Event Pole Banners

Permit Counter Temporary Closures

To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we closed our public-facing customer service counters on Monday, March 16, 2020. Our counters remain closed until further notice. This includes both the Street Use and the Traffic and Parking permit counters at the Seattle Municipal Tower on floors 23 and 37. We are still processing permit applications.

You can submit applications for all permit types online through the Seattle Services Portal.

Our staff will be available to provide application coaching and assist with issuing permits by phone or e-mail.

Updated 09/2021

How do I get a permit for event pole banners?

This permit allows permittees to install event advertisement banners on City-owned utility poles. Event banners promote arts and cultural activities, such as events, festivals, and tourism programs, as well as major sporting events. Banners may not be used to advertise specific products or services. They announce a specific date or time period and may be installed 30 days prior to an event and must be taken down 5 days afterward. You can apply for this permit on the Seattle Services Portal. Use the button on the right to sign in!

Under "Create New" select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Temporary Activation" record type.

Apply at least 4-6 weeks before you need to install your banners. Spring and summer are busy seasons for banner requests, so get your application in as early as possible!

Required documents:

  • Pole map (view an example pole map here)
  • Design proof(s) complete with size and colors (View an example design proof here
  • Specifications for your installation system if installing brackets
  • Historic/Landmark District Certificate of Approval (if in an historic district)

*We don't require you to submit proof of insurance, but it is a permit requirement. Please review CAM 2102 for our insurance guidelines.  

Event Banner design guidelines:

  • Include the location and date of the event 
  • Use simple and bold graphics
  • Keep your text short
  • Bright colors that contrast each other provide the best visual impact
  • Install banners closely spaced together at similar heights to create a strong visual impact
  • Limit sponsorship and corporate logo recognition(s) to no more than 20% of the overall banner area. The font of the sponsorship may not be larger than the font of the event name. 

Pole eligibility:

  • Banners may be hung in commercial or industrial zones, or next to major institutions or City-owned open spaces. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (Seattle DCI) zoning map will help you to identify if the area in which you'd like to install banners has the proper zoning 
  • Wood poles are eligible for use if they support streetlights only, with only one wire attached to pole
    • For mounting on wood streetlight poles, you must use lag bolts. The lag bolts must be the same diameter or 1/16 - inch less than the bolt hole diameter. The bolts should be stainless steel and 4 inches in length. Once installed on wood streetlight poles, the mounting hardware must be left in place. The use of clamps or banding on wood poles is not permitted.

An eligible wood pole

Example of an eligible wood pole with one streetlight wire. 

An ineligible wood pole

Example of a wood pole that would not be approved due to multiple attachments.

  • Poles must not have traffic control signals, pedestrian crossing signals, or art installations
  • Metro poles or poles with Metro attachments must have prior approval from Metro before receiving your permit

Banner dimensions and installation specifications:

  • Banners must be installed with both a top and bottom rod 
  • Mount your banner at least 2 feet above any existing signs
  • Banners should not interfere with the visibility of traffic signals or signs, or with identified historic or artistic installations
  • If banner is on sidewalk side of pole, make sure it is at least 8 feet above the sidewalk and 18 inches back from the face of the curb
  • If banner is on curb side of pole, follow the directions in the diagrams below:
    • When the edge of the banner is more than 18 inches from the curb, the minimum clearance for the bottom of the banner is 8 feet over the sidewalk.
    • When the edge of the banner is less than 18 inches from the curb, the minimum clearance for the bottom of the banner is 14 feet over a parking lane or 16.5 feet over a travel lane.

Diagram of a utility pole indicating the banner top is 3 feet or more from the luminary ballast, the edge of the banner is more than 18 inches to the curb, and at least 8 feet  over the sidewalk. A diagram of a utility pole showing a pole banner with less than 18 inches to the curb. In these cases, there must be a minimum clearance of 14 feet over a parking lane or 16 feet 6 inches over a travel lane. The banner may hang over the street.

For more information, please refer to our Pole Banner Permitting Guidelines.