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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Proposed Draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines available for review

Sketch of Demolished Hop Sing Tong BuildingPortland’s New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District is 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.

On August 1, 2016, the Proposed Draft of the guidelines was released for public review and comment.

Provide Testimony

The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission will consider the Proposed Draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines and hold public hearings on September 12 and September 26, 2016. Testimony will be accepted at both hearings.

In addition to attending a hearing, there are several other ways to provide testimony to the Landmarks Commission on the Proposed Draft:

  • Email: Include “Historic District Design Guidelines Testimony” in the subject line and include your full name and mailing address.
  • By U.S. Mail: Brandon Spencer-Hartle, 1900 SW Fourth Ave., Suite 7100, Portland OR, 97201. Attn: Historic District Design Guidelines Testimony.

Public Process and Next Steps

Hung Far Low Sign

The Proposed 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 historic district. Testimony will be received by the Historic Landmarks Commission as they refine the Proposed Draft into a Recommended Draft for consideration and adoption by the City Council. 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.


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