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Planning and Sustainability

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Better Housing by Design: Changing the rules to improve apartment development and allow other types of housing in multi-dwelling zones

Residential zones outside the Central City, where two or more units are allowed, are called multi-dwelling zones. In these neighborhoods you’ll see everything from apartment buildings and fourplexes to courtyard apartments and duplexes.

These zones cover large swaths of East Portland and SW Portland.

What we’re trying to do is make new development in the area not just more attractive but healthier, safer and more responsive to the needs of the residents. — East Portland District Liaison Chris Scarzello

Initial concepts for how to do this include requiring more residential open spaces like balconies, shared common areas and open spaces for residents and children to hang out and play.

According to BHD Project Manager Bill Cunningham, “We might also change zoning to encourage more types of housing, such as house-like triplexes and courtyard apartments. These used to be allowed in Portland’s older neighborhoods, but current zoning makes it hard to build them now.”

The project may also look at strengthening incentives for affordable housing and universally accessible units, so that a broader range of Portlanders can benefit from the new housing being built.

Learn more about the Better Housing by Design project.