Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

The latest news about Regulatory Improvement projects.

RICAP 8 Discussion Draft is now available for public review and comment

Code improvements address land divisions, property line adjustments, trees, removal of Historic Resource Inventory listings and more

Portland’s Zoning Code is anything but static. Public input, new land use plans and policies, and code updates ensure that the City’s regulations meet the needs of current and future residents.

A new package of code amendments is now ready for public review and comment. The regulatory improvement code amendment package (RICAP) 8 Discussion Draft contains 49 items that are being evaluated for possible regulatory improvement. The scope of RICAP 8 was shaped by community requests submitted via the Regulatory Improvement Request (RIR) Database and/or identified by City staff as needing resolution.

Read the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Project (RICAP) 8 Discussion Draft

Summary of Potential Amendments

Many of the items in the RICAP 8 Discussion Draft reflect simple code corrections or clarifications to ensure that regulations are implemented consistently with the original policy intent. Ten items resulted in no proposed amendment after Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff researched and analyzed the issue. The remaining items include either minor policy or more substantive changes.

Highlights include:

  • Creation of a 120-day delay for the removal of ranked structures from the Historic Resource Inventory.
  • Clarification of how water features, like drainageways and wetlands, should be defined and protected in land divisions.
  • Reduction of the ability to create lot lines in land divisions and property line adjustments that are not straight.
  • Increase in flexibility for some loading standards on local service streets.
  • Clarification on how tree protection requirements apply when a portion of the root protection zone extends onto an adjacent property or right-of-way.
  • Increase in the allowable fine for unlawful damage or removal of a Heritage Tree on private property.
  • Addition of authority for the City to levy liens and utilize other mechanisms for unpaid fees tied to tree code violations.

The comment period for the Discussion Draft ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 14, 2016.

Please submit comments by mail to 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201, Attn: RICAP 8; by FAX: 503-823-7800; or by email

Next Steps

Staff will consider comments on the Discussion Draft to create a Proposed Draft, which will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) at a public hearing in December 2016. The PSC will consider public testimony and then forward a recommendation to City Council for consideration and additional public review before final adoption next year.


Regulatory improvement code amendment packages are intended to continually update and improve City building and land use regulations. RICAPs address technical matters and clarifications or refine existing adopted policy, typically in a one-year revolving work plan. 

City Council Approves Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update

Code Amendments will be effective on Jan. 1, 2016

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Portland City Council voted 4-1 to accept the Planning and Sustainability Commission's recommendation on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update project without any amendments. The Council did not take a vote on the amendment proposed by Commissioner Fritz, keeping the package as it was initially submitted at their hearing on November 12.  

The code amendments are effective 30 days after approval, which falls on January 1, 2016.  The first day that the Development Services Center will be open after the effective date will be Monday January 4, 2016.

The Recommended Draft includes all of the approved changes to the zoning code.

Commissioner Fritz Proposes Amendment to Accessory Structures Code Project

Change would affect Accessory Dwelling Units in R7, R5, and R2.5 zones

Commissioner Fritz has submitted an amendment to the Planning & Sustainability's Recommended Draft on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update project. The amendment was submitted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, prior to the Council's second reading and vote on the ordinance, which was initially scheduled for November 18, 2015.

The amendment removes the ability for smaller accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to be placed within the side and rear setbacks in the R7, R5, and R2.5 zones. The amendment does not affect other covered accessory structures such as garages, sheds, workshops or other living spaces that don't provide independent living facilities.

The City Council has postponed their vote on the amendment and the full package of code changes until December 2, 2015 at 9:45 a.m. In the interim, testimony can be sent to the City Council through the Council Clerks office at

View the Council Amendment

View the Recommended Draft


City Council to hold November 12 Public Hearing on Accessory Structures

Recommended Draft amends Zoning Code for accessory structures, including ADUs

The Portland City Council will hold a public hearing on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update Recommended Draft on November 12, beginning at 9:45 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. Public testimony will be taken at this time.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission's Recommended Draft is based on staff work, with input received during public outreach and through discussions with the project focus group.

The Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update project revises the regulations for accessory structures with a focus on detached accessory structures, such as garages, covered patios, storage sheds and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The amendments streamline the standards to create one set of regulations for all covered accessory structures that is based more on form (setbacks, height and bulk) rather than function (how the building is used).

City Council Public Hearing
Thursday November 12, 2015, 9:45 a.m.
City Hall - Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Ave, Portland Oregon 

View the Recommended Draft

View the Public Notice

Accessory Structures Project passes through Planning & Sustainability Commission

Commission recommends approval to City Council

On September 22, Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held a public hearing on the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update. After a staff presentation, the Commission opened the hearing up for testimony. Four people testified, and there was general support for the proposed changes. After considering the proposal, the PSC voted 6-0 to recommend the City Council approve the amendments as proposed by staff.

The next step is for Council to hold a final hearing and adopt the code amendments. This hearing is tentatively scheduled for November 12 at 9:45 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave. Check the project calendar to confirm details.