Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Design Review

Design ReviewsDesign Review is used to ensure the conservation, enhancement, and continued vitality of the identified scenic, architectural, and cultural values of each design district or area and to promote quality development near transit facilities.

Design Review is required for certain development proposals for development located within the Design Overlay Zone. The Design Overlay Zone is shown on the Official Zoning Maps with a letter ’d’ map symbol. For some proposals, the applicant may choose to meet the objective standards of Chapter 33.218, Community Design Standards instead of going through the Design Review process set out in Chapter 33.825, Design Review.

As part of the Design Review application, a Modification or Adjustment may be required if the proposal does not meet certain development standards.

  • Design Modifications may be requested as part of the design review for standards that are not met.
  • Adjustments may be requested concurrent with the design review for use-related standards that are not met (such as floor area rations, intensity of use, size of the use, number of uses, or concentration of uses).


Design Reviews are processed through a Type Ix, Type II, or Type III procedure. For review thresholds, see Portland Zoning Code Section 33.825.025. A Pre-application conference is required prior to submittal of all Type III reviews. A Design Advice Request is an optional request for feedback from the Design Commission prior to submittal of a Type III design review or Type III historic design review. An optional Early Assistance Appointment may also be requested for less complex projects not requiring a pre-application conference.


Applicable approval criteria depends on the location of the project site within the ‘d’ overlay zone.