Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Design Commission

Design CommissionThe Design Commission, authorized under Portland City Code 33.710.050, provides leadership and expertise on urban design and architecture and on maintaining and enhancing Portland's historical and architectural heritage. The Design Commission consists of seven members, none of whom may hold public elective office. 

The Commission must include a representative of the Regional Arts and Culture Council, one person representing the public at-large, and five members experienced in either design, engineering, financing, construction or management of buildings, and land development. No more than two members may be appointed from any one of these areas of expertise. 

The Regional Arts and Culture Council member is nominated by the Regional Arts and Culture Council chair and approved by the Mayor. The other members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The term shall be maximum 4 years, limited to a maximum of two full terms.

The Commission powers and dutes include:

  1. Recommending the establishment, amendment, or removal of a design district to the Planning Commission and City Council, except Historic Districts and Conservation Districts;
  2. Developing design guidelines for adoption by City Council for all design districts except Historic Districts and Conservation Districts;
  3. Reviewing major developments within design districts, except those projects involving or located within the following:
    • a) Historic Districts;
    • b) Conservation Districts;
    • c) Historic Landmarks; and
    • d) Conservation Landmarks
  4. Reviewing other land use requests assigned to the Design Commission; and
  5. Providing advice on design matters to the Hearings Officer, Planning Commission, Historic Landmarks Commission, Portland Development Commission, and City Council.

The Commission meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 1:30 PM in conference room 2500A, 2nd floor of 1900 SW 4th Avenue.

Current Design Commission Members are:

Name Membership Category Term Expires
David Wark, Chair RACC Member 10/31/17 [2nd term]
Ben Kaiser - Vice Chair Land Development 8/14/15 [1st term]
Jeffrey Simpson Public at Large 8/15/16 [1st term]
Don Vallaster Architect 9/19/2019 [1st full term]
Tad Savinar Urban Designer 9/30/18 [1st term]
Julie Livingston Architect  5/6/2019 [1st full term]
Vacant Architect  

Primary Staff to the Design Commission: Tim Heron (503) 823-7726.