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With some fine-tuning, City Council approves Residential Infill Project Concept Report

Staff to begin drafting code and map changes in early 2017

On December 7, 2016, City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that accepted the Residential Infill Project Concept Report with several amendments from the commissioners. Council amendments were based on testimony they heard at their November 9 and 16 public hearings. Nearly 120 people testified in person; Council also received approximately 550 letters and emails during their review.

Watch the videos of City Council sessions about RIP (November 1 a.m., November 9 p.m., November 16 p.m. and December 7 a.m.).

What did City Council approve?

Council voted on a set of concepts that aim to discourage home demolitions, while increasing housing choice in Portland’s single-dwelling residential neighborhoods. During the public hearings Mayor Charlie Hales often asked testifiers: If given the choice, would they 1) do nothing; 2) modify staff’s recommendations; or 3) start completely over. Most people responded that the recommendations were a good start but modifications were needed.

Overall, City Council agreed. Recognizing that the Concept Report gave general policy direction and guidance for staff to develop code and mapping proposals, Council made several modifications before they accepted the concept recommendations. Below is a summary of the Commissioner’s amendments by topic area.

Scale of houses

  • To create additional deterrents and reduce the number of 1:1 demolition replacements (e.g., demolishing one house only to replace it with a single new house) inside the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone, Council voted to adjust the allowed size of single-dwelling houses in the overlay. For example, the direction is now to reduce the amount of living space on a 5,000 square foot lot to 2,000 square feet (as opposed to 2,500 square feet in the Concept Report). Council agreed to maintain the same size limit for duplexes, duplexes and ADUs, and triplexes on corners (e.g., 2,500 square feet on a 5,000 square foot lot) as what would be allowed for a single house outside the overlay. Commissioner Novick indicated he would like to see size limits on duplexes and triplexes studied further to ensure that resulting unit sizes were reasonable, but there was no official amendment.
  • Council approved several amendments introduced by Commissioner Fritz that address flexibility for tree preservation, increasing private open space areas, and reducing impervious surfaces.

Housing choices

  • Council did not expand the range of allowed housing types in the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone (i.e., a house with both an internal and detached ADU, duplex, duplex with ADU, triplex on corner). However, they did direct staff to explore requirements and bonus unit allowances for age-friendly housing, affordability and additional tree preservation.
  • To encourage house internal conversions over demolition, Council voted to allow citywide an additional unit when an existing house is converted into multiple units (staff had recommended this bonus unit only in the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone). Council also expressed the need to clearly distinguish an internal conversion from a near-demolition and rebuild.
  • Council did not vote on the conceptual boundary criteria for the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone. Rather commissioners asked staff to come back early next year with mapping options. They cited issues around where it should be, how far from frequent transit, and if the David Douglas School District should be exempt because of student capacity issues. They also voted to ensure that transportation infrastructure constraints were added to the list of mapping considerations.

Narrow lots

  • Council did not approve staff’s recommendation to rezone historically narrow lots currently in R5 zones to R2.5. (Historically narrow lots were platted before modern zoning and don’t meet current R5 lot dimension requirements.) Instead, Commissioners voted for an amendment that would not allow individual R5-zoned historically narrow lots to be developed — even when they have been vacant for more than five years, as presently allowed.
  • Council also voted to remove staff’s recommendation that front-loaded garages not be allowed on detached houses on narrow lots, figuring these will be less common as a result of the change to not allow houses on R5 historically narrow lots. Narrow lots already zoned R2.5 zone will continue to be allowed.

For more detailed information about what City Council voted on, staff has prepared a matrix of the approved recommended concepts and the City Council amendments.

Next steps

The acceptance of the Concept Report sets the stage for the next phase of the Residential Infill Project: code writing and map amendment proposals. This phase, beginning early 2017, will include public review of a Discussion Draft, followed by public hearings at the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council before final adoption by City Council. For more information about the project, visit the website at


Morgan Tracy, Project Manager,, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement,, 503-823-7624

2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy now available; City Council public hearing scheduled for December 14

The 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy is an update to Portland's first electric vehicle strategy.

Portland's first electric vehicle strategy, Electric Vehicles: The Portland Way was developed in 2010 to prepare for the launch of the first widely available electric passenger vehicles. The electric vehicle market landscape has changed significantly over the past six years. The 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy is an updated version that establishes the City's current electric vehicle-related priorities and identifies the actions the City will take before the end of 2020 to further the electrification of the transportation sector. The 2017 EV Strategy is scheduled to be considered by Council on Wednesday, December 14.

Read the 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy.

City Council Public Hearing(s):

The public is invited to testify on the Electric Vehicle Strategy at the upcoming City Council hearing.

December 14, 9:45 a.m. (time certain)
Public hearing

All public hearings will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue. Meetings will be broadcast live at

How do I testify at City Council?

You may testify in person by signing up when you arrive. Check the Council agenda prior to the hearing to confirm the item is still scheduled.

You may also testify in writing:

Via U.S. Mail: 1221 SW Fourth Ave. Room 130, Portland, Oregon 97204

Via email:

Note: Written testimony must be received by the end of the hearing(s) and must include your name and address. All testimony to City Council is considered public record, and testifiers' name, address and any other information included in the testimony will be posted on the website.

Next steps

At the end of the public hearing, City Council will vote on a resolution to adopt the 2017 Electric Vehicle Strategy.

Zoning Code Update Packet #176

Amends: 120, 140, 239, 266, 285, 296, 510, 561, 566, 567, 585, 815, 910, 920

Download Update Packet #176

This packet includes only the pages affected by the update. Please note, subsequent updates may have modified these pages. The links to chapters in the chart below will provide the current version of the chapter.

Contact: Phil Nameny, 503-823-7709

Substantive Changes: Mass Shelters and Housing

  • Amends the Short Term Housing and Mass Shelters chapter, 33.285, to update regulations addressing land use reviews and development standards for these facilities.
  • Amends the Conditional Use Review chapter, 33.815, to create a more uniform set of approval criteria for mass shelters and short term housing in residential zones.
  • Amends the Use Categories chapter, 33.920, to allow a small amount of temporary transitional housing as an accessory use to religious institutions, colleges and schools.

Contents of Update Packet #176 (effective 12/9/2016):

Chapter Remove Pages Insert Pages Changed because of:
33.120 7-10, 13-14, 59-60 7-10, 13-14, 59-60 Amended; typo
33.140 5-8, 35-36 5-8, 35-36 Amended
33.239 1-2 1-2 Amended
33.266 13-14 13-14 Typo
33.285 1-6 1-6 Amended
33.296 5-6 5-6 Amended
33.510 57-58 57-58 Typo
33.561 All All Reformatting only
33.566 All All Reformatting only
33.567 All All Reformatting only
33.585 All All Reformatting only
33.815 All All Amended
33.910 27-28, 39-40 27-28, 39-40 Amended
33.920 13-18 13-18 Amended

The official Title 33, Planning and Zoning (Zoning Code) is the printed copy in the Development Services Center. PDFs available on this website are not the official text of Title 33, Planning and Zoning. Although every effort is made to ensure that the two texts are identical, errors or differences may remain. It is the user's responsibility to verify the legal accuracy of all provisions.

Suggestions on how to improve these notifications? Send us an email.

Look what's new!

We recently published an interactive Zoning Code map showing the existing zoning for the City of Portland. You can search by address or click around to find the zoning for any property within the city.

Rescheduled: Inclusionary Housing Hearing at Council

Updated hearing date due to weather

Due to City offices being closed due to inclement weather on December 8, the Council hearing on an Inclusionary Housing program and Inclusionary Housing Zone Code Amendments has been rescheduled due to December 13 at 9:00 a.m. Public testimony will be taken, and written testimony will be accepted at least until this time. Send testimony directly to the Council Clerk at