UPDATE 2018 – The Portland permit requirement appears to be going away. Instead, beekeepers are now simply required to follow the best-practices guidelines for nuisance-free beekeeping in Oregon. These guidelines still encourage beekeepers to talk to their neighbors. Although it is not a requirement, it is a good opportunity to educate people not just about bees, but about gardening, planting bee-friendly forage, and the use of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides and the effects they have on pollinators and other beneficial insects. If you have any questions please contact Portland’s Office of Sustainability, 503-823-1174.
The old permitting process is outlined below and is no longer applicable, but contains some good resources for educating your neighbors. Beekeepers with 5 or more hives are still required to register their apiary with the ODA every year. Apiary registration is a good indicator of following best-practices and can go really far in defending you should a nuisance complaint come up.
Outdated permit process: As of February 2015 there is a new process in place for getting a new beekeeping permit in the city of Portland. You no longer need neighbors’ signatures. Instead, you must mail notification to neighbors within 150 feet of the property on which the hive(s) will be kept.
The permit is only required for honey bees (not mason bees) and only if you live within the city of Portland (the permit is actually issued by Multnomah County, but residents of other parts of the County are not required to go through this process).
If you already have a permit for beekeeping on your property, you do not need to re-apply. However, you must have one permit for each property on which you have hives. If you have 3 hives in your backyard, that requires 1 permit. If you have 1 hive in your yard and 1 in someone else’s yard, that requires 2 permits.
- Download and complete the directions on the beekeeper checklist.
- Download the permit application and neighborhood notification letter.
- Download the optional bee FAQ (in color or black & white) that can also be sent to neighbors with the notification. We recommend including this information to help educate people about beekeeping and calm any fears.
- You can obtain the list of neighbors you must notify by using portlandmaps.com or Multnomah County SAIL. You will need to enter the site address and interpret what other addresses are within 150 feet.
- Or for $25 the county can provide the list of addresses to which you must send letters.
- After mailing the letters, you must sign the affidavit indicating that you have sent the letters and submit it with the permit application, your $12 application fee, the signed checklist, and a copy of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance (standard insurance policies are fine; you do not need special bee insurance). If you are a renter, you must also include a signed letter from the property owner indicating you have permission to keep bees on the property.
Once Multnomah County Health Department receives your application and payment they will send an inspector to the site. After inspection is complete, they will send you your permit. The inspector has been very good about working with beekeepers to ensure compliance, and if you have been keeping hives without a permit, you can apply now with no penalty. You can also apply before getting a hive, if you don’t yet have one.
If you have questions about the process or want to check on the status of your application, call Multnomah County Vector Contol:
PUB members say they are very nice and helpful.