+++ 2019 +++


City Manager

Q. Does the City provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities?
  • Meetings. Meetings are accessible to the disabled. An interpreter for the hearing impaired may be requested under the terms of ORS 192.630 by contacting the City Manager's Office at 503-325-5824. In addition, the City provides assistive hearing devices for use during meetings.

  • Telephone Accessibility. The Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service (OTRS) provides full telephone accessibility to deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired persons. To access OTRS, call the voice number from a TTY or 711 from a voice phone.

Community Development

Building Codes

The City has developed several brochures to aid customers in understanding the permit processes and when a permit is required. Permits can be found on the Forms & Permits page.  The following brochures are available:

Q. Do I Need a Building Permit?
Q. Do I Need a Mechanical Permit?
Q. Do I Need a Plumbing Permit?
Q. Does My Fence Meet Code Requirements?
Q. What is the Residential Building Plan Submittal and Inspection Process?
Q. Residential Inspection Processes and Information?
Q. Where do I find Sign Code and Permit Information?
Q. What are the typical Required Inspections?
Q. What are the construction requirements in Astoria?

Planning Department

Q. How do I sign up for a City Bicycle Locker?
A. Secure, covered bicycle lockers are available for rent from the Community Development Department. Each locker has two units. A refundable $80.00 deposit is required at the time a lease is signed. Locations include: Astoria Library, 450 10th Street Astoria Transit Center, 900 Marine Drive Columbia Memorial Hospital, 2111 Exchange Street Heritage Square, 1153 Duane Street To reserve, contact: planning@astoria.gov
Q. How do I create a Neighborhood Association?
A. The Community Development Department assists neighborhoods with organizing neighborhood associations, and obtaining information on City meetings and upcoming projects. The Department maintains a list of associations with contact information which may be obtained by contacting the Department. Check to see if your neighborhood has a representative. A guide on "How to Create a Neighborhood Association" is available which provides information on how to get started. Neighborhood Associations Contact: planner@astoria.gov 503-338-5183


Historic Landmarks

Q. How do I know if a building is "historic?"
A. Look for the heading "Classification" on the building's inventory form. A building will be classified: Eligible Significant, Eligible Contributing, Not Eligible Out of Period, Non-Contributing, Primary, Secondary, Historic Non-Contributing, Compatible, and Non-Compatible. On inventory forms, only those buildings listed as Eligible Significant, Eligible Contributing, Primary, or Secondary are considered historic at this time.  In addition, a building may be individually designated as a Historic Local Landmark or as a National Register Historic Landmark.  To verify the classification of a property, contact the Planner.
Q. What do those classifications mean?
A. Primary: Constructed during the primary period of development of that neighborhood or district and retains significant historic fabric and integrity and still reflects that historic period.
Secondary: Constructed during the secondary period of development of that neighborhood or district and retains significant historic fabric and integrity and still reflects that historic period.
Historic Non-Contributing: Constructed during the primary or secondary period of development of that neighborhood or district but does not presently retain sufficient historic fabric or integrity.
Compatible: Constructed after the secondary period of development and is compatible in style with buildings constructed during the historic periods.
Non-Compatible: Constructed after the secondary period of development and is not compatible in style with buildings constructed during the historic periods.
Please note that the historic periods of development vary from one neighborhood or district to another. A definition of those periods of development can be found in the Historic Context Statement of each neighborhood.
Q. Are there any other designations for historic buildings?
A. Yes, a building might be individually listed as a Local Landmark, National Register or National Landmark. Both National Register and National Landmark buildings start their designation process locally, but are reviewed at the State and Federal level.
Q. What is the local process for designating a building historic?
A. There are two ways to designate a building. One, a property owner applies for that designation through the City of Astoria’s Community Development Department. The application is reviewed by the City’s Historic Landmarks Commission at one of their regular meetings. The Historic Landmarks Commission bases their decision on criteria listed below.
Two, the City designates a property after completing a comprehensive neighborhood inventory. During this inventory, a historic building consultant reviews the architectural character of a building, its individual history and alterations which may have occurred to the building exterior. The consultant and members of the Historic Landmarks Commission review the building according to criteria listed below.
Property owners are then mailed completed inventory forms. At that time, they are invited to an informational meeting and a public hearing. Property owners have an opportunity to comment at both meetings. Formal designation is made following the public hearing. During this process, is the opportunity for individual property owners have the opportunity to opt-out of the historic designation.  If a property owner does not “opt out” prior to the actual designation, the historic designation may not be removed at a later date.
Q. What criteria are used to establish the historic designation?
A. The criteria for determining whether or not a building is historic includes:
1. Physical Integrity. Property is essentially as constructed on original site. Sufficient original workmanship and material remain to serve as instruction in period fabrication.
2. Architectural Significance. Rarity of type and/or style. Property is a prime example of a stylistic or structural type, or is representative of a type once common and is among the last examples surviving in the City. Property is a prototype or significant work of an architect, builder, or engineer noted in the history of architecture and construction.
3. Historical Significance. Property is associated with significant past events, personages, trends or values and has the capacity to evoke one or more of the dominant themes of national or local history.
4. Importance to Neighborhood. Property’s presence contributes and provides continuity in the historical and cultural development of the area.
5. Symbolic Value. Through public notice, interest, sentiment, uniqueness or other factors, property has come to connote an ideal, institution, political entity or period.
6. Chronology. Property was developed early in the relative scale of local history or was early expression of type/style. The age of the building, structure, site, or object should be at least 50 years, unless determined to be of exceptional significance.
7. The request shall be consistent with the applicable goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
Q. Do property owners have a choice whether or not their building is listed as historic?
A. At the conclusion of the inventory, all affected property owners are invited to attend a public hearing before the Historic Landmarks Commission. Individual property owners may object and opt out at that time. If no objections are filed with the Community Development Department, the historic designation becomes final when the Historic Landmarks Commission votes to accept the inventory as presented.

If an inventory is then processed as a “National Register Historic District”, the State will advise all affected property owners of the pending designation and call for a vote of the property owners.  In this case, the majority rules and individual property owners may not “opt out” of designation.

Q. What protections or restrictions are placed on historic buildings?
A. Protections include the review of new construction adjacent to historic buildings. The Historic Landmarks Commission reviews new construction to ensure compatibility in scale, style, height, materials, architectural detail, and orientation with the adjacent historic building and neighborhood.
Restrictions are placed on the exterior alteration of historic buildings. Exterior alterations are reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission. Alterations include attaching decks or porches, replacing siding with different type or material, replacing windows with different materials or styles, removing historic ornamentation, changing rooflines, constructing an addition, etc. All exterior alterations are reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission or the Historic Preservation Officer. Interior alterations are not reviewed by the City. Certain exterior alterations that are to replace missing historic features or are to repair the structure based on historic photographs of the house may be approved administratively.
Routine maintenance is not reviewed. Routine maintenance includes cleaning, landscaping and minor repairs. In addition, exterior paint colors are not reviewed. Property owners are not required to paint their buildings in historic colors. However, the City will offer assistance in selecting colors if requested by the property owner.
Q. What other assistance is provided?
A. The City offers the historic building owner limited design consultation by the City’s trained staff. This consultation may include reviewing the history and stylistic characteristics of the building, suggestions on how to blend the alterations with the building’s historic character, and advice on how to navigate an application through the Historic Landmarks Commission.
Q. Are financial incentives available?
A. Financial incentives are available through the State and Federal Government for buildings individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places or landmarks within a National Register Historic District.
The State Historic Preservation Office offers “Special Assessment” -- a freeze on the assessed value of a building for 10 years. Applicants must prepare and commit to restoration and improvement plans of their building. All plans and alterations to both the exterior and interior must be approved by the State before work is commenced. For more information call the State Historic Preservation Office at 503-378-4168. The State Historic Preservation Office website.
Periodically grants may be available from the State Historic Preservation Office through the City for exterior work.
The US Department of the Interior offers a 20% Federal tax credit for rehabilitation performed on income-producing buildings (apartments, bed & breakfast, commercial, etc.). Again, all work on both the exterior and interior must by approved before work is commenced. In this case, both the State and Federal Government review the planned restoration and renovation.
Also, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a tax credit fund established jointly with Bank of America. Contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation for more information. The National Trust for Historic Preservation website is at savingspaces.org.
Q. If my house is historic, do I have to open it to the public? Am I limited to what changes I can make to the interior?
A. There are no local requirements for open houses. If you choose to apply through the State for Special Assessment and your property is enrolled in that program (see above), you will be required to open parts of your home to the public once a year. Interior changes are reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office only if a property is participating in the Special Assessment program. The Astoria Historic Landmarks Commission reviews the interior changes on behalf of the State only if a property is participating in the Special Assessment program.
Q. Does the Clatsop County Historical Society have anything to do with the City of Astoria’s historic building program?
A. No, not directly. People often confuse the historical society with the Historic Landmarks Commission. The Clatsop County Historical Society has nothing to do with the review of local landmarks -- that’s the role of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
The Clatsop County Historical Society is a non-profit organization which maintains and operates four museums including the Capt. Flavel House, Heritage Center, Film Museum, and Firefighter’s Museum. They maintain historical records on the County’s families. They also have an impressive collection of historic photographs in their archives. These photographs are invaluable for guiding restoration of Astoria’s buildings.
Please call the Heritage Center at 503-325-2203 to make an appointment to explore the archives. Or, The Clatsop County Historical Society website is located at http://www.clatsophistoricalsociety.org/.
Q. Where can I get additional information about historic landmarks and historic preservation?
A. Call the City of Astoria Community Development Department at 503-338-5183, or write to us at 1095 Duane Street, Astoria OR 97103, or email at ttaylor@astoria.gov.
Web Sites:
Lower Columbia Preservation Society 503-791-1236 (http://www.lcpsweb.org/)
Clatsop County Historical Society 503-325-2203 (http://www.cumtux.org/)
State Historic Preservation Office 503-986-0688 (https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/SHPO/Pages/index.aspx)
National Trust for Historic Preservation (http://www.ntph.org/)
The National Register of Historic Places (https://savingplaces.org/)
(US Department of the Interior)
The Oregon Heritage Commission (http://www.oregonheritage.org/)
This Old House (www.thisoldhouse.com)
Old House Journal (www.oldhousejournal.com)


Urban Renewal

Q. What is urban renewal?
A. Urban renewal is a public financing tool available to cities and counties in Oregon. Using a mechanism called Tax Increment Financing (or TIF), urban renewal directs property taxes on growth in assessed value within an established urban renewal district toward projects that will improve conditions in that district. The driving idea behind urban renewal is that the extra investment, and the expectation of investment, in the urban renewal district generates growth that would not have occured but for that investment. This extra growth is what funds urban renewal projects, and ultimately provides additional tax revenues to the city as a whole.
Q. What are the urban renewal districts in Astoria?
A. The urban renewal districts in Astoria are called Astor-East and Astor-West and are shown on the maps below.

Astor-East Urban Renewal District

Astor-West Urban Renewal District
Q. What qualifies an area as an urban renewal district?
A. To qualify for urban renewal, an area must be identified by a city council as blighted (which can mean, among other things, underdeveloped, underperforming, dangerous, deteriorated, or poor condition of infrastructure). Blight is fully defined in the Oregon Revised Statutes 457.
Q. What are the benefits of urban renewal?
A. Through direct investment, urban renewal can help change a blighted portion of a city into a valuable and productive contributor to the local economy. This will help a city in multiple ways. A more vibrant area will draw business, create jobs, and stimulate the local economy. Increased property values will boost local tax rolls after the urban renewal district expires. Improvements to local infrastructure, such as transportation improvements, will make the community safer and will streamline traffic flow to and from the district.
Q. How does urban renewal funding work?
A. Urban renewal is funded through Tax Increment Financing. When an urban renewal district is established, the county assessor determines the current assessed value of all property within the district, and freezes that tax base. Whatever property tax revenue local jurisdictions receive from this frozen base is the same amount they will receive on a yearly basis until the urban renewal district is terminated. As property values increase above this frozen base, all tax revenues from increases in permanent rates are directed to projects within the urban renewal district. Assessed values can increase yearly at the 3% maximum allowed amount by state statute, or by more than this if new development occurs within the district. This increase above the frozen base is also called the “increment.” When the urban renewal district expires, the frozen base also expires, and the local taxing jurisdictions resume receiving taxes on the full assessed value of the district.
Q. What are the steps for creating an urban renewal district?
A. An urban renewal district is created through a process that includes community input, notice to impacted taxing jurisdictions, review by a city’s urban renewal agency, planning commission and city council. The city council hearing notice must be sent to a specified group of citizens, that is typically postal patrons. Adoption of a plan must be with a non-emergency ordinance by the city council that does not go into effect for 30 days after adoption. The plan, together with an accompanying urban renewal report, identifies the goals of the urban renewal district and projects to be funded with Tax Increment Financing, describes how the district complies with statutory requirements for blight, projects tax increment revenues, and identifies a maximum amount of debt an urban renewal district can incur, among other topics. The two urban renewal districts in Astoria have both completed this process.
Q. Who administers an urban renewal district?
A. An urban renewal agency administers the urban renewal plan, and this agency is established by a city council. In Astoria, as with many other municipalities, the city council serves as the board of the Astoria urban renewal agency, called the Astoria Development Commission (ADC).
Q. Does urban renewal increase property taxes?
A. No, urban renewal does not increase property taxes; it simply allows for the reallocation of growth on taxes to the urban renewal agency rather than the overlapping taxing districts. Taxpayers in Astoria see urban renewal as a line item on their tax statements whether or not they own property inside of an urban renewal district, a situation that can cause some confusion. This line item does not represent an extra charge, or result in a larger tax bill than would otherwise occur; instead, it represents a division of tax dollars, collected from all properties in an amount that equals the growth on taxes inside the urban renewal district. If urban renewal was terminated in Astoria, general property taxes would not decrease; they would just be reallocated to all taxing jurisdictions.
The following chart shows a sample $100,000 house in Astoria and the permanent tax rate for the different taxing jurisdictions. The "With Urban Renewal" column shows a sample property 2012 tax bill with urban renewal, for a total bill of $1,609.78. In this example, urban renewal receives an allocation of $121.71. The last column shows what would happen if urban renewal was terminated: the tax bill would be the same, $1,609. However, the allocations to the taxing jurisdictions are adjusted to reflect the total amount being divided differently. Those allocations would be made based on the actual permanent rate of the taxing jurisdiction.
 Permanent Tax RateWith Urban RenewalWithout Urban Renewal
House Value $100,000.00$100,000.00
Taxing Jurisdictions   
Astoria School District4.9407$456.48$494.07
City of Astoria8.1738$755.18$817.38
Clatsop County 4H0.0534$4.94$5.34
Clatsop County Care0.1763$16.30$17.63
Clatsop Community College0.7785$71.94$77.85
Clatsop County1.5338$141.72$153.38
Port of Astoria0.1256$11.62$12.56
Sunset Empire Transportation0.162$14.97$16.20
NW Regional ESD0.1538$14.93$15.38
Urban Renewal $121.71 
Q. Does urban renewal have a financial effect on the taxing jurisdictions?
A. Urban renewal will have a financial effect on local taxing jurisdictions, but the impact is different for schools than for other districts. An urban renewal district, as explained in later parts of this Q&A document, does not directly affect school districts. Other taxing districts may experience fiscal impacts that limit their total revenue capacity while the urban renewal district is in place. While the urban renewal district is active, a taxing jurisdiction’s revenue from that area will be frozen, and will not increase until revenue-sharing is triggered. So, while an urban renewal district is active, taxing jurisdictions will not receive as much money as they would otherwise have received. In essence, the taxing districts forego some revenue in exchange for a greater total property tax base and revenue capacity as a result of urban renewal investments. The goal of urban renewal is to spur development that would not have occurred but for urban renewal, so when the urban renewal district expires, taxing jurisdictions can expect to receive more tax revenues than they would have had the urban renewal district never existed at all.
In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed HB 3056, which enacted what is known as "revenue sharing". Revenue sharing requires urban renewal agencies to share increment when certain thresholds are met. The thresholds are tied to the area's "maximum indebtedness", or the limit on the amount of debt that the agency can incur in an area. The revenue sharing legislation means that successful urban renewal investments begin creating returns for overlapping taxing districts in advance of an urban renewal district’s expiration. This legislation would impact Astoria if either of the urban renewal districts increased their maximum indebtedness in the future.
Q. Will urban renewal have a financial impact on the School District?
A. Urban renewal will have a negligible impact on the Astoria School District because the money it gives up to the urban renewal district is replaced by the State School Fund. School funding is based on a per-pupil funding ratio from the State School Fund. Increased development resulting from investments of TIF within the urban renewal district will benefit Astoria schools through the construction excise tax on new development which the Astoria School Board and the Astoria City Council put in place in 2011.
Q. Who can I contact regarding Urban Renewal?
A. City Planner / Project Manager, planning@astoria.gov, 503-338-5183

Water & Sewer Utility Billing

Q. How often am I billed?
A. The City bill covers a two-month period and is due on the 15th of the following month.
Q. When is a late fee assessed?
A. A late fee is assessed if the payment is not received within 4 days after the due date; door hangers are sent out with another fee assessed one week after the late penalty. Finally, the meter will be turned off if the account remains unpaid one week after the door hangers are hung.
Q. When will I receive my water deposit back?
A. The deposit will be credited back to your account after one year of receiving no late penalties (maintaining account in good standing as defined by Section 1.03 of the Water Resolution) or will be applied to your final bill at the time of closing the account.
Q. Who do I contact if I have questions about my water/sewer account?
A. You can call the Water/Sewer Clerk at 503-338-5172 or stop by the Finance Department on the 3rd floor at 1095 Duane Street in Astoria.
Q. How do I pay my water/sewer bill?
A. There are several ways to pay your water/sewer bill:
  • You can mail it to the City of Astoria at 1095 Duane Street, Astoria, Oregon 97103
  • You can pay it online by clicking clicking on the utility link in the lower left hand corner of the City's website at https://astoria.gov. You can pay by check, debit card, VISA or Master Card credit card.
  • You can have a direct payment set up by your bank (please allow 7-10 business days for payment delivery to the City).
  • You can have an automatic online payment taken out of your checking account or from a credit card account (VISA, Master Card). Payment is taken on or about the 12th of the month payment is due.
  • You can have an automatic payment taken out of your checking/savings account by/on the 8th of the month payment is due by completing an EZ Pay Program Form.
  • You can drop off a check or money order (no cash please) in the drop box located outside City Hall on Duane Street.
  • You can pay inside City Hall on the 3rd floor with cash, check, credit card or money order.
Q. How do I close out my account?
A. You can contact the Water/Sewer Department at (503) 338-5172 for assistance. Please note that you will be asked to provide identifying information to ensure you are the account holder. A forwarding address will be requested at that time.
Q. Can I change my payment date?
A. No. Billing and reading cycles are fixed and do not allow for us to change the due date of a bill. An exception to this would be if there was delay in processing the billings the due date would be adjusted.
Q. Can I have my water shut off while I am out of town for an extended time?
A. Yes. Contact the City's Water/Sewer Department at (503) 338-5172 for details.
Q. Can I have my renter pay the water/sewer bill?
A. Yes. However, it is important for the property owner to know that if a tenant does not pay their water/sewer bill, the bill and all associated fees will become the responsibility of the property owner.
Q. How do I read my meter?
A. Simply open the cover to the meter box and read the numbers on the dial. Note that the meter is read to the nearest 100 gallons.
Q. Can I pay my bill every month even though I am billed every two months?
A. Yes. Many water/sewer customers estimate one half of their regular bill and send in a partial payment each month and then pay the balance when the bill is received.
Q. Can I view my bill online?
A. Yes. Simply go the the City's website at http://astoria.gov/ and click on the link in the lower left hand corner and follow the simple steps for setting up an online account and you will be able to see your bill online. You can also pay your bill online by using the same process.
Q. Why does my landlord get copies of my late notices?
A. Because the property owner is ultimately responsible for the water/sewer bill, they are allowed access to the account information to determine if the tenant has paid the bill.
Q. What are the water/sewer office hours?
A. We are open from 8:00am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Account information can be accessed 24 hours a day by signing up at the City's website at http://astoria.gov. Simply click on the utility link in the lower left hand corner and follow the simple steps for setting up and online account and you will be able to see your bill online.
Q. How do I check for a leak?
A. Turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water operable appliances. Locate the water meter and remove lid from meter box and find the small triangle on the face of the meter and observe for about 5 minutes. If the meter dial gauge (red triangle of daisy wheel) is moving, there is possibly a leak. If you have questions about a water leak, please call Public Works Operations at (503) 325-3524.
Q. What if I received an unusually large bill?
A. There is a possibility of a leak, misread or defective meter. Your options are to perform a self-test for a leak (as described above) or to request that the city reread the meter. If you have questions about a water leak, please call Public Works Operations at (503) 325-3524.
Q. What information do I need to open an account?
A. If you are the property owner, you will need to fill out an application for service and provide proof of property ownership or authority to conduct business on behalf of the property owner. This can be a property tax statement, escrow closing papers or other documents showing transfer of title or legal authority to the applicant. If you are a renter, you will need to fill out an application for service and have the application signed by either the property owner or their designated agency and complete the application process.
Q. Do I need to open an account in person?
A. Yes. City policy and FTC requires that a reasonable effort is made to ensure the identity of the individual opening the account. The best way to accomplish this is to have you apply in person with photo ID.
Q. Can I designate someone else to handle my account?
A. Yes. This can be accomplished filling out a Property Owner Transfer of Water/Sewer Authority form (LINK). This is commonly used when the property is to be managed by a property management company or by an individual other then the person living in the home. It is important to note however, that the designated person will be the one who receives any notices from the City regarding past due bills or shut offs.
Q. What if I cannot pay my bill by the due date?
A. You must contact the City's water/sewer department at (503) 338-5172 to make payment arrangements. The bill must be paid in full before the next billing is generated. Tenants must receive written permission from the homeowner/landlord to extend the due date beyond the turn off date.
Q. What is the surcharge on my bill?
A. This charge is on all water/sewer accounts. These funds are collected to upgrade the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system City-wide. It is a State and Federal mandate that the system be upgraded to resolve the issue of sewer overflow into the river. The City will need to continue to collect these fees for several more years as the project continues.
Q. What number do I call in an after-hours water emergency?
A. You may contact the non-emergency number for the Police Department: (503) 325-4411 for assistance.

Fire Department

Q. Burning in the City of Astoria - When and what can I burn?
A. In the City of Astoria, you are only allowed to burn in a burn barrel with a permit from dawn to dusk. To burn in a burn barrel, you will need to have a quarter inch mesh screen on the top of the burn barrel. Yard debris, natural vegetation, untreated wood are some of the items you may burn in a barrel. Attend constantly when burning with a garden hose or extinguisher and a hand shovel. There is no open burning or burning of piles allowed within the City of Astoria. If you need a burn barrel permit, contact the Astoria Fire Department 503-325-2345, ext. 2521, Monday - Friday, 9am-4pm to schedule a time to get a permit. The cost for the first two years is $50, which requires an inspection from the fire department. A renewal permit fee is $35 for two years. For more information, please view our burn barrel diagram.
Q. How can I get copies of fire inspections in Astoria?
A. To request a copy of fire inspection, click on the Public Record Request pdf Document and print out the form. You can either scan and email the form to astoriafiredepartment@astoria.gov, fax to 503-325-2346, or mail the form to: Astoria Fire Department, 555 30th Street, Astoria, Oregon 97103. There may be a copy or administrative fee for making copies a fire inspections. This fee will need to be received before the documents will be mailed.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of a fire report?
A. To request a copy of a fire report you will need to click on the Public Records Request Form Public Record Request pdf Document to print out a copy of the form. Once you complete the form, you will need to scan the document and email the form to astoriafiredepartment@astoria.gov, fax (503-325-2346), or mail the form to: Astoria Fire Department, 555 30th Street, Astoria, Oregon 97103. There is a $10 fee for a fire report and the fee will need to be received before the report will be mailed.
Q. How do I become a Volunteer Firefighter?
A. Information on requirements and how to become a Volunteer firefighter can be found on our Recruitment page.   

Police Department

Q. How do I get fingerprinted?
A. The Clatsop County Jail provides fingerprinting services. No appointment is necessary. The jail is located at 636 Duane Street in Astoria. For hours and a fee schedule, please contact the jail at 503-325-8641, or visit their website.
Q. The police department impounded my vehicle. How do I get my vehicle back?
A. A person named on the registration must come to the police department Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays, between 9 am and 4 pm. That person must have a valid driver’s license, proof of current insurance and pay a $100 administrative fee in cash or check. The owner will be given a receipt from the police department, which must be taken to the tow company. The owner is required to pay the towing and storage fee to the tow company and the vehicle will be released. This information is also provided in the paperwork that was given to the driver at the time the vehicle was impounded.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of a police report?
A. Requests for copies of police reports and other public records held by the police department must be submitted in writing to the police records unit. Simply complete the Records Request form online, mail it or bring it to the police department for approval. The records unit is open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Once the request is received, the record will be made available in a reasonable time or you will be told why it cannot be released. Normally, pending criminal case records and some juvenile records will not be released as a public record. You will be charged a fee for the record that must be paid prior to releasing the record. For more information contact the records unit at (503) 338-6433.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of a criminal history?
A. The Astoria Police Department cannot provide information about your criminal history or another person’s criminal history. A complete criminal history may be obtained through the Oregon State Police, #13 Portway Street. 503-325-5515. You can also visit the Public Records Unit on the State of Oregon website.
Q. What telephone number do I call to report a crime?
A. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1. To have an officer sent to your location when time allows or to call you about a non emergency, please call 503-325-4411.
Q. I have been in a traffic accident. Do I have to report it and where can I get the report form?
A. Traffic accidents involving death, injuries or property damage greater than $1500 must be reported on a special form to DMV. You may pick up a traffic accident form at your local DMV office, or at the police department. After completion, you may mail the form to DMV, deliver it to the local DMV office, or leave it with the police department and we will mail it to DMV for you. For more information please visit the Oregon DMV website.
Q. What is the difference between a restraining order and a stalking order and how do I obtain one?
A. A restraining order is issued by the State Circuit Court if you have been a victim of domestic abuse from an intimate partner, spouse, former spouse, parent of your minor child or relative related by blood. Applications for restraining orders can be obtained at the Clatsop County Courthouse, 749 Commercial Street, Astoria. 

A criminal stalking order may be issued by a police officer if you are being followed, harassed, threatened or menaced repeatedly by an individual you can identify. Call 503-325-4411 for an officer to discuss criminal stalking orders. Civil stalking orders are issued by the Clatsop County Circuit Court for the same problems as a criminal stalking order. Visit the Clatsop County Court at 749 Commercial Street, Astoria, for information about civil stalking orders.

In most cases, restraining orders and stalking orders involve more complex matters. Additional information about both these legal processes can be obtained from the Women’s Resource Center, 503-325-3426.
Q. Can I call to check if I have a warrant?
A. Information regarding wanted people will not be given over the phone. You must come to the police department and ask in person.
Q. How do I obtain a concealed weapons permit?
A. Concealed weapon permits are obtained through the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, 503-325-8635.
Q. When is the next auction for surplus and unclaimed property?
A. The City of Astoria contracts with GovDeals.com, an online property liquidator, for disposal of surplus and unclaimed property. GovDeals.com handles property disposals for hundreds of Police and Sheriff Departments throughout the U.S. GovDeals.com is open to the public and you may bid on any item listed.
Q. Do you offer a citizen ride along program?
A. Yes. The Astoria Police Department offers citizens the opportunity to observe police officers at work. Citizens requesting a ride along must complete an application to Ride Along and return it to the police department. A background check will be completed and you will be contacted to arrange your ride along.
Q. What is the process for obtaining a Taxi drivers license?
A. Pick up a taxi drivers license application at the police department, complete the form and submit it along with a $50 cash non-refundable fee to the front office. A background check will be completed and upon approval, you will be notified to contact the Records Division to make an appointment for your taxi license to be printed.
Q. What do I do if I get a parking ticket?
A. Parking tickets may be paid at the Finance Department of City Hall, 1095 Duane Street, Astoria. 503-325-5821. If you wish to dispute a parking ticket you have received, you will need to contact Municipal at 503-325-3939 to arrange a court date to speak to the Judge.
Q. What do I do if I get a "fix-it" ticket?
A. Astoria Police Department does not issue "Fix-it" tickets. If another law enforcement agency issued you a "fix-it" ticket, you need to report back to that agency.
Q. Should I report suspicious activities in my neighborhood?
A. Yes! Please call 503-325-4411 to report anything you feel is suspicious. If there is an immediate threat of danger to life or property, or you witness a crime in progress, please call 9-1-1.
Q. How do I report problems with my neighbor's dog?
A. The Astoria Police Department contracts with Clatsop County Animal Control for cases involving domesticated animals. For animal abuse, barking dogs or unleashed dogs please contact the Clatsop County Animal Control at 503-861-7387. If Animal Control is closed and the dog is barking, you may call the police department’s non-emergency line at 503-325-4411.
To report an injury to a wild animal, please call the Wildlife Rehab Center of the North Coast at 503-338-0331.
Q. I just installed a burglary alarm at my residence. Do I need an alarm permit?
A. Yes. All businesses and residential that have a security alarm system are required to obtain a free City Alarm Permit from the police department and there is a fee for failing to get a permit. Forms can be submitted on our website. Please call 503-338-6411 x11 if you need additional information.
Q. How do I get back property that was seized by the police?
A. During a police investigation, officers may find it necessary to seize certain property items in your possession. If your property was seized, you must wait for an adjudication or court order authorizing the release of your property before you may claim it at the police department. If you have questions regarding the release of your property, please call 503-338-6411 x13.
Q. What should I do if my property has been stolen?
A. If you are the victim of a burglary or other crime and your property was stolen, call 503-325-4411 to report the crime. If the items stolen include serial numbers, please provide that information to the officer and it will be entered into the Law Enforcement Data System, where all Law Enforcement Agencies can trace the serial number back to the owner if it is recovered in their jurisdiction. The Police Department will also put the stolen item in our "Hot Sheet" which is sent each month to businesses in the local area that deal in used goods. 

It is important to record serial numbers and other identifying information for valuable property, since most of the retrieval systems require an identifying number. Making a record also simplifies getting stolen property back to the owner. For property that does not have a serial number, an engraver is available for loan at the Police Department.
Q. How does the Police Department's Lost & Found procedure work?
A. Lost property: If you have lost property within the city limits of Astoria, you may call 503-325-4411, the non-emergency police number, to report the loss of your property. A log entry will be made and a description of the lost property will be entered in the record. It is very helpful in the recovery of your property if you have retained a record of the serial number of the product. The Astoria Police Department sends a monthly Hot Sheet of stolen and lost property to local businesses that deal in second-hand goods and your lost property is included. 

If you have lost property and think we may have your property, call (503) 338-6411 x13 during business hours to describe your property in as much detail as possible. 

Found Property: People frequently turn in property to the police department that they have found. If the owner does not claim the property within 90 days of being turned in, the department will send the property to GovDeals.com for auction, with the proceeds being deposited in the City general fund. 

If the value of the property is more than $250 and you want to keep it, Oregon law 98.005 requires that you give notice to the County Clerk within 10 days of the finding and advertise your finding in a local newspaper once a week for two weeks within 20 days. If no one claims the property within three months, you may keep it. 

If you need more information, please contact the evidence custodian at 503-338-6411 x13 during business hours.
Q. What do I do with unwanted firearms or ammunition?
A. Because of legal complications the Astoria Police Department does not accept unwanted firearms or ammunition. If you have a firearm, or ammunition, that you no longer want, or don’t know what to do with, we recommend one of the following options: 

1. Contact a store that buys and sells firearms to see if they would buy your unwanted firearm 

2. If you want to give, or sell, the firearm to a private party you are required to get a background check through the Oregon State Police Firearms Instant Check System. More information about that process can be found at this website or by calling 800-432-5059. 

3. You can properly destroy the firearm yourself by following this guide provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. 

4. Contact the National Center for Unwanted Firearms to find out how they can take the firearm off your hands. Their phone number is: 833-448-4867&.  

If you have unwanted ammunition we recommend contacting CleanHarbors (ph: 503-742-7107).

Public Works

Q. Where are the Public Works offices located?

A. Public Works Operations (Shops): 550 30th St., Astoria, OR 97103; Phone: (503) 325-3524. Public Works Administration & Engineering: City Hall, 1095 Duane St., Astoria, OR 97103; Administration: (503) 338-5177, Engineering: (503) 338-5173.

Q. What are the Public Works offices hours of operation?

A. Public Works Operations (Shops): Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Public Works Administration and Engineering (City Hall): Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Q. Who do you call before you dig?

A. If you plan to dig, you're required to contact the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) toll free at (800) 332-2344 or visit their website at https://digsafelyoregon.com. This is an invaluable, free service to prevent accidents related to buried utility lines and facilities. The OUNC notifies member utilities operating in the proposed excavation area to locate and mark their underground facilities.

Q. Why are there paint marks on my street?

A. These paint marks are indicators of underground utilities located by Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC). For more information, visit the OUNC website at https://digsafelyoregon.com.

Q. How do I report a street light that is out/flickering?

A. Streetlights provide a valuable service to the community by supplying light for both motorists and pedestrians. The benefits of this important resource are best achieved when every streetlight is operating properly. Pacific Power, however, is unable to manually check each streetlight and thus it depends on the assistance of customers to help identify streetlights in need of repair. If you notice a streetlight outage, please contact Pacific Power at:

  1. 1-877-508-5088; or,
  2. You may also report online at the Pacific Power website.

When reporting a streetlight outage, it is important to provide the following information: 

  1. Address,
  2. Nearest cross street, and 
  3. Pole number (on pole)

Thanks to the assistance of citizens, Pacific Power will be able to find and repair streetlights in a timely manner, and in turn, make our community safer and brighter.

Q. Who do I call about dead animal pickup?

A. Public Works Operations will pick up dead animals within the City limits when they are found in a City right-of-way or on City property. Most dead animal calls received on Saturday or Sunday will be picked up when the regular shift begins on Monday. However, if the animal poses a traffic hazard, City crews will remove and dispose of the animal from the area.

During business hours, call Public Works Operations at (503) 325-3524; after business hours, call Dispatch at (503) 325-4411.
For dead animals on state highways, please contact the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) at (503) 325-7222.

Q. How do I find my property lines? Who do I talk to about a property line dispute?

A. Approximate property lines may be viewed on the City of Astoria's GIS. Additional information regarding property boundaries may be available at the Clatsop County Surveyor. The Clatsop County Survey's office is located at 1100 Olney Ave., Astoria, OR 97103.  You can also reach them by phone at (503) 325-8631.

The only way to find out the exact location of property lines is to have a property survey completed. Property line disputes between neighbors are a civil matter in which the City is not involved. Property owners need to contact a private attorney to resolve disputes.

Q. What is a street vacation? How do I get a street vacation?

A. A street vacation is when an unused or unneeded street, alley or other public right-of-way becomes private property. A vacation will only be granted in the event that there will be no adverse impact to adjacent properties, the reason for the request demonstrates a need to prevent unnecessary hardship, and no public infrastructure exists or is planned. The adjoining property owners can file a petition with Public Works Administration to consider vacating a street. After reviewing the request, a recommendation is submitted to City Council for approval. For more information, call Public Works Administration at (503) 338-5177.

A. Sign board reservations are limited to non-profit organizations only. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis; there is no fee for use of the signboards; reservations are limited to a maximum of two weeks, but may be made up to two years in advance. Each sign frame is 4' x 8'. Locations available are listed below. If you have any questions, please contact Public Works Administration at (503) 338-5177.

  • Smith Point,
  • Youngs Bay Bridge (2)
  • Marine Dr. between 31st and 32nd St.
  • Astoria Recreation Center (formerly known as the Astoria Yacht Club)

Public Works Permits

Q. Do I need a Utility Service Application?
Q. Do I need a Public Works Permit?
Q. Do I need a Grading and Erosion Control Permit?
Q. Can I remove a tree near my house? Do I need a permit?

A. If a property owner is removing a tree on their own private property, a permit is not required as long as the tree remains on private property during the course of its removal. If you aren't sure if the tree is located on your private property, contact the Engineering Division.

If the tree is located in the public right-of-way or on City-owned private property, you must obtain a Tree Cut/Fell permit prior to removing the tree(s). 

Trees located in unopened city rights-of-way (aka unimproved rights-of-way) are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to maintain. Astoria City Code § 2.500 has information regarding the permit required to maintain trees located in the unimproved right-of-way.  

Per the Administrative Practice 606 Tree Removal Policy, the removal of dangerous trees will be a staff decision and proposed removal of any non-dangerous tree or trees located on City-owned private property will be placed on the agenda of a City Council meeting for City Council consideration. 

You can find Tree Cut/Fell permit application and information about the permitting process on our Forms & Permits webpage.

The Engineering Division coordinates the requests with a professional arborist to determine if the removal of the tree is the best action to take; in some cases, these requests must be approved by City Council. Tree removal in the right-of-way must be performed by a contractor bonded to work in the City right-of-way. For more information, contact the Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173 or engpermits@astoria.gov.

Sanitary Sewer

Q. What can I safely flush down my toilet?
A. Even if a package says "flushable," some everyday items can cause messy and expensive problems for your plumbing and our sewer treatment facilities.
Products that might seem safe to flush down the toilet, such as personal care wipes, dental floss and paper towels, don't dissolve quickly – or don't dissolve at all – in water. If a scrap of undissolved material gets caught on a nick, bend or bump within a pipe, it can trigger a growth of buildup that could cause a sewer backup in your home or neighborhood. Please see additional information in the following brochure prepared by the City: "Think Before You Flush"

Sewer agencies, environmentalists and consumer advocates are working with manufacturers to correct product labeling. In the meantime, please make sure to dispose of personal care products, cleaning supplies and other household waste properly: in the trash can, in the recycling bin or at your local household hazardous waste disposal site.

Sewage backups onto private property can result when an interruption of the wastewater conveyance system occurs. Such overflows have the potential of creating a health hazard and causing significant damage to property and contents.

Upon notice of an overflow situation, the City of Astoria will immediately respond to the scene, evaluate the situation and take the necessary steps to eliminate the cause of the sewage overflow in the public wastewater collection facility.

The City is typically responsible for sewage backups in the public line unless the blockage is associated with a violation of the City’s sanitary sewer ordinance by a private party. Wastewater customers are responsible for backups in their private sewer line.

Wastewater maintenance crews inspect and TV all new sewer lines after they are constructed. The crews are also responsible for maintenance and repair of the sewer lines and manholes. A major component of maintenance of the sewer lines is cleaning.

Q. Is my house connected to City sewer and water?
A. You can find out if your house is connected to City sewer and/or water by calling Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173 and providing your street address. Please note that the City does have information available about public infrastructure, but often does not have information available about private sewer laterals.

Q. Who is responsible for repair of the sewer line?
A. The City's Sewer Resolution section on Building Sewers and Connections states, "The user/owner of any private or building sewer shall be responsible for maintenance to the point of connection with the public sewer." Property owners are responsible for their sewer lateral (also known as a "side sewer"), which runs from the street or alley to the house. A permit is required in order to do work on a sewer lateral. Property owners can perform their own work on any part of the sewer line that is on their private property, but the portion located in the public right-of-way must be repaired by a contractor who is bonded to work in the right-of-way. For more information on repairing a side sewer or to obtain a permit to work on one, contact the Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173.

Q. What should I do if sewer backs up on or at my property?

A. Typically, if only a small volume of flow occurs or the source is from an upper level of the structure the problem is probably a private plumbing issue; you should contact a licensed plumbing professional for assistance. If there is a significant volume or continuous flow of sewage, contact the Operations Division at (503) 325-3524 (during regular business hours) or Dispatch at (503) 325-4411 (evenings, holidays or weekends). Upon notification of sewage backup, the City of Astoria will take the following actions:

  • Immediately respond to the scene and investigate the situation.
  • Provide information to the affected customer on the responsibility for removal of blockage and/or repair of the pipe.
Q. When will the City respond to my call?
A. City personnel are on call 24 hours a day. They will respond as soon as possible to the scene and evaluate the situation. Appropriate steps will be taken to mitigate the sewage blockage/overflow of the Public Wastewater System. The property owner will be notified if the cause of the blockage or overflow is located on a private line. Contact the Operations Division at (503) 325-3524 (during regular business hours) or Dispatch at (503) 325-4411 (evenings, holidays or weekends). 

Q. What is a private sewer lateral?

A. A private sewer lateral is the section of underground pipe that connects the sewage system in a house or building (the wastewater plumbing) to the City-owned and -maintained sanitary sewer collection system (sewer system) in streets, alleys or easements. As the name implies, the private sewer lateral is a pipe that is owned and maintained by the private property owner. The private sewer lateral is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain and repair, just as the roof on a house is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain and repair. If you have questions about work on private sewer laterals, please contact the Building Division at (503) 325-1004 or buildingdivision@astoria.gov.

Q. What causes sewage backups?
A. Interruption of the wastewater conveyance system or overflow can be caused by many things, including the following:
  • Damage to public sanitary sewer lines by private parties or their contractors.
  • Damage to a public sanitary sewer line by public entities or their contractors.
  • Power or mechanical failures at public sewage pump or lift stations.
  • Blockages of a public sanitary sewer line due to debris (rocks, sticks, lumber, toys, roots, etc.).
  • Settlement or movement of the earth below a public sanitary sewer line that causes the line to collapse or separate.
  • Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) caused by significant rainfall events resulting in flows greater than the capacity of the public sanitary sewer line.
  • Damage to the privately owned segment of the wastewater conveyance system by any of the above causes.
Q. What can I do to avoid sewage backups?
A. Install a backwater valve on the private building sewer to prevent the backflow of sewage from the public line. Maintain and inspect the backwater valve as recommended by the manufacturer. Maintain insurance coverage to cover damage caused by sewage backflow incidents.

Q. Our sewer has leaked. Is my health or my family’s health at risk?

A. Contact with untreated sewage always carries a potential health risk. Family members and pets should be evacuated from any contaminated buildings as soon as possible

Streets & Transportation

Q. Who do I contact for street issues? How do I report a pothole?

A. Some streets within Astoria are maintained by the City of Astoria, some are maintained by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT), and others are privately maintained. You may contact the Public Works Engineering Division if you are unsure.

Q. How does the City of Astoria choose which roads to pave?

A. Public Works will look for certain conditions on the road surface before deciding what to do and when to do it. Loss of aggregate, certain types of cracking and other signs of stress are good indicators of what’s going on beneath the pavement, as well as the surface condition.

We use computer software (Pavement Management System) that considers each road’s condition, prior maintenance history, and traffic loads to help us evaluate the most cost-effective treatment.

Additional considerations are available funding and other projects in the area that might impact the road. We typically have a larger paving project every two years but do smaller repairs each year as needed. Staff prepares a list of streets to pave and City Council approves the list prior to construction.

Street overlays are necessary to rehabilitate the street surface and are generally used on arterial and collector streets to extend the design life an additional 12 - 15 years. Street projects are prioritized by the Engineering Division and coordinated with local utility companies.

Q. Why do the road crews always have to do their work during the busiest part of the day?

A. Crews often schedule their work so that they miss the morning rush hour commute and the evening commute home, and attempt to do their work between those times. However, some utilities such as water, telephone or gas services must be repaired as soon as possible to provide immediate services to the public. Therefore, those unplanned repairs take place immediately.

Q. My neighborhood street is in worse shape than my neighbor’s street, but you paved his and didn’t do anything to mine! Why?

A. We spend a large portion of our budget on preventive maintenance. This makes good economic sense because a dollar spent on road maintenance today can save $5 on future maintenance costs. Your street may already be beyond the "quick fix" stage and will require more extensive (and expensive) repairs. In this case, it will most likely be included in a future project.

Q. Do I need a permit to work in the right-of-way?

A. Yes. Depending on what you want to do, you will probably need to obtain a Right-of-Way or Utility Service permit. Examples of work that typically requires a permit are: adding a driveway, repairing a driveway or sidewalk (no fee for a repair permit, but a permit is required), repairing a water line or any other utility connections, and repairing a retaining wall in the right-of-way. 

If you plan to close a portion of the sidewalk, parking lane, or street, you may also require a Temporary Street Use permit. Contact the Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173 or engpermits@astoria.gov with any questions.

Q. Who is responsible for repairing my sidewalk?

A. The vast majority of sidewalks are owned and maintained by the adjacent property owners. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of sidewalks and curbs adjacent to their property (City Code 2.000). A Right-of-Way permit is required for work in the right-of-way.

There are very few sidewalks that are owned by the City. City-owned sidewalk repairs are completed by street maintenance employees to prevent tripping hazards. To report an issue with a City-owned sidewalk, please contact the Operations Division at (503) 325-3524.

Q. Sidewalk Ramp Installations

A. The sidewalk ramp installations are done in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Contact the Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173 or engpermits@astoria.gov with any questions.

Q. Who maintains traffic signals?

A. The maintenance of traffic signals on State highways is the responsibility of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). The Astoria ODOT office may be reached by phone at (503) 325-7222.

Q. Who installs traffic signs?

A. The location of a traffic sign determines who is responsible for installing and maintaining the sign.

If a sign is located on a City street, contact Public Works Operations at (503) 325-3524 for repairs and replacements of street signs. If there is an emergency (for example, a stop sign has been removed), please call Dispatch at (503) 325-4411.

If a sign is located on a State highway, contact the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Astoria office at (503) 325-7222.

Storm Drains

Q. How can I tell if my house is hooked up to the storm drain?
A. The City will investigate the storm drain systems and dye test if necessary. You may also be able to determine if your house is connected: if you have curbs with holes in them at the street level, dump water into your gutters on a dry day and then watch in the street for water to flow out onto the curb/street. However, if your house is lower than the street you will probably need to ask us for assistance. Contact the Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173 or engpermits@astoria.gov with any questions.

Q. I think there is a break in one of the drainage systems in my yard. Can you check it out?
A. Yes, we may be able to investigate. However, it will be the property owner's responsibility to repair the drainage system. Most likely, a plumber will be required to make the repairs. Contact the Engineering Division at (503) 338-5173 or engpermits@astoria.gov with any questions.

Q. Why can't I wash my paint, tools, or equipment into the storm drain? It's water-based paint and I've been doing it for years.

A. As all of us become more aware of potential water pollution problems, we recognize that we can all do our part to eliminate water contamination. The storm drain system is designed for rainwater that falls from the clouds, not contaminated material. Remember, the stormwater flows into our creeks and rivers and eventually into the ocean. Water-based paint adds to the amount of suspended solids in the water, which is harmful to aquatic plants and animals.

  • ADC Section 3.320(C)(12) (accessed 4/11/22): "Under no conditions shall soil on sidewalks, streets, or equipment be washed or hosed into storm sewers, drainage ways, streams or other water bodies."
  • City Code Section 5.550 (accessed 4/11/22): "No person may cause or permit a nuisance affecting public health on property owned or controlled by him. The following are such nuisances and may be abated as provided in this code":
    • D: "Pollution of a body of water, well, spring, stream or drainage ditch by sewage, industrial wastes or other substances placed in or near the water in a manner that will cause harmful material to pollute the water."
    • G: "Drainage of liquid wastes from private premises."
    • I: "Mastics, oil, grease or petroleum products allowed to be introduced into the sewer system by a user connected to the sewer system."
Q. Can the City do anything about all the water in my backyard?
A. No, the City is not responsible for private property issues, but may assist you if an adjacent property is purposely dumping water onto your property. Discharging to an approved discharge location is important. The Engineering Design Standards, Chapter 5, “Storm Water Management Systems”, addresses this question in greater detail.

Q. Where does all this water go?
A. After flowing through drainage swales and storm pipes, this water ends up in the Columbia River or Young’s Bay and then out to the Pacific Ocean. There are new manhole covers labeling the designation of stormwater with the cover stating “ASTORIA STORMWATER”.

Q. What is this manhole for in my backyard?
A. The manhole is used for access to the system for maintenance and possibly for the direction of flow change, grade change or other pipe connections to the system.

Catch Basins

Q. The catch basin in my parking lot is full of pine needles. Can you unplug it?
A. Catch basins located in a parking lot on private property are not maintained by the City. The City does not maintain private storm drainage systems. 

Q. Who is responsible for cleaning the catch basins in the street in front of my home/office?
A. The City cleans catch basins on an as-needed basis. If a catch basin is full or is not draining after a rain event, it may have been covered with leaves or road debris that needs to be removed from the grate. If, as a customer, you can rake the material off the catch basin into the street it would be greatly appreciated. If the catch basin is not blocked and is not draining, please call the Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524 and we will have a crew respond as soon as possible.

Q. Somebody dumped oil in the catch basin. What can you do about it?

A. Please call us immediately. Our staff will investigate the violation. The maintenance section will need to investigate the downstream effects and clean up if the responsible party is not willing to deal with the problem immediately. Please call the Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524 and we will have a crew respond as soon as possible.

  • City Code Section 5.550 (accessed 4/11/22): "No person may cause or permit a nuisance affecting public health on property owned or controlled by him. The following are such nuisances and may be abated as provided in this code":
    • D: "Pollution of a body of water, well, spring, stream or drainage ditch by sewage, industrial wastes or other substances placed in or near the water in a manner that will cause harmful material to pollute the water."
    • G: "Drainage of liquid wastes from private premises."
    • I: "Mastics, oil, grease or petroleum products allowed to be introduced into the sewer system by a user connected to the sewer system."
  • ADC Section 3.320(C)(12) (accessed 4/11/22): "Under no conditions shall soil on sidewalks, streets, or equipment be washed or hosed into storm sewers, drainage ways, streams or other water bodies."
Q. Animals or items fall into the drain/catch basin. Can you cover the catch basins so they can't fall in?
A. No, we can't cover catch basins to protect animals/items from falling in. Please call the Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524 and we will attempt to retrieve them.

Q. What else should I know about catch basins?
A. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:
  • Keep leaves and grass clippings out of streets, gutters, storm drains, ditches, ponds and creeks.
  • Remove leaf accumulation from catch inlets to avoid local flooding.
  • Do not dispose of yard waste/debris into water quality facilities, detention ponds, swales (low lying or depressed wet stretches of land), streets, or anything conveying water.
  • Report flooding to the Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524.


Q. How do I start or discontinue a water service? Where do I direct billing questions?
A. For any questions regarding utility billing, accounts or water service, please call the Utility Clerk at (503) 338-5172.

Q. How can I tell if I have any water leaks?
A. Undetected leaks can be costly. If you think you may have a water leak, your water meter is your best detective to help you find it:
  • Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, such as the dish and clothes washers.
  • Locate your water meter and lift the cover for the meter dial.
  • Note the position of the sweep hand, or use a marker on the lens cover.
  • Wait 20-30 minutes and check the sweep hand location again. If the sweep hand has moved, you probably have a leak somewhere in your system.
  • Most meters have a red "telltale" indicator. If you see it moving when all water is off, you probably have a leak.
Q. How do I look for leaks?
A. Here are a few ways to see if you have a leak:
  • Drop a little food coloring into the tank. Wait about 10 minutes without flushing. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Check for moist spots around and under the house plumbing and around outdoor plumbing.
  • Replace worn washers in faucets and shower heads. A little drip wastes many gallons each day.
  • Drips not only drive you nuts but will never go away unless you fix them. Even a small drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day, or 5,000 gallons per month.
  • A licensed plumbing professional may be needed for more complicated leaks.

If you suspect a leak between your water main and your house, please call Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524.

Q. How do I locate my water meter and is it accessible?

A. Your water meter should be located in front of your house, inside a concrete or plastic meter box that is set flush to the ground. Look for the meter behind the sidewalk at a side lot line near the street. If your home is on a corner lot, it could be either on the front or side street.

Sometimes, meter boxes are not easily visible due to landscaping and other obstructions. The City needs unrestricted access to the meter for reading, maintenance and customer service. Clear and unobstructed access to the water meter and the shut-off valves may also be a benefit to you in the event of a plumbing emergency when you may need to shut off the water in a hurry to prevent damages.

If you need help finding your water meter, please call Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524.

Q. How do I read my water meter?
A. Reading your meter is like reading the odometer of a car: Read the numbers from left to right that appear under the words "Gallons" The first digit on the right represents one gallon. The second from the right represents 10 gallons. The third from the right (usually a different color) represents 100 gallons. One revolution of the meter sweep hand (the arm that goes around in a circle) equals one gallon.

Q. How do I shut off my water?
A. Know where your water shut-off valve is located before you have an emergency. There should be a valve near the house. Look in the following places:
  • In the crawl space or basement, where the water line enters the home.
  • In the garage where the water line enters the wall or ceiling, near the water heater or laundry hookup.
  • Outside near the foundation, often protected by a concrete ring or clay pipe.
  • Your water meter is located in a concrete box in the ground, generally in front of your house and near the side property line. It’s important to keep the box free of plants and roots that can obstruct or hide the meter or damage the service line.
  • You might want to have a shutoff valve installed if you can’t locate one.

If you have an emergency and need help shutting off your water at the meter or locating your water meter, please call Public Works Operations Division at (503) 325-3524.