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ENB-11.56 - Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines

SKIDMORE/OLD TOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT DESIGN GUIDELINES

Binding City Policy

BCP-ENB-11.56


Link to Exhibit A - Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines  (PDF Document, 43 MB)

PURPOSE

Section 1. The Council finds:

General Findings

1.  The Skidmore/Old Town Historic District was designated by the City of Portland and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the United States Secretary of the Interior in 1977. In 2008, an updated National Historic Landmark nomination form, prepared by the City of Portland, was approved by the National Park Service.

2.  Design guidelines for development proposals in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District were adopted in 1987. These guidelines are out-of-date, lack adequate examples and images and do not follow the current preferred format for design guidelines in the City of Portland.

3.  In November 2007, with funding provided by the Portland Development Commission, the Bureau of Planning (now known as the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability) initiated the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Code and Design Guidelines Project (SOTP) process to improve development feasibility of both new construction and of historic renovations within the district and strengthen its historic character by ensuring compatible design of new construction and historic rehabilitation projects.

4.  The Bureau of Planning developed the SOTP with participation from a Community Working Group (CWG) composed of representatives from neighborhood and business associations, property owners, developers, architects and other key stakeholders. The group served as an advisory body to help guide approaches to planning issues and provide feedback on staff and consultant proposals. 

5.  Technical advice was provided by representatives of state and city agencies that were consulted during the planning process to provide input on transportation and historic preservation issues.

6.  In May 2008, the Skidmore/Old Town Proposed Amendments to Title 33: Planning and Zoning and the Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2008 version) were published. They contained (1) Zoning Code Amendments and, (2) A new set of Skidmore/Old Town District Design Guidelines intended to replace the 1987 district design guidelines.

7.  The Portland Planning Commission was briefed on the SOTP on December 11, 2007 and February 12, 2008. On June 24, 2008, the Portland Planning Commission and Portland Historic Landmarks Commission held a joint public hearing on the SOTP. On August 12, 2008, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended that City Council adopt the revised Skidmore/Old Town Zoning Code Amendments.

8.  The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission was briefed on the SOTP on November 11, 2007; January 28, 2008; February 11, 2008 and March 10, 2008. On June 24, 2008, the Portland Planning Commission and Portland Historic Landmarks Commission held a joint public hearing on the SOTP. At the hearing, the Landmarks Commission accepted public testimony on the proposed design guidelines and discussed the issues with the Planning Commission. Following the joint public hearing, the Landmarks Commission met on June 30, 2008; July 28, 2008; August 11, 2008; August 18, 2008; September 8, 2008; September 22, 2008 and October 13, 2008 to discuss and revise the proposed design guidelines. On October 27, 2008 the Landmarks Commission held an additional public hearing on the revised design guidelines. At the hearing, the Landmarks Commission accepted public testimony, made minor revisions, and unanimously recommended the City Council adopt the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines, as amended (2008 version).

9.  The Portland City Council held a public hearing on the recommended Skidmore/Old Town Zoning Code Amendments and Skidmore/Old Town Design Guidelines (2008 version) on November 12, 2008. City Council heard public testimony generally in favor of the design guidelines, with some requests for revisions. Testimony on the Zoning Code amendments was more divided, with significant opposition to the proposal to increase maximum building height limits in parts of the historic district. Due to the controversy around the proposed height increases, City Council did not take action on the code amendments and revised design guidelines.

10.  The City of Portland is currently updating the 1988 Central City Plan through the Central City 2035 Plan project. As a part of this multi-year effort, the City Council adopted the West Quadrant Plan by Resolution No. 37115 on March 5, 2015. The adopted West Quadrant Plan calls for the review, revision and adoption of the updated Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Guidelines prepared in 2008.

11.  Throughout the Central City 2035 planning process, the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, the Old Town/Chinatown Community Association and other interested community organizations and stakeholders identified the adoption of the updated Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Guidelines as a community priority.

12.  In late 2015, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability re-initiated the legislative process to adopt the revised design guidelines for the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District. The proposed Zoning Code amendments that were a part of the 2008 Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Code and Design Guidelines Project (SOTP) are not included in this project.

13.  Notice of Proposed Amendment and copies of the draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version) were mailed to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development on December 17, 2015, in compliance with the post-acknowledgement review process required by OAR 660-018-0020 and ORS 197.610.

14.  On December 21, 2015, notice of the January 25, 2016 Portland Historic Landmarks Commission public hearing on the Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version) was mailed to all property owners within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, as required by ORS 227.186 and PCC 33.740. In addition, notice was mailed to the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Code and Design Guidelines Project mailing list and to all neighborhood associations, neighborhood coalitions, and business associations in the city of Portland, as well as other interested persons and agencies.

15.  On October 3, 2015 and December 2015, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) briefed the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission on the 2008 draft of the design guidelines and presented testimony received by the City Council in 2008 requesting revisions to the draft guidelines. At these meetings, the Historic Landmarks Commission discussed the 2008 draft guidelines and provided input to BPS staff on potential revisions.

16.  On December 18, 2015, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability published the Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version). The Proposed Draft guidelines contained generally minor changes from the 2008 draft, informed by feedback from the Historic Landmarks Commission and testimony received at the November 12, 2008 City Council hearing.

17.  On January 25, 2016 the Historic Landmarks Commission held a public hearing on the Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Design Guidelines. The commission took public testimony, discussed the draft guidelines and proposed additional revisions. On February 8, 2016, the Historic Landmarks Commission held another public hearing and unanimously recommended that City Council adopt the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Guidelines, as amended. The Historic Landmarks Commission recommended Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Guidelines are attached as Exhibit A.

18.  The Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines implement or are consistent with the Statewide Planning Goals, the Metro Urban Growth Management Functional Plan, the Portland Comprehensive Plan and the Central City Plan as explained in this ordinance. 

19.  It is in the public interest that the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines be adopted to guide the character of new development and historic rehabilitations to improve the area’s vitality and strengthen the historic character of the district as a defining and historically significant area in Portland. 

Statewide Planning Goals Findings

State planning statutes require cities to adopt and amend comprehensive plans and land use regulations in compliance with state land use goals.  Only the state goals addressed below apply. 

20.  Goal 1, Citizen Involvement, requires provision of opportunities for citizens to be involved in all phases of the planning process. The preparation of revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines has provided numerous opportunities for public involvement. The amendments support this goal in the following ways:

a)  On December 6, 2007, the first of 4 meetings of the Community Working Group (CWG) met to guide the development of the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Code and Design Guidelines Project (SOTP).  The 16-member CWG included stakeholders from the development community, neighborhood and business associations, and other community stakeholders involved in urban design, architecture, historic preservation and community development.  The CWG provided input and advice that significantly shaped the staff recommended version of the SOTP, which was reviewed and supported by the CWG at their last meeting held May 6, 2008.

b)  In addition to regular CWG meetings, a SOTP Open House was held on April 17, 2008.  CWG members and other interested stakeholders attended this event at which staff responded to questions and took public input. The event was attended by approximately 45 people.

c)  During the development of the SOTP, a mailing list was produced for the project that included all people on the City of Portland’s legislative mailing list, people on mailing lists for previous projects in the SOTP project area, and people requesting to be on the new list for the SOTP. The mailing list contained approximately 628 people.

d)  During the development of the SOTP, the Bureau of Planning maintained a website that tracked the development of the SOTP.  The site was a source of information announcing CWG meetings, open house events, and briefings, work sessions, and hearings with the Portland Historic Landmarks, Design, and Planning Commissions.  The web site also was used to post CWG meeting agendas, meeting minutes, project reports and other background documents. In 2015 the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability created and maintained a new project website for the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version) that provided draft documents, proposed revisions and meeting announcements.

e)  During the development of the SOTP, the Bureau of Planning maintained an email mailing list that was used to send out regular updates of CWG meetings, open house events, and briefings, work sessions, and hearings with the Portland Historic Landmarks, Design, and Planning Commissions.  Interested parties were added to the mailing list by request while the SOTP was developed and when the SOTP was being reviewed by the Planning and Historic Landmarks Commissions. An updated mailing list was used to notify interested parties of the January 25, 2016 Landmarks Commission hearing to consider the revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines.

f)  During the development of the SOTP, one briefing with the Portland Design Commission was held to provide background information and take input on the development of the SOTP, including the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines.  Notice of this briefing was posted by the Bureau of Planning on the project web page.

g)  During the development of the SOTP, four briefings with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission were held to provide background information and take input on the development of the SOTP, including the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines. Notices of these briefings were posted by the Bureau of Planning on the project web page. Additional briefings and work sessions were held with the Historic Landmarks Commission on October 3, 2015 and December 7, 2015 on the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version).

h)  During the development of the SOTP, two briefings with the Portland Planning Commission were held to provide background information on and take input on the development of the SOTP.  Notices of these briefings were posted by the Bureau of Planning on the project web page.

i)  Throughout the development of the SOTP, staff periodically attended meetings of the Old Town/Chinatown Visions Committee. At several of these meetings staff provided status updates on the development of the SOTP and took stakeholder input. Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff attended the Land Use and Design Review Committee of the Old/Town/Chinatown Community Association on July 21, 2015 and January 19, 2016 to discuss the renewed project to adopt the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines and take public input.

j)  Notice of Proposed Amendment and copies of the draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version) were mailed to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development on December 17, 2015 announcing the first evidentiary hearing on the revised guidelines. The hearing was with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission held January 25, 2016.

k)  On May 22, 2008, a public notice was sent to approximately 604 people announcing the first evidentiary hearing of the SOTP, a joint public hearing with the Portland Planning Commission and Portland Historic Landmarks Commission that was held on June 24, 2008. On October 10, 2008, a public notice was mailed to all project interested parties announcing an additional public hearing with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission on the revised Design Guidelines that was held on October 27, 2008. On December 21, 2015, notice of the January 25, 2016 Portland Historic Landmarks Commission public hearing on the Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version) was mailed to approximately 728 people, including all property owners within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Code and Design Guidelines Project mailing list, and all neighborhood associations, neighborhood coalitions, and business associations in the city of Portland, as well as other interested persons and agencies.

l)  On May 23, 2008, the staff Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic Design Guidelines were published for public review. On December 18, 2015, the Bureau of Planning published the Proposed Draft Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines (2015 version). The 2015 proposed draft guidelines contained generally minor changes from the 2008 draft, informed by testimony received at the November 12, 2008 City Council hearing and recent input from the Historic Landmarks Commission.

21.  Goal 2, Land Use Planning, requires the development of a process and policy framework which acts as a basis for all land use decisions and assures that decisions and actions are based on an understanding of the facts relevant to the decision. The amendments are supportive of this goal because: 

a)  The Zoning Code contains procedures that were followed and criteria that have been satisfied for the development of the revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines. The amendments are supportive of this goal because the required legislative process as described in Portland City Code 33.740, Legislative Procedures was followed.

b)  The amendments are also supportive of this goal because documents identifying existing conditions, community issues and desires, and documents analyzing economic and transportation issues affecting the historic district were prepared to assist in the creation of alternatives for the SOTP.  These documents were available for public review throughout the planning process and include:

  Ankeny-Burnside Development Framework Report;

  Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Preservation and Development Plan;

   Skidmore Old Town Implementation Project: Issue Paper #1 Height and FAR in the District;

   Skidmore Old Town Implementation Project: Issue Paper #2 Reuse of Cast Iron;

   Skidmore Old Town Implementation Project: Issue Paper #3 Parking;

   Skidmore Old Town Implementation Project: Issue Paper #4 Guidelines in the District: New Construction, Additions, and Neighborhood Character; and

   Draft Public Involvement Plan.

c) Portland Comprehensive Plan findings on Goal 1, Metropolitan Coordination, and its related policies and objectives also support this goal.

22.  Goal 5, Open Space, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Natural Resources, requires the conservation of open space and the protection of natural, historic and scenic resources.  The amendments support this goal because the updated, expanded and refined Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines provide clearer, district-specific design guidance and describe best practices for property owners, designers and developers proposing changes to historic structures and new construction in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, a designated National Historic Landmark. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character, preserves its integrity and contribute to its unique sense of place. The findings for Goal 8, Recreational Needs also demonstrate support for this goal.

23.  Goal 8, Recreational Needs, requires satisfaction of the recreational needs of both citizens and visitors to the state. The amendments are consistent with this goal because the guidelines support the preservation and respectful treatment of existing open spaces found within the District, including historic Skidmore Fountain Plaza and Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which are integral to the district’s character.

24.  Goal 9, Economic Development, requires provision of adequate opportunities for a variety of economic activities vital to public health, welfare, and prosperity. The Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by promoting contextually appropriate development and the long-term preservation of the district’s historic character, thereby supporting the role the district plays in attracting visitors to the city and boosting its heritage tourism economy.

25.  Goal 11, Public Facilities and Services, requires planning and development of timely, orderly and efficient public service facilities that serve as a framework for urban and rural development. The updated district design guidelines support this goal by providing clearer guidance for improving pedestrian facilities and the design of the public realm in the district.

Goal 12, Transportation, requires provision of a safe, convenient, and economic transportation system. Additionally, the Oregon Transportation Planning Rule (TPR), which was adopted in 1991 and amended in 1996 and 2005 to implement State Goal 12, requires certain findings if a proposed Comprehensive Plan Map amendment, zone change, or regulation will significantly affect an existing or planned transportation facility. The updated guidelines do not increase or decrease development entitlements within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District and therefore do not significantly affect a transportation facility.

26.  Goal 13, Energy Conservation, requires development of a land use pattern that maximizes the conservation of energy based on sound economic principles. The revised guidelines support this goal by encouraging rehabilitation, restoration and adaptive re-use of existing historic structures in the district, which are sustainable and efficient types of development. Reuse of existing buildings preserves the embodied energy within the structure and reduces resource-intensive new construction.

27.  Goal 14, Urbanization, requires provision of an orderly and efficient transition from rural to urban land use, to accommodate urban population and urban employment inside urban growth boundaries, to ensure efficient use of land, and to provide for livable communities. The goal provides that expansion of urban growth boundaries should only be done to accommodate the growth necessary to supply land for housing, employment, schools, and other public amenities and land uses necessary to support urban areas. The revised guidelines support this goal because they encourage redevelopment within the highly urbanized Skidmore/Old Town Historic District and encourage development patterns that make full and efficient use of development sites.

28.  Goals 15, Willamette River Greenway, requires that plans protect, conserve, enhance and maintain the natural, scenic, historical, agricultural, economic and recreational qualities of lands along the Willamette River as the Willamette River Greenway. The revised guidelines support this goal by promoting contextually sensitive redevelopment on surface parking lots and rehabilitation of vacant buildings near the Willamette River and calling for reestablishing the sense of the historic district within Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Findings on Metro Urban Growth Management Functional Plan

29.  Metro’s Urban Growth Management Functional Plan has been developed by Metro, the Portland metropolitan regional government, to assist local jurisdictions to implement Statewide Planning Goals and the regional development vision. Only the applicable elements of the functional plan are addressed below.

30.  Title 1, Requirements for Housing and Employment Accommodation, requires that each jurisdiction contribute its fair share to increasing the development capacity of land within the Urban Growth Boundary.  This requirement is to be generally implemented through citywide analysis based on calculated capacities from land use designations. The revised guidelines do not change the overall amount of development allowed within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District and are therefore consistent with this title.

31.  Title 6, Central City, Regional Centers, Town Centers and Station Communities, calls for enhancements of these areas as principal centers of urban life via actions and investments by cities and counties, complemented by regional investments. The revised guidelines support this title by providing clearer design guidance for property owners, designers and developers as they consider improvements to existing structures and new construction in an important historic district within the Central City, the primary center of Metro’s Region 2040 Plan.

Findings on Portland's Comprehensive Plan Goals

32.  The City of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan is the policy document that establishes the basis for the city’s land use planning that informs such implementing documents as the Zoning Code (Title 33). The following Comprehensive Plan goals, policies and objectives are relevant and applicable to the amendments.

33.  Goal 1, Metropolitan Coordination, calls for the Comprehensive Plan to be coordinated with federal and state law and to support regional goals, objectives, and plans. The SOTP process included participation of representatives from city and state agencies, ensuring consistency with applicable local and state plans and policies. The amendments also support this goal because notification of the proposal was provided to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development per ORS 197.610 on November 17, 2015 and notice of the January 25, 2016 Historic Landmarks Commission hearing on the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines was sent to Metro, TriMet, and the Oregon Department of Transportation and other agencies on December 21, 2015. In addition, the amendment does not change the Urban Growth Boundary, Urban Planning Area Boundary, or Urban Services Boundary or the policy or intent of existing regulations relating to metropolitan coordination and regional goals.

34.  Policy 1.4, Intergovernmental Coordination, calls for continuous participation in intergovernmental affairs with public agencies to coordinate metropolitan planning and project development and maximize the efficient use of public funds. The amendments support this policy because the SOTP process identified and included several local agencies and commissions as well as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  Individuals from each of these agencies participated in the local planning process and reviewed and commented on different aspects of the proposals.

35.  Goal 2, Urban Development, calls for maintenance of Portland's role as the major regional employment and population center by expanding opportunities for housing and jobs, while retaining the character of established residential neighborhoods and business centers. The amendments support this goal because the revised design guidelines will help preserve and enhance the historic character of the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, a long-established and unique commercial district within the downtown core.

36.  Policy 2.2, Urban Diversity, calls for promotion of a range of living environments and employment opportunities for Portland residents in order to attract and retain a stable and diverse population.  The revised guidelines support this policy by providing clearer, district-specific design guidance for development and redevelopment projects in a unique part of the Central City thus helping to preserve and enhance the historic district’s special urban character.

37.  Policy 2.6. Open Space, calls for the provision of opportunities for recreation and visual relief by preserving Portland's parks, golf courses, trails, parkways and cemeteries. The amendments are consistent with this policy because the guidelines support the preservation and respectful treatment of existing open spaces found within the District, including historic Skidmore Fountain Plaza and Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which are integral to the district’s character. The amendments also call for reestablishing the sense of the historic district within Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

38.  Policy 2.7, Willamette River Greenway Plan, calls for the implementation of the Willamette River Greenway Plan that preserves a strong working river while promoting recreation, commercial and residential waterfront development along the Willamette south of the Broadway Bridge. The revised guidelines support this policy by promoting the redevelopment of surface parking lots and rehabilitation of vacant buildings near the Willamette River and calling for reestablishing the sense of the historic district within Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

39.  Policy 2.10, Downtown Portland, calls for the reinforcement of downtown’s position as the principal commercial, service, cultural and high density housing center in the city and the region.  The revised guidelines support this policy by encouraging the preservation and rehabilitation of historic structures as well as historically appropriate new development within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic district, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most culturally and historically significant places in the downtown and the City of Portland.

40.  Policy 2.19, Infill and Redevelopment, calls for encouraging infill and redevelopment as a way to implement the Livable City growth principles and accommodate expected increases in population and employment. This policy also calls for infill and redevelopment within the Central City. The revised guidelines support this policy by providing clearer design guidance for rehabilitation and new development projects and encouraging contextually appropriate development and redevelopment within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.

41.  Policy 2.20, Utilization of Vacant Land, calls for providing for full utilization of existing vacant land except in those areas designated as Open Space. The revised guidelines support this policy by encouraging contextually sensitive development on surface parking and vacant lots in the downtown core and encouraging infill projects that are built to the lot lines and fully utilize development parcels.

42.  Policy 2.22, Mixed-use, calls for continuation of a mechanism that will allow for the maintenance and enhancement of areas of mixed-use character where such areas act as buffers and where opportunities exist for the creation of mixed-use nodes. The revised guidelines are consistent with this policy by providing clearer design guidance for rehabilitation and new development projects and encouraging contextually appropriate development and redevelopment within a historic mixed-use commercial and residential district in the Central City.

43.  Policy 2.25, Central City Plan, calls for continued investment within Portland’s Central City while enhancing its attractiveness for work, recreation and living.  This policy further calls for implementation of the Central City Plan through coordinated development that provides aid and protection to Portland’s citizens, and enhances the Central City’s special natural, cultural and aesthetic features. The revised guidelines support this policy because they provide clearer design guidance for property owners, designers and developers proposing changes to historic structures and new construction in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character and contribute to its unique sense of place. They encourage contextually sensitive development and reinvestment that will improve the area’s vitality. The findings for the Central City Plan also demonstrate support for this policy. 

44.  Goal 3, Neighborhoods, calls for preservation and reinforcement of the stability and diversity of the city's neighborhoods while allowing for increased density. The revised Skidmore Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal as they promote historically sensitive infill development and rehabilitation projects in an area currently dominated by surface parking lots. They will help ensure that development projects respect the district’s historic character and contribute to its unique sense of place.

45.  Policy 3.4, Historic Preservation, calls for the preservation and retention of historic structures and areas throughout the city. The amendments support this goal because the updated, expanded and refined Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines provide clearer design guidance for property owners, designers and developers proposing changes to historic structures and new construction in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character.

46.  Policy 3.5, Neighborhood Involvement, provides for the active involvement of neighborhood residents and businesses in decisions affecting their neighborhood. An extensive public involvement process was used in the development of the revised guidelines which engaged a wide variety of stakeholders, consistent with this policy. The findings for Statewide Planning Goal 1, Public Involvement and the general findings also demonstrate support for this policy.

47.  Policy 3.6, Neighborhood Plan, calls for maintaining and enforcing neighborhood plans that are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and that have been adopted by City Council. The findings for the Comprehensive Plan and the Central City Plan demonstrate support for this policy.

48.  Goal 4, Housing, calls for enhancing Portland’s vitality as a community at the center of the region’s housing market by providing housing of different types, tenures, density, sizes, costs, and locations that accommodates the needs, preferences, and financial capabilities of current and future households. The revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal because they encourage contextually sensitive new development and rehabilitations in a distinctive Central City location, including housing. 

49.  Objective C, calls for considering the cumulative impact of regulations on the ability of housing developers to meet current and future housing demand. The amendments support this objective because they provide clearer design guidance for developers and development proposals, including housing projects, which must be approved through the discretionary historic resource review process in the district.

50.  Objective E, calls for the efficient use of infrastructure by focusing well-designed new and redeveloped housing on vacant, infill, or under-developed land.  The revised design guidelines support this objective by encouraging contextually sensitive rehabilitations and new infill development, which can include housing, within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District of Downtown Portland. 

51.  Goal 5, Economic Development, calls for promotion of a strong and diverse economy that provides a full range of employment and economic choices for individuals and families in all parts of the city. The updated Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal because they encourage compatible development and investment within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District that can provide new commercial opportunities and also strengthen the district’s historic character and tourism appeal. By promoting contextually appropriate development and the long-term preservation of the district’s historic character, the guidelines support the role the district plays in attracting visitors to the city and boosting its heritage tourism economy.

52.  Policy 5.1, Urban Development and Revitalization, calls for encouraging investment in the development, redevelopment, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of urban land and buildings for employment and housing opportunities. The revised guidelines support this policy by providing clearer design guidance for property owners, designers and developers proposing rehabilitation and new development projects in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, an urbanized area with many under-utilized buildings and surface parking lots.

53.  Objective E calls for defining and developing Portland’s cultural, historic, recreational, educational and environmental assets as important marketing and image-building tools of the city’s business districts and neighborhoods. The revised design guidelines support this objective because they will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character and sense of place thereby enhancing it as a unique historic and cultural asset for the city.

54.  Policy 5.6, Area Character, calls for promotion and enhancement of special character and identity of Portland’s designated commercial areas. The revised guidelines support this policy because they will strengthen the historic character and vibrancy of the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.

55.  Goal 6, Transportation, calls for developing a balanced, equitable, and efficient transportation system that provides a range of transportation choices; reinforces the livability of neighborhoods; supports a strong and diverse economy; reduces air, noise, and water pollution; and lessens reliance on the automobile while maintaining accessibility. The amendments make no changes to development entitlements or the transportation system. These amendments do encourage contextually sensitive development in an area with excellent access to existing transit service and pedestrian and bicycle facilities and are therefore consistent with this goal and related policies.

56.  Goal 7, Energy, calls for promotion of a sustainable energy future by increasing energy efficiency in all sectors of the city. The revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by encouraging rehabilitation, restoration and adaptive re-use of existing historic structures in the district, which are highly sustainable and efficient types of development. Reuse of existing buildings preserves the embodied energy within the structure and reduces resource-intensive new construction

57.  Goal 8, Environment, calls for the maintenance and improvement of the quality of Portland's air, water and land resources. The revised guidelines support this goal by encouraging rehabilitation, restoration and adaptive re-use of existing historic structures in the district. Reuse of existing buildings preserves the embodied energy within the structure and reduces resource-intensive new construction.

58.  Goal 9, Citizen Involvement, calls for improved methods and ongoing opportunities for citizen involvement in the land use decision-making process. The preparation of the revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines was called for by the Ankeny/Burnside Development Framework. The framework was a joint Portland Development Commission and Bureau of Planning project that provided extensive public outreach efforts between the fall of 2005 and late 2006. These outreach efforts included numerous open houses, design charrettes, advisory committee meetings and commission briefings. Additional public involvement and outreach activities during the preparation of the revised guidelines are summarized in the findings for Statewide Planning Goal 1, Citizen Involvement and also demonstrate support for this goal.

59.  Policy 9.1, Citizen Involvement Coordination, calls for encouraging citizen involvement in land use planning projects through coordination with community organizations, availability of planning reports and notice of public hearings. The amendments support this policy because the revised guidelines were developed with feedback and input from representatives of local neighborhood associations and business associations. Other community organizations were informed of the process and welcomed to participate. The findings for Statewide Planning Goal 1, Citizen Involvement and the general findings also demonstrate support for this policy.

60.  Goal 10, Plan Review and Administration, calls for periodic review of the Comprehensive Plan, for implementation of the Plan, and addresses amendments to the Plan, to the Plan Map, and to the Zoning Code and Zoning Map. The amendments support this goal because they resulted from a review of the existing regulatory framework in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District and replace the out-of-date design guidelines adopted in 1987.

61.  Policy 10.10, Amendments to the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, requires amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations to be clear, concise, and applicable to the broad range of development situations faced by a growing, urban city. The amendments make no changes to the Zoning Code but support this policy by completely updating the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines and reformatting them to make them easier for applicants and administrators to use as historic resource review approval criteria.

62.  Policy 10.13, Design Review, calls for development of recommendations for City Council consideration for additional areas where design review would be appropriate and preparation of design review standards for both existing and proposed areas. The amendments do not expand design review or create new standards but they support this policy because they provide updated approval criteria for historic resource review in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.

63.  Public Facilities General Goal 11-A, calls for provision of a timely, orderly, and efficient arrangement of public facilities and services that support existing and planned land use patterns and densities. The Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal because they encourage context-sensitive rehabilitations and new development in an area of central Portland with excellent access to public facilities and services.

64.  Goal 12, Urban Design, calls for the enhancement of Portland as a livable city, attractive in its setting and dynamic in its urban character by preserving its history and building a substantial legacy of quality, private developments and public improvements for future generations. The Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal because they provide improved approval criteria for historic resource reviews, promote excellence in building design and construction materials, and protect the integrity and historic character of the historic district.

65.  Policy 12.1, Portland’s Character, calls for enhancing and extending Portland’s attractive identity by building on design elements, features, and themes identified within the city.  The revised guidelines support this policy because they promote reinvestment and revitalization in Portland’s oldest historic district and because they completely update and improve the district’s design guidelines to better guide how development and restoration projects in the district can best strengthen district character.

66.  Policy 12.2, Enhancing Variety, calls for promoting the development of areas of special identity and urban character.  The revised guidelines supports this policy because they help to ensure that rehabilitation projects and new development preserve the district’s unique historic character and enhance its distinctive urban form and identity.

67.  Policy 12.3, Historic Preservation, calls for enhancing the city’s identity through the protection of Portland’s significant historic resources. The amendments support this policy because the updated, expanded and refined Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines provide clearer, district-specific design guidance and describe best practices for property owners, designers and developers proposing changes to historic structures and new construction in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, a designated National Historic Landmark. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character, preserve its integrity and contribute to its unique sense of place.

68.  Policy 12.4, Provide for Pedestrians, calls for providing a pleasant, rich, and diverse experience for pedestrians which includes comfortable, safe, and attractive pathways.  The guidelines supports this policy because they encourages preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects that reinforce the pedestrian scale and massing in the district and that provide a rich and varied public realm.

69.  Policy 12.6, Preserve Neighborhoods, calls for preserving and supporting the qualities of individual neighborhoods that help to make them attractive places. The revised guidelines support this policy by providing district-specific design guidance that will help ensure that rehabilitation projects and new development preserve the district’s unique historic character and enhance its distinctive qualities.

70.  Policy 12.7, Design Quality, calls for enhancing Portland’s appearance and character through development of public and private projects that are models of innovation and leadership in the design of the built environment. The amendments support this policy by updating and enhancing the district’s historic resource review approval criteria, which are applicable to public and private rehabilitation and new construction projects. The revised guidelines will promote context-sensitive development projects and excellence in building design and construction materials.

Findings on Central City Plan

71.  The Central City Plan was adopted in 1988 as an area-specific update of the Comprehensive Plan for Portland's central city neighborhoods. The Central City Plan built upon the work of the Downtown Plan, extending its geographic area and expanding its range of policy concerns. The plan provides guidance for the growth and enhancement of Portland's Central City. In 1995, the plan was amended with the incorporation of the River District Plan policies. The following policies are relevant and applicable to the amendments.

72.  Policy 1, Economic Development, calls for the City to build upon the Central City as the economic heart of the Columbia Basin, and guide its growth to further the City’s prosperity and livability. The updated Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this policy because they encourage compatible development and investment within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District that can provide new commercial opportunities and also strengthen the district’s historic character and tourism appeal. By promoting contextually appropriate development and the long-term preservation of the district’s historic character, the guidelines support the role the district plays in attracting visitors to the city and boosting its heritage tourism economy.

73.  Policy 2, Willamette Riverfront, calls for the enhancement of the Willamette River as the focal point for views, public activities, and development which knits the city together.  The revised guidelines support this policy by promoting the redevelopment of surface parking lots and rehabilitation of vacant buildings near the Willamette River and calling for reestablishing the sense of the historic district within Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

74.  Policy 3, Housing, calls for the maintenance of the Central City’s status as Oregon’s principle high density housing area by keeping housing production in pace with new job creation. The revised Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this policy because they encourage contextually sensitive new development and rehabilitations in a distinctive Central City location, including housing.

75.  Policy 4, Transportation, calls for improvements to the Central City’s accessibility to the rest of the region and its ability to accommodate growth, by extending the light rail system and by maintaining and improving other forms of transit and the street and highway system, while preserving and enhancing the City’s livability. The amendments make no changes to the transportation system. These amendments do encourage contextually sensitive development in an area with excellent access to existing transit service and pedestrian and bicycle facilities and are therefore consistent with this policy.

76.  Policy 6, Public Safety, calls for protection of citizens and their property, and the creation of an environment in which people feel safe. The revised guidelines are consistent with this policy because they will facilitate contextually sensitive new development and investment in a district that currently often lacks on-street activity. The influx of new people attracted by compatible new development projects will enhance the perceived safety of the district.

77.  Policy 11, Historic Preservation, calls for the preservation and enhancement of historically and architecturally important buildings and places and promotes the creation of our own legacy for the future. The amendments support this policy because the updated, expanded and refined Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines provide clearer, district-specific design guidance and describe best practices for property owners, designers and developers proposing changes to historic structures and new construction in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, a designated National Historic Landmark. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character, preserve its integrity and contribute to its unique sense of place.

78.  Policy 12, Urban Design, calls for the enhancement of the Central City as a livable, walkable area which focuses on the river and captures the glitter and excitement of city living. Objectives of this goal include the formation of districts and the stepping down of densities towards the Willamette River. The Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy because they provide improved approval criteria for historic resource reviews, promote excellence in building design and construction materials, and protect the integrity and historic character of the historic district.

79.  Policy 14, Downtown, calls for strengthening the Downtown as the heart of the region, maintaining its role as the preeminent business location in the region, expanding its role in retailing, housing, and tourism, and reinforcing its cultural, educational, entertainment, governmental and ceremonial activities. The revised guidelines support this policy because they will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the historic character and contribute to the unique sense of place of the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, a defining feature of the Downtown and popular tourist attraction. They encourage contextually sensitive development and reinvestment that will improve the area’s vitality and encourage tourism.

80.  Policy 17, River District, calls for extending downtown development throughout the River District that is highly urban in character and which creates a unique community because of its diversity; its existing and emerging neighborhoods housing a substantial resident population, providing jobs, services and recreation; and most important, its embrace of the Willamette River.  The revised guidelines support this policy by promoting the contextually sensitive redevelopment of surface parking lots and compatible rehabilitation of vacant buildings near the Willamette River and calling for reestablishing the sense of the historic district within Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District in the southeast corner of the River District Plan area.

Findings on the Downtown Plan

81.  Planning District 5, Old Town/Skidmore Fountain, calls for retention of historic fabric and the creation of a vibrant pedestrian-friendly district in the area now known as the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District. The district policy supports new developments which are compatible with the old in scale and texture. The updated, expanded and refined guidelines support this policy by providing clearer, district-specific design guidance for property owners, designers and developers proposing changes to historic structures and new construction in the district. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation and new development projects respect the district’s historic character and contribute to its unique sense of place.


POLICY

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:

a.   Adopt the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines, attached as Exhibit A, as approval criteria for historic resource reviews within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District;

b.   Adopt the background statements included in Exhibit A as legislative intent and further findings; and

c.   This Ordinance and Exhibit A are binding City policy.

Link to Exhibit A - Skidmore/Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines  (PDF Document, 43 MB)


HISTORY

Ordinance No. 187738, passed by City Council May 11, 2016 and effective June 10, 2016.