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Planning and Sustainability

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New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines Project

  • Goldsmith Company Building, designed in 1924 by Strong & MacNaughton

  • Hung Far Low Building, designed in 1917 by Whitehouse & Fouilhoux (Oregon Historical Society photo)

  • New Chinatown/Japantown looking north in 1935

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Portland Development Commission are developing design guidelines for the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. This 10-block historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 because of the area’s significant history and heritage of Asian ethnic culture, industry, commerce and architecture. Once adopted by City Council, the Design Guidelines will be used as approval criteria to be met as part of historic resource reviews of both new construction and exterior alterations/additions to existing buildings.


With the assistance of a 10-member Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), a Concept Report, Discussion Draft, and Proposed Draft of the design guidelines were developed in spring and summer 2016. On December 12, 2016, the Historic Landmarks Commission approved a Recommended Draft for City Council review. An adoption hearing will be held September 14, 2017.

Brandon Spencer-Hartle, 503-823-4641,

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Join the New Chinatown/Japantown Design Guidelines contact list to receive project updates.

About The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District

New Chinatown/Japantown is a 10-block National Register Historic District