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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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Historic Resources Code Improvement Project Overview

Project Update:  Portland City Council adopted zoning code amendments that resulted from this project on March 6, 2013.  View the adopted code amendments.

What is the problem?

Property owners in Historic and Conservation districts are concerned about the fees and time involved for historic review. Fees for small home remodeling projects start at $900, and the review process can take from 6-8 weeks. The fees, in some cases, can be more than the cost of the job itself. As a result, some property owners decide to make repairs and modifications without going through historic review, while others decide not to make improvements at all.

What will this project do?

Under the City’s current regulations pertaining to historic resources, the majority of exterior development proposals are reviewed through historic review. Maintenance and repair are currently exempt from review. While historic review provides for flexibility and public dialogue, it also takes time and money on the applicant’s part. The overall purpose of this project is to reassess when historic review is necessary and appropriate.

The following amendments will be explored, and others may be discussed, as the project moves forward:

  1. Historic Resources Definitions – Clarify terminology related to historic resources regulations, including the terms “repair,” “maintenance” and “replacement.”
  2. Redefine Historic Review Triggers/Exemptions– Determine the appropriate level of review in historic and conservation districts for the following:
    1. minor alterations to structures;
    2. improvements that are not visible from the public right-of-way.
  3. Procedure Type – Create a land use review procedure with a shorter timeline and no local appeal. This could be a new land use review or a revision of the Type I procedure.

Project Schedule



Public Events

July – Aug 2012

Problem identification, research and background

Check-in with Planning and Sustainability Commission, Historic Landmarks Commission, and the Development Review Advisory Committee

Sept - Oct 2012

Develop alternative concepts

Meetings with stakeholders

Nov – Dec 2012

Discussion Draft

Historic Landmarks Commission with public testimony

Jan 2013

Public Hearing

Planning and Sustainability Commission

Feb 2013

Public Hearing

City Council

Staff Contacts

Jay Sugnet , Project Manager 
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
(503) 823-5869

Tim Heron
Bureau of Development Services
(503) 823-7726