Highway Beautification

ORS 377.710
Definitions for ORS 377.700 to 377.844

  • rules

As used in ORS 377.700 (Short title) to 377.844 (Enforcement of rules regarding health and safety) unless the context otherwise requires:


“Back-to-back sign” means a sign with multiple display surfaces mounted on a single structure with display surfaces visible to traffic from opposite directions of travel.


“Commercial or industrial zone” means an area, adjacent to a state highway, that is zoned for commercial or industrial use by or under state statute or local ordinance.


“Council” means the Travel Information Council created by ORS 377.835 (Creation of Travel Information Council as semi-independent state agency).


“Cutout” means every type of display in the form of letters, figures, characters or other representations in cutout or irregular form attached to and superimposed upon a sign.


“Department” means the Department of Transportation.


“Digital billboard” means an outdoor advertising sign that is static and changes messages by any electronic process or remote control, provided that the change from one message to another message is no more frequent than once every eight seconds and the actual change process is accomplished in two seconds or less.


“Director” means the Director of Transportation.


“Display surface” means the area of a sign available for the purpose of displaying a message.


“Double-faced sign” means a sign with multiple display surfaces with two or more separate and different messages visible to traffic from one direction of travel.


“Erect” means to construct, build, assemble, place, affix, attach, create, paint, draw or in any way bring into being or establish.


“Federal-aid primary system” or “primary highway” means the federal-aid primary system in existence on June 1, 1991, and any highway that is on the National Highway System.


“Freeway” means a divided arterial highway with four or more lanes available for through traffic with full control of access and grade separation at intersections.


“Governmental unit” means the federal government, the state, or a city, county or other political subdivision or an agency thereof.


“Interstate highway” or “interstate system” means every state highway that is a part of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways established pursuant to section 103(c), title 23, United States Code.


“Logo” means a symbol or design used by a business as a means of identification of its products or services.


“Logo sign” means a sign located on highway right of way on which logos for gas, food, lodging and camping are mounted.


“Maintain” includes painting, changing messages on display surfaces, adding or removing a cutout or display surface of the same dimensions, replacing lights or the catwalk, making routine repairs necessary to keep the sign in a neat, clean, attractive and safe condition, and allowing the sign to exist.


“Main traveled way” means the through traffic lanes, exclusive of frontage roads, auxiliary lanes and ramps.


“Motorist informational sign” means a sign erected in a safety rest area, scenic overlook or sign plaza and maintained under the authority of ORS 377.700 (Short title) to 377.844 (Enforcement of rules regarding health and safety) to inform the traveling public about public accommodations, services for the traveling public and points of scenic, historic, cultural, scientific, outdoor recreational and educational interest.


“Nonconforming sign” means a sign that complied with ORS 377.700 (Short title) to 377.844 (Enforcement of rules regarding health and safety) when erected, but no longer complies with ORS 377.700 (Short title) to 377.844 (Enforcement of rules regarding health and safety) because of a later change in the law or in the conditions outside of the owner’s control. An unlawfully located or maintained sign is not a nonconforming sign.


“Outdoor advertising sign” means:


A sign that is not at the location of a business or an activity open to the public, as defined by the department by rule; or


A sign for which compensation or anything of value as defined by the department by rule is given or received for the display of the sign or for the right to place the sign on another’s property.


“Protected area” means an area located within 660 feet of the edge of the right of way of any portion of an interstate highway constructed upon any part of right of way, the entire width of which was acquired by the State of Oregon subsequent to July 1, 1956, and which portion or segment does not traverse:


A commercial or industrial zone within the boundaries of a city, as such boundaries existed on September 21, 1959, wherein the use of real property adjacent to the interstate highway is subject to municipal regulation or control; or


Other areas where land use, as of September 21, 1959, is established as industrial or commercial pursuant to state law.


“Reconstruct” means replacing a sign totally or partially destroyed, changing its overall height or performing any work, except maintenance work, that alters or changes a sign that lawfully exists under ORS 377.700 (Short title) to 377.844 (Enforcement of rules regarding health and safety).


“Relocate” includes, but is not limited to removing a sign from one site and erecting a new sign upon another site as a substitute therefor.


“Relocation credit” means a credit for future relocation of a permitted outdoor advertising sign issued in lieu of a relocation permit under ORS 377.767 (Relocation of existing outdoor advertising sign).


“Relocation permit” means a permit to relocate a sign under ORS 377.767 (Relocation of existing outdoor advertising sign), whether issued in a lieu of a current sign permit or a relocation credit.


“Rest area” means an area established and maintained within or adjacent to a state highway right of way by or under public supervision or control for the convenience of the traveling public, and includes safety rest areas, scenic overlooks or similar roadside areas.


“Scenic byway” means a state highway or portion of a state highway designated as part of the scenic byway system by the Oregon Transportation Commission or Federal Highway Administration of the United States Department of Transportation.


“Secondary highway” means any state highway other than an interstate highway or primary highway.


(a) “Sign” means any sign, display, message, emblem, device, figure, painting, drawing, placard, poster, billboard or other thing that is designed, used or intended for advertising purposes or to inform or attract the attention of the public.


“Sign” includes the sign structure, display surface and all other component parts of a sign.


When dimensions of a sign are specified, “sign” includes panels and frames and both sides of a sign of specified dimensions or area.


“Sign area” means the overall dimensions of all panels capable of displaying messages on a sign structure.


“Sign plaza” means a structure erected and maintained by or for the department or the Travel Information Council, adjacent to or in close proximity to a state highway, for the display of motorist information.


“Sign rules for protected areas” means rules adopted by the department applicable to signs displayed within protected areas.


“Sign structure” or “structure” means the supports, uprights, braces, poles, pylons, foundation elements, framework and display surfaces of a sign.


“State highway,” “highway” or “state highway system” means the entire width between the boundary lines of the right of way of every state highway, as defined by ORS 366.005 (Definitions), and the interstate system and the federal-aid primary system.


“Tourist oriented directional sign” means a sign erected on state highway right of way to provide business identification and directional information for services and activities of interest to tourists.


“Traffic control sign or device” means an official route marker, guide sign, warning sign, or sign directing or regulating traffic, which has been erected by or under the order of the department.


“Travel plaza” means any staffed facility erected under the authority of the Travel Information Council to serve motorists by providing brochures, displays, signs and other visitor information and located in close proximity to a highway.


“Tri-vision sign” means a sign that contains display surfaces composed of a series of three-sided rotating slats arranged side by side, either horizontally or vertically, that are rotated by an electromechanical process and capable of displaying a total of three separate and distinct messages, one message at a time, provided that the rotation from one message to another message is no more frequent than every eight seconds and the actual rotation process is accomplished in four seconds or less.


“V-type sign” means two signs erected independently of each other with multiple display surfaces having single or multiple messages visible to traffic from opposite directions, with an interior angle between the two signs of not more than 120 degrees and the signs separated by not more than 10 feet at the nearest point.


“Visible” means capable of being seen without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity, whether or not legible from the main traveled way of any state highway. [1971 c.770 §3; 1973 c.790 §1; 1974 c.33 §1; 1975 c.336 §1; 1977 c.265 §1; 1983 c.111 §1; 1987 c.336 §2; 1993 c.741 §54; 1999 c.877 §2; 2007 c.199 §5; 2009 c.463 §5; 2011 c.562 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Sign announcing future construction of facility at sign location constituted outdoor advertisement of facility not located on premises where sign was located. Hoffman v. Hwy. Div., 23 Or App 497, 543 P2d 50 (1975), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Construing "reconstruction," (1976) Vol 37, p 1538; construing "freeways," (1976) Vol 38, p 404

§§ 377.700 to 377.840

Notes of Decisions

Exclusion of on-premises signs from regulation as outdoor advertising signs is not content-based discrimination against noncommercial speech. Outdoor Media Dimensions, Inc. v. State of Oregon, 150 Or App 106, 945 P2d 614 (1997), aff'd 331 Or 634, 20 P3d 180 (2001)

Imposition of content-neutral regulatory requirements does not infringe on protected speech. Outdoor Media Dimensions v. Department of Transportation, 340 Or 275, 132 P3d 5 (2006)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

City and county "police power" for removal of billboards and signs; compensation or amortization period, (1974) Vol 36, p 1145


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021