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Using the Right-of-Way

Learn about what is and is not allowed in the public right-of-way.

The public right-of-way (ROW) is land or an easement used for public roads. This usually includes sidewalks, road shoulders and ditches.

We allow mailboxes, roadside vegetation, fences and retaining walls in the ROW unless they block access. You can put basketball hoops on dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs. Traffic control and other authorized signs are also allowed.

Roadside signs, permanent structures, water wells, septic tanks and drain fields are not allowed in the ROW.

We require a right-of-way permit for:

  • Utilities
  • Sidewalks
  • Driveways and property access
  • Dust control
  • Water and stream measuring devices
  • Bus shelters and benches
  • Temporary road closures
  • Things that aren’t specifically prohibited or allowed without a permit

We require a right-of-way agreement to:

  • Opt out of roadside spraying next to your property
  • Place storage containers in the right-of-way

We can remove anything put in the right-of-way without compensation whether you have a permit or not.

We may penalize or fine you if you don’t get a required permit, if you don’t meet permit conditions or if you create a hazard.

Roadside Signs

State law and County resolution prohibit temporary signs in the public right-of-way.

Political campaign, real estate, garage sale and other temporary signs are not allowed. Temporary signs on permanent structures like utility poles, signposts and traffic signal cabinets are also not allowed.

These rules only apply in unincorporated Washington County. To request removal of an illegal sign, call 503-846-7623 or submit a service request.

Related Documents:

Performance Bond (PDF 20.54 KB)
Permit Amendment (PDF 77.16 KB)

Road Design and Construction Standards