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The City of Portland, Oregon

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Draft Design Guidelines for New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Available for Review

Oregon Historical Society image of the Hop Sing Tong building in 1931 showing balconies and other exterior treatments. Portland’s New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District will be getting some well-deserved attention with the development of district-specific design guidelines. Developed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Portland Development Commission, with input from stakeholders and the community, the new approval criteria will guide building alterations and new construction in the district, while preserving and showcasing its unique, multi-ethnic history. The guidelines address various exterior and façade elements, from signs and awnings to the desired characteristics of new construction and additions to existing buildings.

Open House
Community members are invited to a public open house to review and comment on the draft design guidelines.

Wednesday, June 15, 5 to 7 p.m.
Portland Development Commission
222 NW 5th Avenue, Commission Conference Room.

The drop-in style open house will include summaries of key guidelines for review and comment. Staff will be available to answer questions and collect feedback. 

Public Process and Next Steps
The draft design guidelines were developed with input from a stakeholder advisory committee, formed to provide recommendations to the project team based on their knowledge and expertise related to land use, architecture, history, property development, and familiarity with the community. Community input on the draft guidelines will be considered by the project team as they develop a final proposal this summer. The guidelines will then be forwarded to the Historic Landmarks Commission for endorsement and then to City Council for adoption. Once in place, the design guidelines will be used as approval criteria during historic resource review of both new construction and exterior alterations/additions to existing buildings.

Current photograph of the Society Hotel and CCBA HeadquartersBackground
The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District is bound by NW Glisan Street to the north, NW 3rd Avenue on the east, West Burnside Street to the south, and NW 5th Avenue to the west. Primary architectural styles include Italianate, 20th Century Commercial, and Moderne. 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 culture, industry, commerce and architecture.

The project team values and encourages input from the community about this project. For more information, visit