of fencing experts can help you with your fence design and manage all aspects of the installation process! Estimates and project reviews are free of charge!