Business Licensing FAQs

A lot of planning and effort goes into opening a business, and we're here to make it as easy as possible for you.  Below is a list of our most frequently-asked questions.  If you need additional information or clarification, please call 503-665-5175.

Who is required to obtain a business license?

Anyone who engages in any business within the city limits of Troutdale must obtain a City of Troutdale business license.  Troutdale Municipal Code 5.04.030 states “No person shall conduct any business within the city without a valid license unless an exemption contained in Section 5.04.040 of this code applies.”

These exemptions include:

  • Garage sales (limited to four sales per year);
  • An individual performing babysitting, nursery or child-care activities on a part-time basis;
  • An individual who is employed by a business which has obtained a license;
  • An individual hired or employed on an intermittent or casual basis by a household, business or other employer to supply only services;
  • A person whose primary activity consists of delivering goods inside the city for a business located outside the city;
  • Any conduct which is exempt from licensing by virtue of the constitution or laws of the United States or the state of Oregon;
  • A person who leases two or fewer units of residential real estate within the city;
  • A contractor or landscape contractor (1) who possesses a contractor's license issued by Metro, (2) whose place of business is located outside the city, and (3) who earns less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars in annual gross revenues from business conducted within the city. For purposes of this subsection, "contractor" has the meaning provided in ORS 701.055(2), and "landscape contractor" has the meaning provided in ORS 701.015(6)(c);
  • tax-exempt organizations and nonprofit religious organizations;
  • City-sponsored activities and business operating under a city franchise.

If you have questions regarding business licensing requirements, call 503-665-5175.

How often do I renew my business license?

Annually.  All business licensees are valid from date of issuance through December 31 of each year.  The City does not prorate the license fee, so, for example, if you apply for your first license in August, you will pay the full license fee at that time, and renew your license again on January 1st. 

Business license renewal notices are mailed to business owners at the end of November each year.  You have until January 1 to renew, along with a grace period through January 31.  If the renewal is not received by January 31, a late fee of $25 will be applied on February 1. 

How much does a business license cost?

License fees are set by the Troutdale City Council.  At present, the City charges an annual flat rate for:

  • Standard Business License ($80)
  • Street Side Sales Business License (temporary, 60 days) ($80)
  • Home Occupation Business License ($60)

Additional license fees include: 

  • $5 for door-to-door solicitor license (per solicitor);
  • $15 for Change of Address fee (in the event the business moves to another commercial property within the City);
  • $5 for license replacement fee if the original license is lost or destroyed.

I want to start a business out of my home, what licensing will I need?

You will need a Home Occupation Business License if you live and do business in a residential area of Troutdale.  There may be limitations on the business activities that can take place there, so call Troutdale Community Development Department at 503-674-7230, to see if you are zoned to operate the business from your home.  If you operate an adult foster home or day care, you will also need certification through the State of Oregon.

My business is in my home in Troutdale but all of my work is done outside the City limits - am I required to obtain a business license?

Yes, because your business location is within the City limits and your home is considered to be your business “headquarters”.  

I’m a contractor. Am I required to have a City of Troutdale business license?

  • If your business is located in Troutdale, yes.
  • If your business is located in Troutdale and you have a Metro Regional Contractor’s Business License (Metro license), yes.
  • If you reside outside the City, plan to work within the City, and do not have a Metro license, yes.
  • If you do not live in Troutdale, and do have a Metro license, you may not have to obtain a City license.  To confirm, contact the Community Development Department at 503-674-7229, or Metro at 503-797-1620, option 1.

Click here to learn about the Metro license:…

I am a contractor and have hired sub-contractors to complete a job - am I required to include them on my Business license?

Sub-contractors are required to have their own business license as they are not your employees.

What is a Street Side Sales license?

Street Side Sales licenses are primarily for the temporary sale of products including fireworks, Christmas trees, flowers, fruits and vegetables, seafood, firewood, or arts and crafts, and are permitted within commercial or industrial zoning districts, or on sites with a community service use.  You determine the start date of the business period and the license will be active for a total of up to 60 days in a calendar year.  Before you submit an application, call the Troutdale Community Development Department at 503-674-7230 to make sure you’re allowed to sell your goods in the zoning district you’ve selected.

Do Salon / Spa staff need to obtain a business license?

If you are leasing a space at a salon or spa, you are considered an independent contractor and are required to obtain a license.  If you work for a salon or spa and receive all your wages from the owner of the business, you are not required to obtain a business license.  

If I own properties, to rent or lease, is a business license required? What about Airbnb and other short-term rentals?

If you own three or more dwelling units within the City that are rented or leased, you are required to have a business license.  If you operate an Airbnb or other short-term rental, please contact the city’s Community Development Department at 503-674-7230 for information. 

I’m the new owner of an existing business. Do I need to apply for a new business license?

Yes.  Business licenses are not transferable to the new owner when a business is sold.

Are there any late fees applied to my business license?

Yes, if you don’t pay your license renewal fee on time!  Business license renewals are mailed to owners in late November each year.  Renewal fees are due by January 1st of each year to maintain your legal business status, and we allow a month-long grace period through January 31st.  A $25 late fee is applied on February 1st.  We must receive your renewal notice and fees by January 31st in order to avoid a late fee. 

What if I move or close?

Always keep the City updated as to any changes to your mailing address.  Business licenses will be issued via the mailing address you provided our office when you first applied for a license.  In the event you move your business to another commercial property within the City, you’ll need to reach out to Alex.lopez [at] (Alex Lopez) in the Planning Division to start the relocation approval process.

Please note there is a $15 charge to cover processing and administrative costs at the time of Business License - Change of Address submittal. 

If you move out of the City or are no longer doing business in Troutdale, your business license is no longer active, please notify City Hall at 503-665-5175, or email kelley.graham [at]  Be sure to indicate the name of your business and include contact information. 

I am licensed through the State - am I still required to have a City of Troutdale license?

Yes. There isn’t a State license to operate a business in Troutdale. At that level, you are either registering your business name, or receiving certification at the State or County level for a particular specialty, which may include a construction or landscape contractor license, or certification to operate a daycare facility or foster care home.  You must still obtain a City license that allows you to operate your business in Troutdale.

I live in unincorporated Multnomah County, but would like to have a business license - may I apply with your City?

Business licenses for unincorporated Multnomah County are issued through the City of Portland, so you will need to contact them for how to apply. If you are doing business within the City of Troutdale, however, you will need a Troutdale Business License. 

My business is non-profit. Do I still need to apply for a license?

Yes.  Federally tax-exempt organizations and nonprofit religious organizations are exempt and not required to obtain a business license, however they must fill out a business license application and provide proof of federal non-profit status (501(c)(3), for example).  Commercial non-profits are not included in the exemption.    

Is the Business License a tax for the City of Troutdale?

The licensing fees are General Fund revenue for the City. The licensing fee covers the processing and administrative costs incurred. The Troutdale Municipal Code 5.04.010 states,  “The primary purpose of licensing requirements is to regulate businesses in order to promote the health, safety and welfare of the public. Licensing helps ensure that all new business activities are conducted in compliance with applicable laws and ordinances. Licensing also allows the city to maintain an inventory of existing businesses operating and doing business within its limits. This inventory allows the city to ensure, through inspection, enforcement and other regulatory measures, that such business activities continue to comply with applicable laws and ordinances.”

I’m going door-to-door and leaving flyers in places where people gather. Do I need a business license?

If you are a solicitor working for a company, the company must obtain a business license, as well as a solicitor card for each solicitor going door-to-door.  If you are the owner – and also going door-to-door, you must have a business license as well as a solicitor card. The cost for the card is $5.  All solicitors, while they are working in Troutdale, are required to have their personalized solicitor card with them at all times.

If we have more than one location, is a business license required for each one?

Yes.  If there are two locations of the same business (for example, two Plaid Pantry stores within the City limits), then each store must be licensed individually.

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