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Phone: 503-823-7700

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

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The latest news about Regulatory Improvement projects.

RICAP 7 Discussion Draft is now available for review and comment; Portlanders invited to open house to learn more

Code amendments would address design review, neighborhood contact requirements, shed roof heights, floor area use clarification and more

Regulatory improvement code amendment packages (RICAP) are intended to continually update and improve City building and land use regulations. RICAPs address technical matters and clarifications or refinement of existing adopted policy in typically a one-year revolving work plan. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is now working on the seventh package of code amendments, and a discussion draft is available for Portlanders to review.

The new RICAP 7 Discussion Draft contains 45 items that are being evaluated for possible regulatory improvement, per community requests submitted via the Regulatory Improvement Request (RIR) Database. Comments from the public on the Discussion Draft are welcome through Feb. 27, 2015.

Open House                                                                                             

Project staff will hold an open house on Feb. 10, 2015, from 5 – 7 p.m. to answer questions about the RICAP 7 Discussion Draft. The open house will be in the Development Services Building, 1900 SW 4thAve, Room 7A (7th floor). Staff will also be reviewing the Discussion Draft with the neighborhood coalitions; check the project calendar for more information.

Read the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Project (RICAP) 7 Discussion Draft

Summary of Potential Amendments

Many of the items in the Discussion Draft reflect simple code corrections or clarifications to ensure that regulations are implemented consistent with the original policy intent. Three 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 to:

  • Allow for small changes to approved Type III Design Review cases to be processed through a Type II review.
  • Specify that required pre-application conferences must be held prior to submitting the land use application.
  • Establish a one-year time limit for the neighborhood contact requirement.
  • Clarify how to measure the area occupied by land uses that are limited in size by particular zones.
  • Clarify how to measure the height for shed roof structures.
  • Allow fences in the commercial zone buffer overlay setback for sites with residential development.
  • Allow a conditional use review to establish alternative minimum and maximum parking standards.
  • Reorganize the definitions chapter to arrange items alphabetically.

Comments on the 45 items can be submitted by mail to 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201, Attn: RICAP 7; FAX: 503-823-7800; or email

The comment period for the Discussion Draft ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Next Steps

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

RICAP 7 Discussion Draft Available for Public Review Soon

Draft code amendments to address design review, pre-application requests, household living uses, height measurement methods and Ladd’s Addition Street Tree Guidelines

Since 2002, Portlanders have been helping to refine the City’s Zoning Code through a process called the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Program. More recently, these efforts have taken form through Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Packages — or RICAPs, for short. Now on its seventh workplan, the program will release a RICAP 7 Discussion Draft report in January 2015.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission approved the RICAP 7 workplan on August 26, 2014. Since then, the Code Development Team has been evaluating a list of 45 regulatory improvement requests from the public. These cover minor clarifications in code language and technical code corrections as well as slight changes to existing policies.

The minor policy changes include more efficient processes for modifying design review approvals, restricting concurrent submittals of pre-application requests with land use applications, clarifying the definition of household living uses in group living situations, evaluating height measurement methodologies, and clarifying the Ladd's Addition District Street Tree Guidelines.

Read a summary of all the requested changes.

How the code amendments are selected
Staff researches the regulatory improvement requests by looking at prior ordinances and code commentary as well as state and federal legal requirements and mandates. The project team also looks at examples from comparable cities, then constructs conceptual code amendments for consideration. These concepts are vetted with planners responsible for implementing the regulations (typically within the Bureau of Development Services) and refined to ensure the amendment will be feasible and effective.

Once the code amendment concepts are developed, additional commentary is added to provide rationale and intent for the proposed change. This commentary helps both the public and others who review the proposed changes to better understand the nature and impact of the change. Commentary in the code also informs later code amendment project research. The code amendments and commentary are then assembled into the Discussion Draft for more widespread review and input.

As with RICAP 6, the public will have roughly two months to review and comment on the proposed changes in RICAP 7. This input will then be incorporated into a formal Proposed Draft, which will be presented at a public hearing to the Planning and Sustainability Commission in April 2015.

So stay tuned for the Discussion Draft release in January and opportunities to provide your feedback. And for more information, visit the project website

City Council Hears Public Testimony on Short-term Rentals in Apartments and Condominiums

Votes to send the Mayor’s recommended Zoning Code amendments to second reading on December 18, 2014

After a three-hour public hearing on November 19 with more than 20 testifiers, Portland City Council voted to send the Mayor’s recommended Zoning Code amendments to allow accessory short-term rentals (ASTR) in apartments and condominiums to second reading. The package includes several amendments, most notably one to increase the cap on the maximum number of ASTRs in multi-dwelling from 10 to 25 percent.

Read the Mayor’s Recommended Draft

View the City Council's amendments in the Amended Mayor's Recommended Draft.

At the second reading on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, City Council will vote on the Mayor’s recommendations with their amendments. Please confirm the time on the Council’s calendar

City Council to Hold Public Hearing on New Short-Term Rental Regulation

Renting out a room in an apartment or condominium would be allowed under new code amendments

Matthew Robinson
Office of Mayor Charlie Hales

Portland, ORE. — On Wednesday, November 19 at 2 p.m., Portlanders will be able to tell City Council what they think about a proposal to allow short-term rentals in apartments and condos. After they hear public testimony, commissioners will vote on whether or not to extend new short-term rental regulations beyond single-family homes.

The recommendations propose to allow accessory short-term rentals in up to ten percent of the total units in multi-dwelling structures such as apartments and condominiums. In buildings with fewer than ten units, one accessory short-term rental would be permitted. The new rules would be similar to those already in effect for single dwellings; basic safety measures must be met and required notice sent to surrounding residents.

For details of the proposal, read the Accessory Short-Term Rentals in Multi-Dwelling Structures — Mayor’s Recommended Draft, October 20, 2014.

Last summer the Portland City Council approved new regulations for accessory short-term rentals in single family houses and duplexes. These regulations, effective on Aug. 29, 2014, created a new permit process that allows residents to rent up to two bedrooms in their home to overnight guests.

While Mayor Charlie Hales lauded this as a step in the right direction to support the sharing economy, he felt it didn’t go far enough and directed his staff to explore options for expanding the program to include multi-dwelling buildings.

Hales’ staff convened a working group, including housing interest groups and City staff to discuss issues related to short-term rentals in multi-dwelling buildings.

On Nov. 19, 2014, at 2 p.m. City Council will hold a public hearing on the recommendations in Accessory Short-Term Rentals in Multi-Dwelling Structures — Mayor’s Recommended Draft.

How to submit testimony on the Mayor’s Recommended Draft

Testify at the City Council hearing  The hearing, on Nov. 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm, will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall (1221 SW Fourth Avenue). Metered and paid parking is available in the vicinity. City Hall is served by many transit lines. Call TriMet at 503-238-7433 or check their web site at for routes and schedules.

Write to City Council  Send written testimony to the Council Clerk at 1221 SW Fourth Ave, Rm 130, Portland, OR 97204, or email Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address.

Copies of the Mayor’s Recommended Draft are available at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 SW 4th Ave, 7th Floor. Or you can request a copy to be mailed to you by calling 503‑823‑7700.

RICAP 7 Workplan of Issues Released

Planning & Sustainability Commission will hold hearing on staff's proposed workplan

BPS staff have released the next workplan for the group of issues to be analyzed under the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Pacakage or RICAP for short. The RICAP 7 workplan is a list of 44 issues that staff will research over the next several months. Simlar to past RICAPs, the subject matter of the items in RICAP 7 is diverse and covers a wide variety of sections in the City's zoning code.  While most items are technical fixes to the code to improve clarity and readability, some items may have a minor effect on exisiting policy. These include issues involving processes for minor changes following design review approval, restricting concurrent pre-application with land use submittals, clarifying the definition of household living uses as related to disabled individuals, evaluating height measurement methodologies, and clarifying the Ladd's Addition District Street Tree Guidelines

The workplan will be reviewed by the Planning and Sustainabilty Commission at their public hearing on August 26 at 6:00PM. 

If the research determines that a code amendment is needed, these amendments will be sent out for public review and hearings during the first half of 2015. 

View the RICAP 7 Workplan

View the RICAP 7 Workplan - Appendix of eligible items

View the RICAP 7 Workplan Hearing Notice