Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

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

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View Less

Design guideline update coming to the South Portland Historic District

Metro grant will fund needed refresh of Portland’s oldest set of design guidelines

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will work with community partners over the next 18 months to update the design guidelines that apply to alterations, additions, and new construction in the South Portland Historic District. The guideline update will be made possible by a Metro 2040 Planning and Development grant, which will support a variety of land use plans and community development projects in 2019-20. The plans will support the growth of complete and inclusive communities throughout the Southwest Corridor. The updated historic district design guidelines will be reviewed at public hearings before the Historic Landmarks Commission and City Council before adoption in early 2020.

Corkish Apartments, an 1890 building in the South Portland Historic District.

Corkish Apartments, an 1890 building in the South Portland Historic District.


What are design guidelines?

Design guidelines provide clarity to property owners, designers, architects, and developers on the expected architectural character of alterations, additions, and new construction in historic districts and design overlay zones. For historic districts, design guidelines are land use approval criteria that must be met for any activity that is subject to City of Portland Historic Resource Review. Although not all historic districts have district-specific design guidelines, Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan provides policy direction for the development of district-specific guidelines tailored to the unique physical attributes of each historic district. A recently-adopted example is the Skidmore-Old Town Historic District Design Guidelines.

The South Portland Historic District

In 1977, the Portland City Council created the Lair Hill Conservation District to “encourage the conservation and maintenance of the historical and architectural integrity of the district.” In 1998, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability expanded the boundaries and elevated the designation type of the conservation district to become the South Portland Historic District. According to the historic district nomination form, South Portland is “locally significant under [National Register of Historic Places] Criterion A as a former gateway for ethnic groups arriving in the city of Portland, representing, in particular, Jewish and Italian immigrants. It also meets [National Register of Historic Places] Criterion C as a neighborhood that exemplifies the characteristics of modest Victorian style architecture.” The 49-acre district includes approximately 175 ‘contributing’ historic buildings.

The Portland City Council adopted design guidelines for the Lair Hill Conservation District in 1980. While the 1980 guidelines are still used as approval criteria, they only apply to the geography of the former (and smaller) conservation district, do not represent modern best practice for City of Portland design guidelines, and lack context and criteria related to the district’s multi-ethnic historic significance. The design guideline update will build upon the 1980 guidelines and 1998 historic district nomination to provide greater historic resource protection and development clarity in the South Portland Historic District prior to possible future construction of light rail through the district.

Cover of the Lair Hill Conservation Dist Guidelines

An excerpt from the conservation district design guidelines. 


Seeking professional services from historic preservation consultants

Historic preservation and urban design consultants are invited to submit bids to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to bring outside professional expertise to the design guideline project. Because of limited staff capacity and the urgency of using grant funds, outside consultant participation will assist in drafting written content and graphic elements for inclusion in the design guideline document. Bids for professional services are due January 17, 2019 through the City of Portland’s vendor portal.

Get involved in a new community workgroup

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will assemble a community work group to assist in the development of the South Portland Historic District design guidelines. Representatives from the Bureau of Development Services, Historic Landmarks Commission, South Portland neighborhood, and other interested parties will inform City staff and professional consultants as decisions are made regarding contextual information and approval criteria to include in the design guidelines. Regardless of your expertise with historic preservation or the South Portland Historic District, if you’re interested in participating in the work group, please send an email to Historic Resources Program Manager Brandon Spencer-Hartle at by February 14, 2019.

Image of 1913 building in S. Portland 

Vance Land Company Warehouse, a 1913 building in the South Portland Historic District.

Draft report for the 82nd Avenue Study: Understanding Barriers to Development ready for public review

Planners look at the potential for new commercial and mixed use development along this major north/south corridor on the east side of Portland

The draft report for the 82nd Avenue Study: Understanding Barriers to Development and its related appendices are now available for public review. The study focuses on the challenges of and exploring opportunities for new development in the corridor alongside potential transportation improvements.

The 82nd Avenue Study looks at the development potential of properties along 82nd Avenue and identifies barriers that can be addressed in the near-term, with an eye toward long-term solutions.

Project goals

This study will:

  • Identify the most strategic locations for public action or investment support for businesses and property development on 82nd Avenue.
  • Generate policy recommendations to address physical and social needs in the corridor, and address barriers to development while managing equity and social issues.
  • Update our understanding of 82nd Avenue as a “Civic Corridor.”

A corridor is defined in Portland's new 2035 Comp Plan as: An area that may be a single major street or a broad mobility corridor, which provides connections for a range of transportation modes (transit, pedestrians, cyclists, freight, motor vehicles, etc.), not necessarily on the same street. A Civic Corridor is a prioritized subset of the city’s most prominent transit and transportation streets. They connect centers, provide regional connections, and include segments where commercial development and housing are focused. Civic Corridors are intended to continue their important transportation functions while providing livable environments for people, and evolving into distinctive places that are models of ecological design.

The 82nd Avenue Study is not intended to be a comprehensive planning effort for the corridor. Rather, it will complement the many other projects focusing on the corridor and build on collaborative efforts. Following this study, City Council could direct staff to generate a more robust “82nd Avenue Plan,” in partnership with community stakeholders.

What’s next?

The next steps for the public and project team include:

  1. Public review period for the Draft Report from January through March 2019.
  2. Planning and Sustainability Commission consideration. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 12, 2019.
  3. City Council for adoption. Public hearings and a vote to be scheduled in April/May 2019.

Review the draft and comment

Community members are invited to review the draft report and appendices.

Submit comments to staff about the draft report by March 12, 2019.

Feedback will be reviewed as staff finalize the 82nd Avenue Study, which will go before City Council in April or May 2019.

PSC News: January 22, 2019 Meeting Recap

Historic Code Update Project — Briefing; Bike Parking Code – Hearing


  • Historic Code Update Project – Briefing
  • Bike Parking Code – Briefing

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at

For background information, see the PSC website at, call 503-823-7700 or email

Meeting playback on Channel 30 are scheduled to start the Friday following the meeting. Starting times may occur earlier for meetings over three hours long, and meetings may be shown at additional times as scheduling requires.

Channel 30 (closed-caption)
Friday at 3 p.m. | Sunday at 7:00 a.m. | Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.


The City of Portland is committed to providing meaningful access and will make reasonable accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or provide other services. When possible, please contact us at least three (3) business days before the meeting at 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868 or Oregon Relay Service 711.

503-823-7700: Traducción o interpretación | Chuyển Ngữ hoặc Phiên Dịch | 翻译或传译 | Turjumida ama Fasiraadda | Письменный или устный перевод | Traducere sau Interpretare | Письмовий або усний переклад | 翻訳または通訳 | ການແປພາສາ ຫຼື ການອະທິບາຍ | الترجمة التحريرية أو الشفهية |

Proposed historic resource code amendments released for public review

Discussion draft of code amendments addresses the inventory, designation and protection of historic resources; public invited to give feedback on proposals by April 1.

Marie and Ernest Thomas HousePortland’s historic buildings and other resources are the subject of a Discussion Draft of potential changes to the zoning code. Historic resources aren’t just old buildings but bridges, cemeteries and landscapes. Within the city limits, there are roughly 10,000 of them that are subject to protections. And that number will grow as more buildings reach the 50-year mark. 

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has released a Discussion Draft of proposed zoning code amendments that would change the City of Portland’s rules for inventorying, designating and protecting historic resources. The proposals are based on feedback staff received during an earlier concept development phase that resulted in 3,442 unique comments from the public.

Read the staff report and proposed zoning code changes, as well as summary documents.

Portlanders are invited to give feedback on the proposals through April 1, 2019. Send comments to

Proposal themes
The Historic Resources Code Project was initiated in late 2017 to improve Portland’s historic preservation programs. The project’s overarching goal is to better align procedures and regulations with the 2035 Comprehensive Plan's guiding policies for historic resources.

The Neighborhood House Historic LandmarkThe draft code amendments propose important changes to the rules and procedures for inventorying significant historic resources, designating new landmarks and districts, and protecting designated historic resources. Code amendments fall into 10 general themes:

1. Expand the Historic Resource Inventory.
2. Establish procedures for adding and removing significant resources from the Historic Resource Inventory.

3. Refine the specifics of the existing two-tier protection system:
   a. Historic Landmarks and Districts.
   b. Conservation Landmarks and Districts.
4. Incorporate historic preservation best practice into the designation process.
5. Lower the owner-consent thresholds for local historic resource designations.

A house in the Woodlawn Conservation DistrictProtection
6. Align protections for future National Register listings with State regulations.
7. Increase the demolition protections that apply to locally-designated historic resources.
8. Refine the design protections that apply to designated historic resources.
9. Increase incentives for reuse and rehabilitation.

10. Revise Historic Landmarks Commission powers and duties.

Learn more and provide feedback
Project staff will offer a series of public events in February and March to share information with community members and answer their questions about the proposals. Portlanders and historic building enthusiasts can learn more and talk with staff at an upcoming open house.  

Historic Resources Code Project Discussion Draft Kickoff Open House
February 19, 2019, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Avenue
TriMet: Lines 6, 15, and Portland Streetcar

See other public events on the Historic Resources Code Project calendar.

To review proposed code language and supplemental summaries of the proposals, please visit the project document library.

Have questions or feedback?
Questions and written feedback can be directed to Brandon Spencer-Hartle, Historic Resources Program Manager, at 503-823-4641 or Please submit feedback by April 1, 2019. It’s helpful to include a bulleted list of specific concepts and/or code citations when submitting written comments.

Next steps
Following the comment period, staff will incorporate feedback into the next draft of the zoning code changes (the Proposed Draft), likely released in summer 2019. The Proposed Draft will go to the Planning and Sustainability Commission for public hearings and amendments before a Recommended Draft goes to City Council. City Council will hold public hearings in late 2019 before adopting code amendments.

Waste Equity Workplan earns leadership award for BPS team

Workplan aims to increase equity and diversity in Portland’s garbage, recycling, and composting collection system.

Equity and diversity are priorities for the City of Portland. At the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), that extends to our longtime role in managing contracts between the City and the companies that provide garbage, recycling and composting collection service. In December, the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) presented BPS with the Agency Leadership Award for BPS’ work to advance equity and diversity in Portland’s waste collection system. 

(l-r) Andre Bealer, Program Manager, NAMC-Oregon; Bruce Walker, BPS; Nate McCoy, Executive Director, NAMC-Oregon; Arianne Sperry, BPS

“NAMC Oregon’s mission and mandate is Building Bridges – Crossing Barriers. We accomplish this by working with value-driven organizations who focus on minority business concerns and show a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI),” said Nate McCoy, NAMC executive director. “BPS was honored for the Agency Leadership Award because of their Equity Guiding Principles, leadership on stakeholder engagement and new policy and programming efforts underway. These policy and programs are vital tools to address the need to increase participation of workforce diversity and minority-owned business inclusion, more importantly, the need to create a conduit for diverse firms to have access to substantial and consistent opportunities to create generational wealth and legacies in their communities.”

BPS recently developed a Waste Equity Workplan to record the commitments that grew out of a recent residential garbage and recycling franchise review stakeholder process. The franchise review looked at ways to increase franchisee workforce diversity and reduce barriers to economic opportunities for minority-owned and woman-owned companies. 

During the year-long conversation, the scope expanded as participants realized that the collection system governed by the franchise agreement represents just 20 percent of the waste generated by Portland residents and businesses and to make real change, action needs to occur across all sectors of the waste system. 

The Waste Equity Workplan identifies the growing multifamily sector as a high priority for increasing access and opportunity for minority-owned and woman-owned companies.  In 2019 BPS will launch a process to engage stakeholders in considering options and selecting a path forward. 

The City’s own waste collection contracts represent another important opportunity, especially as BPS is poised to expand public trash collection across Portland.  The Waste Equity Workplan directs BPS to make changes to the procurement approach for waste collection from public trash cans and City offices and facilities to increase access for minority-owned and woman-owned companies. 

In December, BPS took a big step in that direction when City Council authorized an exemption from procurement rules for waste collection from public trash cans and City offices and facilities.  The exemption allows the City to direct procurements for public waste collection into a new Waste Collection Access and Opportunity Program that will be available to underrepresented contractors. 

BPS will use this new process during the procurement for waste collection from the new public trash cans that will be installed in East Portland this coming spring.  Over the next few months BPS will also convene a Waste Equity Advisory Group to provide feedback during implementation of the Waste Equity Workplan and to evaluate progress annually.

Questions?  Email or call 503-823-7202.