Public Works Department
555 Liberty Street SE, Suite 325
Salem, OR 97301



Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Street Painting Program

What are Street Paintings?

Street paintings are large, decorative paintings, approved by the City of Salem, and installed directly on the street pavement. They may span a portion of a street, or an entire intersection or block. In communities where these have been installed, the themes have included geometric designs as well as themes related to animals, flowers and trees, and more. 

These paintings are intended to be part of the neighborhood - its identity and aesthetic. They should create a positive feature of the neighborhood, be supported and welcomed by neighbors, and create a sense of community.  As such, their design may not include regulatory, safety, informational, religious, or political messages. Street paintings are not intended to affect traffic volumes or speeds.

Location Criteria

Street paintings may be applied to any public street, or portion thereof, designated in the Salem Transportation System Plan as a Local Street, Cul-de-Sac, or Alleyway.  Local Streets are shown in gray on the online Street Classification System Map.

  • Local Street:  Provides access to properties and basic circulation within a neighborhood.

  • Cul-de-Sac:  Serves as a dead-end local street with a turn-around at it’s terminus.  Provides property access into areas of a neighborhood where continuous local street connections cannot be made.

  • Alleyway:  Provides secondary property access and circulation within a city block.

Street paintings may not be applied to any pervious surface regardless of street designation.

Design Criteria 

  • Designs shall not contain words in any language, letters from any alphabet, numbers, universally recognized signs, symbols, emblems, or logos of any kind

  • Designs shall not contain, in whole or in part, any copyrighted materials

  • Designs shall not cover existing pavement markings or extend beyond the street surface to curbs, sidewalks, and other features

  • Designs shall include the following buffers:

    • 50-foot buffer from signalized intersections or to the stop-controlled leg of an intersection, and a
    • 10-foot buffer from speed humps
    • 10-foot buffer from stop bars and marked crosswalks
      • Designs may be allowed within the lines of a marked crosswalk

  • Designs shall not mimic traffic control devices or attempt to control motorized or non-motorized or create an illusion that may be misinterpreted as a safety hazard by motorists or bicyclists.

See Administrative Rule Chapter 109-900 - Salem Street Painting Program for additional details.

Application & Approval Process

Proposals for street paintings shall be submitted to the Public Works through an online Street Painting Application for review and approval. Applications must include

  • Applicant contact information

  • Proposed dates of paint application (street preparation, primer, and painting)

  • Image of painting design at proposed location
    • Recommend an aerial image of the street using Google Maps
    • Include drawing of the design overlaid on street to be painted
    • Include the length and width, but also distance from curbs, intersections, and other street markings
  • List of paint colors and non-slip paint additive to be used (See Oregon Standard Specifications for Construction - 2021), page 875)

Street paintings meeting the Location and Design Criteria and are supported by the abutting and adjacent property owners (requires advance notification and 60% approval – see Street Painting Process) shall be approved. 

Street Painting Application

Street Painting Process

Installation and Maintenance

  • Installation of a street painting requires a street closure plan and Work In Right-of-Way Permit. Once the painting is approved, Public Works staff will provide the plan, permit, and provide instructions for the applicant to collect barricades and signage.
  • Painting and cleanup must be done in a manner that does not allow any paint to enter the storm drain system, water body, or wetland.
  • Paints cannot be reflective, retroreflective, or luminescent and must contain additives for skid resistance (Oregon Standard Specifications for Construction (2021), page 875)
  • There is no minimum maintenance requirement for street paintings. Neighborhoods may choose to maintain their street art or not, either by periodically freshening it up, or letting it slowly fade. Maintenance activities will require street closure plans and permits approved by the City of Salem and shall not cause it to deviate substantially from the originally approved design. 
  • The City will not maintain the painting, nor restore it in the event of construction, utility maintenance, or graffiti abatement in the area and will also not be responsible for any damage caused by operations like street sweeping or snow 
Bellmont and Cottage Street Painting Supplies