Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View Less

Testify about the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA)

Testify to the Planning and Sustainability and Design Commissions about the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA)

The Planning and Sustainability Commission and Design Commission will hold a public hearing on October 22, 2019, so Portlanders can testify on Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) that improve the design review process, standards and guidelines.

'd' overlay

But what does design review even mean?

Design Review happens only in areas of town with a ‘d’ overlay. These areas are growing and will absorb much of the population and business growth over the next 20 to 30 years. So we want places like Sellwood and St Johns and busy transit corridors like Barbur Blvd to look and feel good to the people who live, work and play there. 

But not all projects go through design review. Depending on whether the project includes housing and meets requirements for size, projects may choose to follow an extra set of design standards in the Zoning Code.  If design review is required or chosen by applicants, smaller projects can be reviewed by City planners or – if they are big in scope and impact – the Design Commission must review their proposals. And whether with staff or the Commission, projects are evaluated based on design guidelines.

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments project is updating the code and guidelines to simplify the process and ensure better outcomes.

What’s in the Proposed Draft?

The DOZA Proposed Draft incorporates comments and changes provided from months (February 2019 thru May 2019) of outreach to individuals; bureaus, agencies, and commissions; organizations and advocacy groups; and neighborhood organizations.

Volume 1 includes a description of the proposals:

  1. Purpose – What is the purpose of the Design overlay zone?
  2. Map – Where is the Design overlay zone mapped?
  3. Thresholds – What are the thresholds for review in the Design overlay zone?
  4. Process – What is Design Review and how is it changing?
  5. Tools – What are the tools used to evaluate projects in the Design overlay zone?

Read the Proposed Draft Documents.

Tell the Commissions what you think!

Portlanders are invited to testify to the PSC and Design Commission about the DOZA proposals before they make a recommendation to City Council.

How to testify

Testify in person at the public hearing

Your testimony will be added to the public record and is limited to  two minutes per person to allow the Commissioners to hear from everyone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 5 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500 (2nd floor)
Portland, Oregon 97201

Testify in writing until November 15 at 5 p.m.

Use the Map App:

Select Design Overlay Zone Amendments and click on the "Testify" button.Testifying in the Map App is 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. 

Use U.S. Mail:
Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission - DOZA Testimony
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, Oregon 97201

Commission briefing

On October 8, City staff gave a joint briefing to both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the Design Commission on the DOZA Proposed Draft. This was followed by a discussion with the Commissioners, during which a few themes emerged. Specifically, Commissioners questioned staff on how the proposed Design Standards and Citywide Design Guidelines will address issues of context, equity and resiliency, in addition to continuing a tradition of design excellence in Portland’s rapidly growing centers and corridors.

Watch a video of the briefing

What’s next?

After they hear from the public, the Commissions will each deliberate on the parts of the proposal they will recommend to City Council. PSC will deliberate on all the code and map amendments (Volume 2) and Design Commission will deliberate on the design guidelines (Volume 3).

For more information …

Proposals call for Portland’s centers to support people-friendly design

Portlanders invited to testify on new rules meant to improve the design of buildings, public spaces and more; Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) Project heads to Planning and Sustainability and Design commissions.

Sketch of people in front of mixed-use building

Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan reaffirms the City’s commitment to grow up — not out. To do so, many of our existing centers and corridors will see larger and denser development than the built environment today. Over the next 20 years, these more populated areas will continue transforming into even more vibrant urban places as they accommodate 80% of projected housing units in the city.

Portland’s official Zoning Map includes many “overlays.” These are areas that are identified for special rules that protect environmentally sensitive areas, historic buildings, residents from aircraft noise and more. Overlays also identify areas that we want to have special features, such as greenways, light rail station areas – and good building design.  

Portland’s highest-capacity centers and corridors are zoned with a design overlay zone, which promotes people-oriented design in places where 60% of projected housing units will be built by 2035. These areas are designated with a ‘d’ overlay on Portland’s zoning maps.

Updating the ‘d’ to meet the needs of people – now and in the future

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments proposal (DOZA) strives to make Portland’s centers and corridors better designed places – for people.

DOZA restructures the processes and tools for Portland’s design overlay zone and Design Review Program to ensure they move us toward the future described in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan.

The DOZA project:

  • Updates the purpose statement of design overlay to clarify the following goals:
  1. Respond to context.
  2. Contribute to the public realm.
  3. Promote quality and resilience.
  • Removes the design overlay from single-dwelling zoned properties.
  • Establishes review thresholds based on the size and scale of the project.
  • Improves the design review process.
  • Creates new approval criteria for design review and new design standards.

Review the proposals and tell us what you think

The DOZA Proposed Draft includes four volumes:

  • Volume 1: Staff Report
  • Volume 2: Zoning Code and Map Amendments
  • Volume 3: Portland Citywide Design Guidelines
  • Volume 4: Appendices

You’re invited to review the proposals and testify to the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the Design Commission.

1) Testify directly to the commissions at a joint public hearing

Tuesday, October 22 at 5 p.m.
1900 SW 4th, Room 2500A 
Portland, Oregon 97201

2) Via the Map App (

3) Via U.S. Mail

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
Design Overlay Zone Amendments
1900 SW 4th, Suite 7100 
Portland, Oregon 97201

Next steps

After the PSC and Design Commission hear public testimony and the “record is closed” (no more testimony – written or oral – is accepted), the two commissions will hold work sessions 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 Recommended Draft next spring.

See what new multifamily and mixed-use buildings will look like by watching these digital animations

Movies help people envision how new design standards and guidelines will make larger buildings more attractive and people friendly; deadline for comments on Discussion Draft extended to May 1.

Last year it was the Green Loop; this year it’s our Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project featured at Design Week Portland.

During the week-long festival of all things design related, the DOZA team held an open house to share three digital animations showing what draft Design Standards would look like in “real life.”

Because the project is updating design tools for multi-dwelling, commercial and mixed use projects, the videos depict different building types in various parts of the city. Click on a video below and do a “flyover” of apartments and mixed use commercial buildings in the following areas of the city:

What are the digital animations based on?

Prior to releasing the DOZA Discussion Draft, project staff worked with three architectural design teams to illustrate the results of new proposed design standards in areas of the city with different characteristics, such as geography and slopes, street patterns and lot size.

These drawings illustrate how regulations can shape building projects and how new design standards can respond to different contexts.

All the consultant teams’ analysis and drawings are available to review in Appendix B: Consultant Testing of Draft Guidelines and Standards of the DOZA Discussion Draft.

There’s still time to weigh in!

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the DOZA Discussion Draft so far.

We’ve extended the comment period to May 1, so more people can review the videos and proposals and share their feedback.

What do you think? Send your comments to by May 1.

Questions? Contact Kathryn Hartinger at or (503) 823-9714.

DOZA featured at Design Week Portland; Discussion Draft comments deadline extended

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project will hold an open house on April 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. as part Design Week Portland. Portlanders are invited to comment on the DOZA Discussion Draft (in person or writing) until April 19, 2019.

Design is an important part of any good urban space. That’s why the City of Portland is updating its design overlay (d-overlay) zone to ensure our public spaces meet the needs of current and future residents.

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project is updating the rules and processes for Portland’s d-overlay and design review program, and we want to share the latest drafts of changes to the process and tools for design review across the city.


Design Week Portland Open House Tomorrow!
Come learn more, ask staff questions and offer your feedback at the Design Week Portland open house:

Design Week Open House 
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
4-7 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue (1st floor lobby)
TriMet: Multiple bus lines, MAX
Green/Yellow line, Portland Streetcar

Discussion Draft comments deadline extended
We want your feedback, so the comment period for the Discussion Draft has been extended to April 19, 2019. We invite your review of the following documents:

Feel free to send us an email of give us a call.

Kathryn Hartinger, Project Manager
(503) 823-9714

Next steps
In the spring, staff will consider the comments on the Discussion Draft as they refine it into a Proposed Draft. The Design Commission and Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold joint public hearings in summer 2019.

For more information about the project, visit

Draft update to design zones out for public discussion

The Discussion Draft for the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project is out and ready for review through April 12, 2019.

Neighborhood retail street scene

Portland’s Design overlay zones are getting an update, and project staff wants your input. The project’s Discussion Draft has launched, and public comments are welcome through April 12, 2019.

The DOZA project will revise the rules and processes that some new buildings go through to ensure people-oriented design serves residents, workers, and visitors in our most vibrant places.

Read the Discussion Draft documents.

Please send feedback or questions to

Open houses across the city

Open House

March 16, 2019 2-4 p.m.
Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St
TriMet: Line 15

American Institute of Architects Open House

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 4-7 p.m.
403 NW 11th Ave
TriMet: Line 77, Portland Streetcar

Design Week Open House

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 4-7 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue (1st floor lobby)
TriMet: Multiple bus lines
MAX Green/Yellow line
Portland Streetcar

Come learn more, offer your feedback, and ask staff questions at any of the following open houses—including one we’re hosting as part of the Design Week Portland festival.

For other scheduled meetings, check the project calendar.

Staff is also available to attend community meetings upon request. Contact Kathryn Hartinger at or (503) 823-9714.

Next steps

In the spring, staff will consider the comments received on the Discussion Draft and refine it into a Proposed Draft. The Design Commission and Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold joint public hearings in summer 2019.