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Historic resource survey coming to Montavilla

Documentation effort could provide the first update to the Historic Resource Inventory (HRI) since 1984

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has partnered with the University of Oregon Historic Preservation Program to conduct a historic resource survey in the Montavilla “Main Street” area. The historic resource survey will document the exterior architectural features of buildings and collect historical information on the commercial, social, and cultural history of the SE Stark/Washington Street corridor between approximately SE 75th and SE 85th Avenues.

After the on-the-ground building documentation and archival research is complete, survey results will be compiled in a published report that includes baseline historical information on each building within the study area. The report will also include a list of buildings determined eligible for inclusion on the citywide Historic Resources Inventory (HRI).

SE Stark Street in 1939. City of Portland photo, A2005-001

The 1948 Academy Theater is a prominent building in the study area. Photo courtesy Michael Molinaro.

What’s a historic resource survey? 

Historic resource surveys are projects that collect information on the history of geographic areas, cultural patterns, and specific buildings for broad public use in understanding the significance of historic places. Surveys include both architectural descriptions of individual properties and context statements on broad historical themes present in the area.

Survey reports evaluate surveyed resources for historic significance and provide recommendations for future additions to the HRI. The HRI is a citywide register of properties that have been evaluated for historic significance, but have not been conveyed protections through a landmark or district designation. Although the HRI has not been updated since 1984, recent changes in State administrative rules being codified through the Historic Resources Code Project will allow additional resources to be included on the HRI in the near future. Significant historic resources identified through the Montavilla survey could be considered for inclusion on the HRI as early as late 2019. Any proposal to further designate (and protect) a specific building as a Historic or Conservation Landmark would necessitate a public hearing and, under current Oregon law, the written consent of the property owner.

Learn more and get involved

The public is invited to attend an information session being held during the Montavilla Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Montavilla United Methodist Church, 232 SE 80th Avenue. Representatives from BPS will share an overview of the survey process, invite submissions of historical information, and answer questions.

For those that cannot make it to the meeting, the project team is interested in hearing from people with family stories or archival information related to the history of the study area. Historic photos, articles, blueprints, and other materials are useful resources in evaluating the historic significance of properties within a survey area. If you have historical information about people, businesses, organizations, buildings, or events in the Montavilla Main Street area, the project team is interested in hearing from you. Submissions of information can be sent to

Academy Theater

SE Stark Street in 1939. City of Portland photo, A2005-001.

Next Steps

City of Portland staff, University of Oregon students, and technical experts from Architectural Resources Group will document the architectural features of existing buildings during the winter months. Archival research and significance evaluations will occur in the spring and early summer, with the survey report expected to be released in July 2019. Possible inclusion of specific properties on the HRI would occur after the completion of the survey report and adoption of the Historic Resources Code Project.

Residential Infill Project staff briefs the PSC on revised economic analysis

Planning and Sustainability Commission learns about the impact of their revisions to staff's proposal; more units, lower rents.

At their December 11 meeting, staff briefed the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) on the revised Residential Infill Project economic analysis prepared by Johnson Economics. The analysis reflects the PSC’s tentative amendments to the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project from last September. That’s when they directed staff to revise the proposal to incrementally increase floor area limits for additional units. This would allow more housing options and expand them to all R2.5, R5 and R7 zones, with some exceptions for natural resources and hazards. 

In addition to the revised economic analysis, staff provided a memo to PSC that summarizes the background, methodology and findings of the report. Some key findings include:

  • The revised proposals would significantly increase unit production over the next twenty years (+24,000) with a modest increase in demolitions (+117).
  • The incremental increase in FAR allowances for additional units provides a bigger incentive to build housing types other than a single house.
  • These housing types (duplexes, triplexes and additional ADUs) have smaller unit sizes which are much less expensive than a new single house (about 56%      less on average).
  • This helps provide housing choices for people across a broader range of the income spectrum, in more areas of the city.

All PSC meetings are livestreamed; you can watch the December 11 briefing here (RIP starts at 2:25:00).  

Residential Infill Project back at PSC in February 2019

The PSC briefing on their Revised Proposed Draft is scheduled for February 12, 2019. Confirm the date and time on the agenda one week prior by visiting the PSC calendar. 

PSC Briefing: Revised Residential Infill Proposals – Tuesday, February 12, 2019 (12:30 to 3:30 pm). Staff will walk the Commission through their revised proposals to see how their tentative amendments work together as a package. Updated reports, maps and summary will be posted on project website prior to the meeting. This briefing will be followed by PSC work session(s), with a vote on their recommendations to City Council anticipated in March.

When will the public get to weigh in on these amendments?

The PSC’s amendments are based on public testimony they received last spring on the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project. They will not hold another public hearing before sending their recommendation to City Council. The public will be able to testify on the Residential Infill Project recommendations at the City Council public hearings — anticipated in summer 2019.

When will a parcel-specific map be available?

Parcel-specific information will be available through an updated Map App, available online prior to the February 12 PSC briefing. After the PSC makes their recommendation to City Council, the Map App will also be updated to reflect the PSC’s recommended proposals.

Want more information on the PSC’s work sessions and proposed changes?

The dates of the eight PSC work sessions and accompanying materials are posted on the project website under Planning and Sustainability Commission Materials. All PSC meetings are livestreamed and past meetings may be viewed at Portland BPS YouTube channel.  

For general information about the project

Visit the website at

Or give us a call:

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

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868, or Oregon Relay Service 711. 503-823-7700. 

Community members review draft concepts for the South Reach of the Willamette River

Nearly 100 people attended an open house in Sellwood earlier this month; city planners will use their input as they develop a draft plan this winter.

On the 1st of December, about 90 people spent their Saturday morning at Llewellyn School reviewing the latest information about the River Plan / South Reach planning efforts. City planners shared what they had learned from a series of Fall public workshops focused on recreation, the environment and land use.

They presented initial concepts and described them through illustrations, code concepts and action items. Participants offered feedback and explored ideas with one another.

View the materials displayed at the open house and a summary of what we heard.

Project staff will consider all the feedback as they develop the first draft of the River Plan / South Reach this winter. Community members will have an opportunity to review and comment on the first draft of the plan in early Spring 2019.

The River Plan / South Reach project will update the Willamette Greenway Plan (1987). It will establish a renewed vision for the area, update existing policies and regulations, identify implementation actions, and prioritize future investments for the South Reach of the Willamette.

What did people say?

Here are a few examples of public input received at the open house:

  • Set new development back from the river at least 50 feet.
  • Require that upper stories of new buildings step back from the river setback.  
  • Add bicycle traffic-calming features, roundabouts, bollards or other features to existing trails that force bicyclists to slow down.
  • Improve and add crosswalks across SW Macadam Avenue to provide safe crossings.
  • Conduct an evaluation of South Reach floodplains and prioritize opportunities to reclaim and restore them.

Miss the open house? Want to review event materials and provide your comments to City planners?

You can review open house materials and submit comments to City planners in an online comment card, or by emailing your comments to

Updated inventory of natural resources in and around the Willamette / South Reach available for public review

Summary of river, river banks, flood plains, tributary streams, wetlands and upland features provides a status report for the river.

Q: Ever wonder who — if anyone(!) — keeps track of the trees, critters, plant species, wetlands and an assortment of other natural resources in and along the Willamette River?

A: That’s the work of environmental planners, who can’t create effective land use plans without knowing what the conditions on the ground (and water) are.

Inventory of natural resources for the South Reach in the works

As part of the River Plan / South Reach project, the City is updating existing environmental management tools and regulations for the South Reach of the Willamette River. The update will help protect and enhance natural resources in the South Reach and ensure the City's continued compliance with local, regional, state and federal regulations for river health and safety.

The first step in this effort is to produce an updated inventory of existing natural resources. The River Plan / South Reach Draft Natural Resources Inventory is now available for review. 

The inventory provides a useful and accessible “status report” on the location of existing natural resource features and their functions. The report includes descriptions and maps of the current condition of riparian corridors and wildlife habitat located within the South Reach, including the river, river banks, flood plains, tributary streams, wetlands and upland features. In the report, the overall River Plan / South Reach study area is broken into five smaller geographic areas for evaluation.  

Comment on the draft Natural Resource Inventory

Public comments on the River Plan / South Reach Natural Resources Inventory are welcome. Please send feedback to; comments accepted until February 1, 2019.

Questions or comments can also be sent to Jeff Caudill at or 503-823-4572.

Spotlight on holiday waste

Each cart plays a part: Put materials in the correct containers after the holidays.

compostQ: How do I dispose of food scraps from preparing my holiday meal — and what about fruitcake?
A: Food scraps, old leftovers and even that fruitcake can be added directly to your green composting roll cart. Old cooking oil from the turkey fryer should go in a container with a tight seal and placed inside the garbage cart.                                

Q: What should I to do with all this holiday wrapping paper?
A: Place paper items in the blue recycling roll cart — cardboard and gift boxes, wrapping and tissue paper, catalogs, greeting cards and envelopes. Bows, ribbon and foil-lined items belong in the garbage.

Q: My holiday party includes lots of one-time use items. Can I recycle or compost them?garbage
A: Any disposable items, from plastic ware to paper plates, go in your garbage container. Even products labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable” don’t belong in your recycling or composting roll carts. Use reusable items for your next get-together instead.

garbageQ: What do I do with paper items from my holiday baking?
A: Items like parchment paper and wrappers and liners from cupcakes go in the garbage. Besides yard debris, the only non-food items accepted in the green composting roll cart are paper napkins, paper towels, coffee filters, tea bags and pizza delivery boxes.

Q: One of my holiday gifts is a new computer tablet! What should I do with my old computer?
A: If your old one still works, donate it! Oregon E-Cycles offers free recycling options. Electronics do not belong in your roll carts.

Q: How do I dispose of old batteries?
A: Collect batteries and dispose of them at a local recycling depot or hazardous waste facility. They should never be put in any curbside roll carts.

Q: Can I recycle broken strings of lights?
A: Broken lights do not belong in your blue recycling roll cart. Put them in the garbage or recycle them at a local depot. Contact Metro online or at 503-234-3000 to find a location.

Have a question for our Curbside Hotline Operator?
Submit your question online or call 503-823-7202.