Annexation is the process of changing municipal boundaries to bring adjacent unincorporated areas into an existing city, typically to provide urban services not presently available. Properties must be within the municipal boundary of the City of Portland to receive City services.
Urban Service Boundary
The City of Portland initially adopted an urban services boundary (USB) in Multnomah, and Clackamas Counties in the 1980's and in Washington County in the 1990's in cooperation with Metro regional government and neighboring jurisdictions. The City has since amended the USB a number of times. The USB includes those areas that the City intends to provide urban services to as its urban area builds out.1
Property owners must be within Portland's urban services boundary to be considered for annexation to the City of Portland. The City of Portland’s Urban Services Boundary will always fall within The Metro Urban Growth Boundary.
Annexations initiated by property owner(s)
Property owners within the City of Portland's USB can initiate an annexation either through the statutory double majority petition process (majority of property owners and registered voters in the area to be annexed) or through the City-adopted expedited process.
Requests for annexation of a single property are typically submitted through the City’s “Expedited Review Process for Uncontested Annexations and Service Extensions.” An expedited annexation requires: consent of 100 percent of the property owners; at least 50 percent of the electors within the territory requesting annexation; and no objections from necessary parties such as service districts or other city or county service bureaus.
Annexations initiated by the City of Portland
Portland’s Comprehensive Plan allows for annexation of all areas within its USB. However, at this time, the City is not actively pursuing annexations not initiated by a property owner.
If the City decides to pursue annexations not initiated by a property owner, the City Council may adopt an intent to annex and direct staff to gather consent signatures for annexation in the declared area or pursue other annexation options available through State Statute.
For unincorporated areas surrounded by the City of Portland municipal limits, the City may pursue the “island method” of annexation which does not require consent from the electors or property owners. See ORS 222.750.
Annexations required by Oregon Health Authority
The City can be required to annex or serve territory beyond its boundaries of municipal incorporation upon a certified finding by the director of the Oregon Health Authority that a danger to public health exists within the territory to be annexed or served, provided this territory is within the Urban Growth Boundary. Metro code and the City’s comprehensive plan do not allow the City to annex or provide water or sewer service to unincorporated territory outside the Urban Growth Boundary.
How long does the annexation process take?
The City Council usually considers expedited applications within 45-60 days from the submittal of a complete application. Annexations pursued through the double majority method but not meeting the requirements for an expedited application will take longer.
Relevant statutes, rules, codes, procedures, and policies
Regardless of whether an annexation proposal originates from a property owner or the City, review procedures and approval criteria are described in the following statutes, rules and administrative procedures:
Including but not limited to:
- Chapter 195 – Local Government Planning Coordination
- Chapter 222 – City Boundary Changes Mergers, Consolidations, Withdrawals
- ORS 308.225 Boundary changes, procedures — Oregon Department of Revenue