Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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 More

Historic Resources Code Project holds first public roundtable

Participants prioritized values of historic preservation in anticipation of next gathering on January 11.

Attendees at roundtable

On Dec. 7, 2017, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held a kick-off event for the Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP) at the White Stag Block, an adaptively reused building in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.

The first of four community roundtables, the event asked participants to identify and describe the value and purpose of historic preservation in Portland. Approximately fifty Portlanders convened to share their opinions on the community value of historic resources, with conversation topics spanning the cultural, social, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and educational outcomes of preserving historic resources. A summary of the event is available as a PDF.

Group ideas from the roundtable   Group ideas from the roundtable

The benefits and values identified at the December 7th roundtable will inform the code project’s future input sessions, the next of which will address technical code concepts related to the identification, designation, and protection of historic resources. The next roundtable, “New Tools for Inventorying and Adapting Historic Resources,” will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at the Architectural Heritage Center (701 SE Grand Ave.). If you are unable to attend an upcoming roundtable session, consider submitting a public comment form online.

For more information about the HRCP, visit the project website or contact project manager Brandon Spencer-Hartle at Interested parties are also invited to join the historic resources program email list for project updates, including information about future roundtables.

Historic Resources Code Project Seeks Community Input

Four public roundtables have been scheduled to solicit input on the project’s primary focus areas: identification, designation and protection of historic resources.

Kenton Firehouse, a local historic landmark in a conservation district.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is advancing the Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP), a zoning code initiative that will propose changes to how the City of Portland identifies, designates, and protects significant historic resources. Facilitated by a 2016 Oregon State Supreme Court ruling and recent changes to state administrative rules, the HRCP seeks to improve Portland’s historic resource protection programs and better steward the city’s rich cultural and architectural heritage.

Four public roundtables have been scheduled to solicit input on the project’s primary focus areas: identification, designation and protection of historic resources. Roundtables are open to the public and all venues are accessible to people with disabilities.

Why Portland’s Historic Places Matter
Thursday, December 7th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch St.
An opportunity to define and affirm the City’s historic preservation goals and values. Conversations will focus on the community benefits of preservation, including the cultural, economic and environmental value of diverse historic resources.

New Tools for Inventorying and Adapting Historic Resources
Thursday, January 11th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Ave.
An examination of survey, inventory and reuse of historic resources. This roundtable will address opportunities for updating Portland’s 33-year-old Historic Resources Inventory as well as explore possible zoning incentives for preservation.

What’s Working and What’s Not in Portland’s Historic Districts
Wednesday, January 24th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont St.
A technical discussion about the application of historic resource review in Portland’s Historic Districts. Dialogue will center on the regulations associated with National Register Historic District designation and explore opportunities for improving the practicality and effectiveness of historic resource review.

Local District Designation: An Alternative to the National Register?
Tuesday, February 6th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
North Portland Library, 512 N Killingsworth St.
An exploration of potential alternatives to listing landmarks and districts in the National Register of Historic Places. Discussions will focus on how the City’s local Historic and Conservation Landmark and District designations might be modified to create more accessible and responsive designation and protection options.

In addition to the above roundtables, staff will be available at two drop-in sessions to provide additional opportunities to learn about the project and solicit general feedback:

Historic Resources Drop-in Session
Monday, December 18th, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Peninsula Park Community Center, 700 N Rosa Parks Way

Historic Resources Drop-in Session
Tuesday, January 9th, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave.

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will incorporate public feedback from roundtables and drop-in sessions into the development of zoning code concepts. Draft zoning code language will be released in spring 2018, at which time more opportunities for public feedback will be scheduled.

If you cannot attend one of the Roundtables or drop-in sessions, please consider filling out a comment form and returning it to the project team. If you have questions or comments, the project team can be reached at (503) 823-7247 or

Follow this Project
Sign up for the City of Portland’s historic resource program email list to be informed of project developments. 

BPS launches Historic Resources Code Project

The project will research regional and national best practices and propose zoning code changes to reconcile deficiencies in Portland’s existing programs.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has launched a 14-month zoning code project that will propose changes to how the City of Portland identifies, designates and protects historic resources. The Historic Resources Code Project follows a 2016 Oregon State Supreme Court decision and recently adopted changes to state administrative rules, both of which provide opportunities for improving Portland’s historic resource protection programs. The project will build upon previous historic resource zoning code projects, the most recent of which was adopted in 2013 and made changes to review procedures for minor exterior alteration projects in historic districts.

What’s the project timeline?

The Historic Resources Code Project will last approximately 14 months, beginning in September 2017. A project timeline is below.


Opportunities for public involvement will be posted to the Historic Resources Code Project website as the project develops.

What sections of the code will be most affected?

Many sections of the Portland zoning code address historic resources, but it is primarily sections 33.445 and 33.846 that provide the City’s framework for identifying, designating and protecting historic resources. It’s anticipated the Historic Resources Code Project will result in significant changes to both of these sections of the zoning code.

What won’t be included in the project?

Although the project will be proposing minor and major policy changes, there are a number of items that the project is not anticipated to address. Among the items that won’t be included in this project are:

  • Development of district-specific design guidelines or standards
  • Inventorying or designating new historic resources
  • Providing financial incentives to owners of historic resources
  • Proposing changes to building regulations outside of the zoning code.
  • Changing the National Register of Historic Places designation process or the minimum protections that apply to National Register resources under State Land Use Goal 5.  

The adopted zoning code changes that result from this project will inform the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s future historic resources projects, which may include additional code changes, development of district-specific guidelines and standards and a citywide update to the Historic Resources Inventory.

How can I follow this project?

Project updates will be distributed to the historic resources program email list; sign-up to receive information about events and project milestones.

Who is responsible for the project?

The project is being managed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s historic resources program, with support from the Bureau of Development Services’ design and historic resources team. Core project staff include:

  • Brandon Spencer-Hartle, Project Manager
  • Caity Ewers, Community Service Aide II
  • Hillary Adam, BDS Liaison

For questions about and comments on the Historic Resources Code Project, email