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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

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Builder’s mission is to increase the supply of ADUs so more people can have an affordable place to live

Holly Huntley, owner of environs, has built 17 ADUs in Portland … so far! And more on the way.

Holly Huntley

Meet Holly Huntley, general contractor and owner of environs, a small construction company that specializes in building ADUs, or accessory dwelling units. Holly is working to fill the housing shortage with small, affordable and accessible units in single-family neighborhoods.

“I love that I get to be a tiny part of the solution around creating more living spaces in our urban environment,” she says.

Of the 17 ADUs she has built, six have been for people moving to Portland to live next to their children and grandchildren and/or to receive support as they enter a different phase of life. These ADUs have “visitability” features like wider doors and larger bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. “This makes things easier for current occupants and increases a limited inventory of homes that are designed with universal usership in mind,” says Huntley. 

Another six of the ADUs were built for homeowners who moved into the ADU and rented out their main house to reduce their housing costs and provide additional income from long-term rentals. Another handful stayed in their home and rented the ADU.

Allowing and encouraging homeowners to maximize their most important investment is vital to the success of our community.

Says Huntley, “Only one of the ADUs I’ve built has entered the short-term rental market — which was not the original intent and not the future plan.”

As she worked with her clients, several common goals emerged: to make better use of their property; create a healthy, efficient home for themselves; provide a long-term rental unit at a fair rate; and secure housing costs for themselves. 

“I am fortunate to be able to work with people in my community who have similar beliefs around what our neighborhoods should be doing and providing,” she muses. “We need more and varied types of housing, and ADUs as urban infill meet a valuable fraction of this need. Allowing and encouraging homeowners to maximize their most important investment is vital to the success of our community. While it is rooted in housing, the impact goes well beyond shelter.”

Have you received a City of Portland notice in the mail about your single-family home?

Here’s what it means and what you can do.

Welcome to the Residential Infill Project online “customer service” page. We’re glad you’re here.

  • Perhaps you received a notice in the mail that looks like this, and you’re not sure exactly what it means.  
  • Or maybe you heard about proposed rules that would govern new development in residential neighborhoods from a friend or neighbor, and you’re concerned.
  • Or you want to find out how these proposals would address the housing shortage.
  • Or you care about what new houses in your neighborhood look and feel like.
  • Or some or all the above.

You are not alone! Owners of more than 135,000 properties recently received the mailing pictured above from the City of Portland. This is required by state law whenever a change in the zoning could affect the value of a property — up or down. Your address was pulled from the County Assessor’s Office.

First things first

First thing to know is that these changes are proposals — not the law. We hope you’ll learn more about them and tell the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) what you think. Any new rules must be adopted by City Council before they become effective. And before adoption, they are refined and changed based on public testimony, as well as PSC and City Council amendments.

Second, these proposals do not require you to sell your house or do anything to your property or home. They would only apply if you add to your existing house or build a new unit on your land.

If or when you do, the proposal would allow more housing units to be built in residential neighborhoods, but only if they conform to new limits on size and scale.

Here’s a simple summary of the proposed new rules.

We’re here to help

This is complicated stuff. So, we want to help you understand the proposals and how they may affect you and your property. You can:

  • Call the Helpline at 503-823-0195. Friendly staff will look up your address and tell you how the proposals would affect your property.
  • Come to a drop-in session in your neighborhood for one-on-one consulting with a planner. We’ve scheduled them all over town for your convenience.
  • Look up your address on the Map App to find out what rules apply now and what could be proposed.
  • Send us an email at residential.infill@portlandoregon.gov, and a knowledgeable person will respond.

More questions? Consult our FAQs.

Then share your feedback with the Planning and Sustainability Commission via the Map App or in person at a public hearing

Renters matter too

You don’t have to be a property owner to weigh in on these proposals. Renters are also affected by the housing shortage and the lack of housing options. So, look and imagine how these changes might affect how you live in and experience Portland. Then share your thoughts with the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Again, you’re not alone

Many people are feeling a sense of rapid change in their neighborhoods and throughout the city. As we spoke with hundreds of Portlanders around the city over the past two years, we heard that people want to take care of and improve their neighborhoods as the city grows.

They want more opportunities to live in complete neighborhoods — and not just for themselves. For their parents, so they can age in place. For their children so they can afford to live in the city they grew up in. For the teachers, nurses, grocery clerks and firefighters who contribute to our communities. And the many newcomers who are moving here every day.

So, we’re revisiting the rules that shape our residential neighborhoods to create opportunities for more people to enjoy the benefits of these vibrant communities. Alone, a zoning change won’t solve our housing crisis. But the rules that govern what types of housing are allowed in our neighborhoods affect not just how they look and feel — but who can live in them as well.

For more information, visit the project website.

Residential Infill Project Proposed Draft to the Planning and Sustainability Commission now ready for public review

Read about new proposals that will govern how our residential neighborhoods grow and evolve; then testify online or in person to the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

As Portlanders, we have an opportunity to update the rules that shape our residential neighborhoods to allow more families and households to live in them — while limiting the construction of very large new houses.

Over the past two years, we had thousands of conversations with hundreds of people. And we heard that Portlanders want to take care of and improve their neighborhoods as the city grows. They want more people to have access to these vibrant residential areas and all the great things they offer — like schools, parks, shops, restaurants and grocery stores.

In response, we’re revisiting the rules that shape our residential neighborhoods so more people can enjoy the benefits of these vibrant neighborhoods. In collaboration with Portlanders from all over the city with many different experiences and perspectives, we’ve created a proposal that allows more housing units to be built in residential neighborhoods, but only if they follow new limits on size and scale.

Review the Residential Infill Project Proposed Draft:


Tell the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) what you think

Via the Map App … by 5 p.m. Friday, May 18

Screen capture of the Map App

Explore the Map App

The Map App is new and improved! In addition to viewing proposed map changes for individual properties, community members (property owners and renters) can now testify directly to the Planning and Sustainability Commission via the Map App. It’s as easy as sending an email. And once you press “submit,” you can see your testimony in the Testimony Reader in real time. You can also read other people’s testimony.

Or mail a letter … letters must be received by Friday, May 18
Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
Residential Infill Testimony
1900 SW 4th, Suite 7100
Portland, Oregon 97201


At a public hearing …

You can testify directly to the Planning and Sustainability Commission at two public hearings:

5 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2018
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500, Portland, Oregon

5 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, 2018
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500, Portland, Oregon


Learn more about how this proposal might affect your property

The online Map App lets you look up a specific property and see what changes are proposed, but if computers aren’t your thing, you can talk to a planner one-on-one at drop-in hours around town or call our customer service helpline.

Drop-in hours

Stop by and see us at a nearby library.

Location Date Time Address
St. Johns Library Tuesday, April 17, 2018 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  7510 N Charleston Ave.
Midland Library Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.  805 SE 122nd Ave
North Portland Library Thursday, April 26, 2018 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.   512 N Killingsworth St.
Hollywood Library Monday, April 30, 2018 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.  4040 NE Tillamook St.
Woodstock Library Tuesday, May 1, 2018 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.   6008 SE 49th Ave.
Hillsdale Library Thursday, May 3, 2018 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.   1525 SW Sunset Blvd.

Helpline

We’re ready for your questions. Call 503-823-0195. Interpretation services available.

languages

Email

Or email us at residential.infill@portlandoregon.gov with your questions and a knowledgeable person will respond to you. 


Next Steps

After the PSC hears public testimony and the “record is closed” (no more testimony – written or oral – is accepted), the PSC will hold work sessions in May and June to discuss the testimony and develop any amendments they want to make to the proposals before they vote on their recommendations to the City Council. Council is expected to hold public hearings on the PSC’s Recommended Draft this Fall.

For more information, visit the project website.

What are people saying about the Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft?

More than 700 individuals and 46 organizations submitted comments on proposed code and map changes for single-dwelling neighborhoods.

Portlanders had a lot to share with City staff during the public review of the Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft (October 3 through November 30, 2017):

  • 433 people submitted 3,425 comments through the online and paper comment forms.
  • Community members sent 249 emails.
  • Staff received 46 letters from nonprofits and advocacy groups, public sector agencies and commissions, for-profit housing developers, business interests, neighborhood associations and district coalitions.
  • The lobby exhibit in the 1900 Development Services Building resulted in 36 comments.

Staff read and categorized all the comments and prepared a What We Heard Summary Report, which is now available on the project website. The report identifies key themes from all the comments, including:

  • Housing affordability.
  • How the “a” alternative housing opportunity overlay is mapped.
  • The displacement risk analysis.
  • Proposed regulations for cottage clusters.
  • Visitability standards to promote age-friendly housing.
  • Incentives to protect historic resources.

document cover

Read the Residential Infill Project What We Heard Summary Report

In addition to this report, the full text of all the comments can be found in the appendices, which include:

  • Appendix A: Comment Form Responses
  • Appendix B: Emails and Letters from Individuals
  • Appendix C: BPS Lobby Exhibit Written Comments
  • Appendix D: Letters from Organizations

How will comments on the Discussion Draft be used?

These comments will guide staff as they make refinements to the Discussion Draft proposals and develop a Proposed Draft for the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) to consider next spring.

The first public hearing is tentatively scheduled for May 8, 2018. At this hearing, Portlanders will be able to give their formal testimony to the PSC on the Proposed Draft, which will be available to the public at least 30 days prior to the PSC hearing.

After hearing testimony from community members, the PSC will make recommendations to City Council, which will also hold public hearings (on the PSC’s Recommended Draft) later this fall. After considering testimony and deliberating, Council will vote to adopt the final package of map and code amendments.

What is this project about?

In response to community concerns about demolitions and the scale of new homes, as well as the supply of housing in Portland, the Residential Infill Project is updating Portland’s single-dwelling zoning rules to better meet the changing housing needs of current and future residents. The project addresses three topic areas: scale of houses, housing opportunity and narrow lots.

Want more information?

Email or speak with a team member directly:

And visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill.

Public review period of Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft closes

Comments on code and map changes will be summarized in a report to be posted in January 2018.

Over the eight-week period between October 4 through November 30, the Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft was available for public review. Thanks to all who took the time to learn about the proposals and share their feedback with staff.

How will comments on the Discussion Draft be used?

Comments received will guide staff as they make refinements to the Discussion Draft proposals and develop a Proposed Draft for the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) to consider next spring. Portlanders will be able to give their formal testimony to the PSC on the Proposed Draft at that time. After hearing testimony from community members, the PSC will make recommendations to City Council, which will also hold public hearings (on the PSC’s Recommended Draft). After considering testimony and deliberating, Council will vote to adopt the final package of map and code amendments.

What's next?

Staff is currently reading and categorizing all the comments received and preparing a summary report. Look for the What We Heard Summary Report on the project website by early January. In addition to this report, all the comments in their entirety will be posted on the website.

What is this project about?

In response to community concerns about demolitions and the scale of new homes, as well as the supply of housing in Portland, the Residential Infill Project is updating Portland’s single-dwelling zoning rules to better meet the changing housing needs of current and future residents. The project addresses three topic areas: scale of houses, housing opportunity and narrow lots.

Want more information?

Email: residential.infill@portlandoregon.gov

Or speak with a team member directly:

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

And visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill.