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ENB-11.58 - Chinatown / Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines

CHINATOWN / JAPANTOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT DESIGN GUIDELINES

Binding City Policy

BCP-ENB-11.58


PURPOSE

Link to Exhibit A  (PDF Document, 5.3 MB)

Section 1. The Council finds:

General Findings

1.  The City of Portland celebrates and protects designated historic resources significant to Portland’s architectural, cultural, and social history. Historic resources can be buildings, structures, sites, objects, or districts designated at the local or federal level. Protection programs for historic resources are provided by the City of Portland Zoning Code and governed by Statewide Land Use Goal 5.

2.  The preservation of historic resources honors the diverse history of Portland’s many communities, ensures culturally significant places are passed down for the benefit of future generations, celebrates the architectural landmarks that define the city’s built environment, minimizes the loss of embodied energy to the landfill, allows for resource-efficient adaptive reuse, and promotes the enhancement of significant districts.

3.  The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service on November 21, 1989. The historic district is bound by NW Glisan Street to the north, NW 3rd Avenue to the east, West Burnside Street to the south, and NW 5th Avenue to the west. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District includes 29 contributing historic resources built during the period of historic significance, 1880-1943.

4.  Alteration, addition, and new construction projects within the historic district are today subject to the Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines and River District Design Guidelines. These existing guidelines lack adequate approval criteria for the protection of historic district’s character-defining architectural features. Furthermore, the existing design guidelines lack adequate examples, images, and background documentation to meet the City of Portland’s format for land use approval criteria that apply to designated historic resources.

5.  Historic district design guidelines provide guidance to property owners, designers, architects, and developers as to the desired architectural character of alterations, additions, and new construction in a historic district and serve as the approval criteria used by Bureau of Development Services staff and the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission for historic resource review.

6.  In February 2016, Portland Development Commission (Prosper Portland) and the Bureau of Planning and sustainability launched a joint project to develop district-specific design guidelines for the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. The intention of the project was to develop historic district design guidelines that would replace the existing River District Design Guidelines as approval criteria in the historic district. The Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines will still apply, with the approval criteria in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines taking precedence when conflicts between the sets of guidelines arise.

7.  Prosper Portland and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability convened a 10- member Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) to provide advisory recommendations to the project team based upon committee members’ knowledge and expertise related to land use, architecture, history, property development, and familiarity with the community. Appreciation is owed to those who served: Jackie Peterson, Joren Bass, Katherine Schultz, Will Naito, Brian Kimura, Neil Lee, Hermann Colas, Hillary Adam, Peggy Moretti, and Matthew Roman.

8.  Five SAC meetings were held on March 16, March 29, April 26, May 24, and June 7, 2016. All SAC meetings were open to the public, with time reserved at the conclusion of each meeting for public comments.

9.  The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission was briefed on the project on March 28, 2016. The Planning and Sustainability Commission was briefed on the project on September 27, 2016.

10.  Two public open houses were held in the historic Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association Building in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District on May 3 and June 15, 2016.

11.  A proposed draft of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines was published on August 1, 2016.

12.  On August 2, 2016, notice of the proposed guidelines was mailed to the Department of Land Conservation and Development in compliance with the post-acknowledgement review process required by OAR 660-18-0020.

13.  On August 2, 2016, notice of the proposal as required by ORS 227.186 was sent to all property owners in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, as well as members of the project SAC, interested persons, and relevant neighborhood associations and coalitions.

14.  The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission held two public hearings on the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines on September 12 and 26, 2016. The commission took public testimony, discussed the draft guidelines and directed staff to return with specific revisions.

15.  On December 12, 2016, the Historic Landmarks Commission held a work session and unanimously recommended that City Council adopt the recommended draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines. The Historic Landmarks Commission recommended draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are attached as Exhibit A.

16.  The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines implement and/or are consistent with the Statewide Planning Goals, the Metro Urban Growth Management Functional Plan, the Portland Comprehensive Plan, and the Central City Plan as explained in this ordinance.

17.  It is in the public interest that the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines be adopted to serve as the approval criteria for exterior alterations and additions to existing buildings and for construction of new buildings within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. Implementation of the guidelines will retain and reinforce the architectural and cultural qualities that make the district significant, improve the area’s vitality, and strengthen the historic character of the district as a defining and historically and culturally significant area of the city.

Statewide Planning Goals Findings

State planning statutes require cities to adopt and amend comprehensive plans and land use regulations in compliance with state land use goals. Only the Statewide Planning Goals addressed below apply to the adoption of New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines.

18.  Goal 1, Citizen Involvement, requires provision of opportunities for citizens to be involved in all phases of the planning process. The development of New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines offered numerous opportunities for public involvement. The amendments support this goal in the following ways:

a)  On March 16, 2016, the first of five meetings of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) was convened to assist in the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines. The 10-member SAC included stakeholders from the development community, neighborhood association, historic preservation community, and other stakeholders involved in urban design, architecture, and history. The SAC provided input and advice that significantly shaped the proposed design guidelines, which were reviewed and supported by the SAC at their last meeting held on June 7, 2016.

b)  In addition to regular SAC meetings which were open to and attended by the public, project open houses were held on May 3 and June 15, 2016, in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. SAC members, property owners, University of Oregon students, and other interested persons attended these events at which staff displayed design guideline concepts, responded to questions, and took public input. Each event was attended by approximately 50 people.

c)  Stakeholder interviews were conducted by JLA Public Involvement in April and May 2016 to increase the project’s breadth and depth of understanding of New Chinatown/Japantown. A total of 18 architects, property owners, community members, and SAC members were interviewed to solicit personal or professional insights and expectations for the proposed design guidelines.

d)  During the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, a mailing list was produced for the project that included all parties on the City of Portland’s legislative mailing list, all property owners in the historic district, interested parties, and the members of the SAC. The mailing list contained approximately 430 recipients. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability provided mailed notice of Historic Landmarks Commission hearings to all persons on this mailing list on August 2, 2016.

e)  During the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability maintained a website that tracked the development of the project. The website offered a source of information announcing each SAC meeting, open house, briefings, work sessions, hearing with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission. SAC meeting agendas, meeting minutes, project concepts, and other background documents were made available on the website.

f)  During the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, one briefing was held with the Planning and Sustainability Commission on September 27, 2016, to provide background information and inform the Commission on the purpose and use of design guidelines.

g)  During the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission was briefed on March 28, 2016, to be informed of project goals and public process expectations.

h)  During the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, staff twice presented project updates to the Old Town/Chinatown Community Association.

i)  Notice of Proposed Amendment and copies of the proposed draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines were submitted digitally to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development on August 2, 2016, announcing the first evidentiary hearing on the revised guidelines.

j)  Two hearings were held with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission on September 12 and 26, 2016.

k)  On December 12, 2016, the Historic Landmarks Commission held a work session and unanimously voted to recommended the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines with minor edits. On January 6, 2017, the recommended draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines were published for public review in advance of City Council hearings.

l)  Portland Comprehensive Plan findings on Goal 1, Metropolitan Coordination, and its related policies and objectives also support this goal.

19.  Goal 2, Land Use Planning, requires the development of a process and policy framework which acts as a basis for all land use decisions and assures that decisions and actions are based on an understanding of the facts relevant to the decision. The amendments are supportive of this goal because:

a)  The City of Portland Zoning Code contains procedures that were followed and criteria that have been satisfied for the development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines. The amendments are supportive of this goal because the required legislative process as described in Portland City Code 33.740, Legislative Procedures, was followed.

b)  The amendments are also supportive of this goal because Portland City Code 33.445.040 describes the procedure for adoption of design guidelines for historic and conservation districts. Historic district design guidelines ensure “the conservation and enhancement of the special characteristics of historic resources.”

c)  The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support the factual basis requirement of this goal because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District is designated on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic significance and physical integrity of which is described in detail in Exhibit A.

d)  Portland Comprehensive Plan findings on Goal 1, Metropolitan Coordination, and its related policies and objectives also support this goal.

20.  Goal 5, Natural Resources, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Open Spaces, requires the conservation of open space and the protection of natural, historic, and scenic resources. The amendments support this goal because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines provide clear, district-specific design guidance for changes to a designated historic district significant in the areas of ethnic history and architecture. The guidelines will serve as approval criteria for alterations, additions, and new construction, protecting the character-defining elements of the historic district and enhancing its unique historic and architectural character. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the updated guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation, and new development respect the district’s historic significance, preserve its physical integrity, and contribute to its unique role in Portland’s Central City.

21.  Goal 9, Economic Development, requires provision of adequate opportunities for a variety of economic activities vital to public health, welfare, and prosperity. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by promoting the adaptive reuse, seismic upgrade, and preservation of historic contributing buildings and guiding new construction that is contextually appropriate and enhances the historic district’s unique retail, housing, and commercial opportunities. The long-term preservation of New Chinatown/Japantown’s historic character supports the role the district plays in attracting visitors to the city and boosting Portland’s heritage tourism economy. Furthermore, the adoption of new district-specific design guidelines for New Chinatown/Japantown does not impact, and is consistent with, the City of Portland’s adopted Economic Opportunities Analysis.

22.  Goal 10, Housing, requires provision of housing, including needed housing units, to meet the needs of citizens. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by allowing for the preservation, adaptive reuse, and expansion of contributing historic resources to contain housing units. The guidelines further encourage building forms and expressions that are suited for housing designs consistent with the mixed-use residential character of the district during the historic period. The guidelines encourage the incorporation of balconies, rooftop amenities, and high quality materials, all of which would support active and lasting residential uses. As historic resource review approval criteria, the guidelines do not change the zoned allowances for building height and density.

23.  Goal 11, Public Facilities and Services, requires planning and development of timely, orderly and efficient public service facilities that serve as a framework for urban and rural development. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by intentionally providing clearer guidance for improving pedestrian facilities and the design of the public realm throughout the district.

24.  Goal 12, Transportation, requires provision of a safe, convenient, and economic transportation system. Additionally, the Oregon Transportation Planning Rule (TPR), requires certain findings if a proposed Comprehensive Plan Map amendment, zone change, or regulation will significantly affect an existing or planned transportation facility. The updated guidelines do not increase or decrease development entitlements within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District and therefore do not significantly affect a transportation facility.

25.  Goal 13, Energy Conservation, requires development of a land use pattern that maximizes the conservation of energy based on sound economic principles. The revised guidelines support this goal by encouraging preservation, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and seismic upgrade of existing historic structures in the district. Historic preservation has been demonstrated to be an environmentally sustainable and efficient form of urban development. Reuse of existing buildings preserves the embodied energy within the structure and the sensitive rehabilitation of those buildings, as guided by the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, will allow for the thoughtful energy retrofit of historic buildings.

26.  Goal 14, Urbanization, requires provision of an orderly and efficient transition from rural to urban land use, to accommodate urban population and urban employment inside urban growth boundaries, to ensure efficient use of land, and to provide for livable communities. The goal provides that expansion of urban growth boundaries should only be done to accommodate the growth necessary to supply land for housing, employment, schools, and other public amenities and land uses necessary to support urban areas. The revised guidelines support this goal because they encourage rehabilitation and new construction within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, a subarea that can add additional density of housing and other uses. The guidelines encourage development patterns that maximize the efficient use of development sites and allow for additions to historic buildings.

Findings on Metro Urban Growth Management Functional Plan

Metro’s Urban Growth Management Functional Plan was developed by Portland’s metropolitan regional government to assist local jurisdictions in their implementation of Statewide Planning Goals and the regional development vision. Only the applicable elements of the functional plan are addressed below.

27.  Title 1, Requirements for Housing and Employment Accommodation, requires that each jurisdiction contribute its fair share to increasing the development capacity of land within the Urban Growth Boundary. This requirement is to be generally implemented through citywide analysis based on calculated capacities from land use designations. The revised guidelines do not change the overall amount of development allowed within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines and are therefore consistent with this title.

28.  Title 6, Central City, Regional Centers, Town Centers, and Station Communities, calls for enhancements of these areas as principal centers of urban life via actions and investments by cities and counties, complemented by regional investments. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this title by providing clearer design guidance for property owners, designers, and developers as they consider rehabilitating existing structures and constructing new buildings in an important historic district within the Central City, the primary center of Metro’s 2040 Growth Concept.

Findings on Portland's Comprehensive Plan Goals

The City of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan is the policy document that establishes the framework for the city’s land use planning program and informs such implementing documents as the Zoning Code (Title 33). Although a new Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Portland City Council on June 15, 2016, the new plan does not take effect until January 1, 2018, and, therefore, it is the 1980 Comprehensive Plan that applies to the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines. The following Comprehensive Plan goals, policies, and objectives are relevant and applicable to the amendments.

29.  Goal 1, Metropolitan Coordination, calls for the Comprehensive Plan to be coordinated with federal and state law and to support regional goals, objectives, and plans. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines process included the participation of representatives from city and state agencies, ensuring consistency with applicable local and state plans and policies. The amendments also support this goal because notification of the proposal was provided to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development per ORS 197.610 on August 2, 2016, and notice of the Historic Landmarks Commission hearings on the guidelines was sent to Metro, TriMet, the State Historic Preservation Office, and other agencies on August 2, 2016. In addition, the guidelines do not change the Urban Growth Boundary, Urban Planning Area Boundary, Urban Services Boundary, or the policy or intent of existing regulations relating to metropolitan coordination and regional goals.

30.  Policy 1.4, Intergovernmental Coordination, calls for continuous participation in intergovernmental affairs with public agencies to coordinate metropolitan planning and project development and maximize the efficient use of public funds. The amendments support this policy because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines process identified and included several local agencies and commissions, including Prosper Portland, the Bureau of Development Services, Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, and the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission. Individuals from each of these agencies and commissions participated in the local planning process and were invited to review and comment on different aspects of the design guidelines. Additional findings on Statewide Planning Goal 1, Citizen Involvement, further support this Comprehensive Plan policy.

31.  Goal 2, Urban Development, calls for maintenance of Portland's role as the major regional employment and population center by expanding opportunities for housing and jobs, while retaining the character of established residential neighborhoods and business centers. The amendments support this goal because the design guidelines will serve a critical role in the protection and enhancement of the historic and cultural character of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, a unique commercial district within the downtown core that gained historic significance during the 1880-1943 period. Guidelines specifically encourage the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and the construction of new, compatible infill development.

32.  Policy 2.2, Urban Diversity, calls for promotion of a range of living environments and employment opportunities for Portland residents in order to attract and retain a stable and diverse population. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy by providing clear, district-specific design guidance for development and redevelopment projects in a unique part of the Central City, helping to preserve and enhance the historic district’s special historic and cultural urban character. Because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District is adjacent to, and overlapping with, the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, which has its own set of district-specific design guidelines adopted in 2016, changes in the greater Old Town/Chinatown district will allow for a range of building types and architectural expressions to support myriad uses, including retention of existing affordable housing and social services, as well as new market-rate housing development.

33.  Policy 2.6. Open Space, calls for the provision of opportunities for recreation and visual relief by preserving Portland's parks, golf courses, trails, parkways, and cemeteries. The amendments are consistent with this policy because the guidelines specifically support the activation of the public realm along the festival streets of NW Davis and NW Flanders, enhancement of views to and from the Lan Su Chinese Garden, and connections with Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Japanese American Historical Plaza.

34.  Policy 2.10, Downtown Portland, calls for the reinforcement of downtown’s position as the principal commercial, service, cultural, and high density housing center in the city and the region. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy by encouraging the preservation and rehabilitation of historic structures as well as compatible new development within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, a National Register district and the Central City’s only historic district significant for ethnic history. The guidelines encourage urban development patterns that lend themselves to dense housing and office uses appropriate for the district’s proximity to the downtown core.

35.  Policy 2.19, Infill and Redevelopment, calls for encouraging infill and redevelopment as a way to implement the Livable City growth principles and accommodate expected increases in population and employment. This policy also calls for infill and redevelopment within the Central City. The guidelines support this policy by providing clearer design guidance for rehabilitation and encouraging contextually appropriate development and redevelopment within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. Several surface parking lots and underutilized non-contributing buildings provide meaningful opportunities for new infill development within the district and many contributing historic buildings can be used more intensively for housing and other uses.

36.  Policy 2.20, Utilization of Vacant Land, calls for providing for full utilization of existing vacant land except in those areas designated as Open Space. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy by encouraging contextually sensitive development on surface parking and vacant lots in the downtown core and encouraging infill projects be built to street wall and fully utilize development parcels.

37.  Policy 2.22, Mixed-use, calls for continuation of a mechanism that will allow for the maintenance and enhancement of areas of mixed-use character where such areas act as buffers and where opportunities exist for the creation of mixed-use nodes. The guidelines are consistent with this policy by providing clearer design guidance for rehabilitation and new development projects and encouraging contextually appropriate development and redevelopment within a historic mixed-use commercial and residential district in the Central City. The guidelines specially address storefront opportunities to increase the vitality and unique expression of the ground floors of buildings, new and old.

38.  Policy 2.25, Central City Plan, calls for continued investment within Portland’s Central City while enhancing its attractiveness for work, recreation and living. This policy further calls for implementation of the Central City Plan through coordinated development that provides aid and protection to Portland’s citizens, and enhances the Central City’s special natural, cultural, and aesthetic features. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy because they provide clearer design guidance for property owners, designers, and developers proposing changes to existing buildings and new construction within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. As approval criteria to be met in historic resource review, the guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation, and new development projects respect the district’s historic character and enhance its unique sense of place. The guidelines encourage contextually sensitive development and reinvestment that will improve the area’s long-term vitality for housing, retail, and commercial uses.

39.  Goal 3, Neighborhoods, calls for preservation and reinforcement of the stability and diversity of the city's neighborhoods while allowing for increased density. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal as they promote historically and culturally sensitive infill development and rehabilitation projects in an area with surface parking lots. The guidelines will help ensure that new development projects honor the district’s historic character and contribute to its unique sense of place.

40.  Policy 3.4, Historic Preservation, calls for the preservation and retention of historic structures and areas throughout the city. The amendments support this goal because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines provide clear design guidance for property owners, designers, and developers proposing changes within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. As historic resource review approval criteria, the updated design guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation, and new construction projects protect the district’s historic and cultural character. Findings for Statewide Planning Goal 5, Natural Resources, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Open Spaces, further supports this policy.

41.  Policy 3.5, Neighborhood Involvement, provides for the active involvement of neighborhood residents and businesses in decisions affecting their neighborhood. An extensive public involvement process was used in the development of the revised guidelines which engaged a wide variety of stakeholders, consistent with this policy. Upon adoption, the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines will serve as approval criteria to be used in historic resource review, a land use review which allows for public comment on projects that are subject to review. The findings for Statewide Planning Goal 1, Public Involvement, and the general findings also demonstrate support for this policy.

42.  Policy 3.6, Neighborhood Plan, calls for maintaining and enforcing neighborhood plans that are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and that have been adopted by City Council. Findings for Central City Plan policies 1, 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 14, and 16 and the Downtown Plan policy for Planning District 19 demonstrate support for this policy.

43.  Goal 4, Housing, calls for enhancing Portland’s vitality as a community at the center of the region’s housing market by providing housing of different types, tenures, density, sizes, costs, and locations that accommodates the needs, preferences, and financial capabilities of current and future households. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal because they encourage rehabilitation and contextually sensitive new development in a distinctive Central City location. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District was much more dense during its period of historic significance (1880-1943), and the design guidelines encourage the infilling of sites that formerly included housing with residential and other uses allowed in the zone.

44.  Objective C, calls for considering the cumulative impact of regulations on the ability of housing developers to meet current and future housing demand. The amendments support this objective because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines provide clear design guidance for proposed developments, including housing projects, which must be approved through the discretionary historic resource review process in the district. Addition, alteration, and new construction projects are currently subject to the Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines and River District Design Guidelines, neither of which provides clarity on how development teams should best address the unique context of the historic district in their proposed projects. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines will replace the River District Design Guidelines to provide greater clarity and consistency in the review of projects within this subarea of Portland’s Central City. The Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines will still also apply to New Chinatown/Japantown.

45.  Objective E, calls for the efficient use of infrastructure by focusing well-designed new and redeveloped housing on vacant, infill, or under-developed land. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this objective by encouraging rehabilitation and contextually sensitive new infill development, which can include housing, within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. The historic district includes numerous surface parking lots which can be intentionally redeveloped to support the historic district’s architectural and cultural historic character.

46.  Objective F, calls for housing design that supports the conservation, enhancement, and continued vitality of areas of the city with special scenic, historic, architectural or cultural value. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this objective by replacing existing approval criteria with district-specific approval criteria that respond to the unique characteristics of the historic district.

47.  Goal 5, Economic Development, calls for promotion of a strong and diverse economy that provides a full range of employment and economic choices for individuals and families in all parts of the city. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal because they encourage compatible development and investment within the historic district that can provide a variety of new commercial opportunities and also strengthen the district’s historic and cultural character and tourism appeal. By promoting contextual redevelopment and the long-term preservation of the district’s historic resources, the guidelines support the role the district plays in attracting visitors within and to the city and boosting Portland’s opportunities for cultural and heritage tourism.

48.  Policy 5.1, Urban Development and Revitalization, calls for encouraging investment in the development, redevelopment, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of urban land and buildings for employment and housing opportunities. The revised guidelines support this policy by providing clearer design guidance for property owners, designers, and development teams proposing rehabilitation and new construction projects in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, an urbanized area with many opportunities to increase the efficient use of existing buildings and redevelop surface parking lots.

49.  Objective E calls for defining and developing Portland’s cultural, historic, recreational, educational and environmental assets as important marketing and image-building tools of the city’s business districts and neighborhoods. New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this objective because they ensure that alteration, addition, and new construction projects are informed by and respond to the district’s cultural and historic character and sense of place, enhancing its opportunity as a unique historic and cultural asset for the city. As Portland’s only historic district designated in part for its significant ethnic history, New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District expresses a significant part of Portland’s history and can provide lasting memory for how the Central City and region developed during the 1880-1943 period.

50.  Policy 5.6, Area Character, calls for promotion and enhancement of the special character and identity of Portland’s designated commercial areas. The design guidelines support this policy because they will strengthen the unique character and vibrancy of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District.

51.  Goal 6, Transportation, calls for developing a balanced, equitable, and efficient transportation system that provides a range of transportation choices, reinforces the livability of neighborhoods; supports a strong and diverse economy; reduces air, noise, and water pollution; and lessens reliance on the automobile while maintaining accessibility. The amendments make no changes to development allowances (allowed height or bulk) or the transportation system. These amendments do encourage contextually sensitive development with active ground floor environments in an area with excellent access to existing transit service and pedestrian and bicycle facilities and are therefore consistent with this goal and related policies. The guidelines specifically address enhancement of the public realm along Festival Streets, including allowing for “uses to spill out into these special areas” to foster a strong pedestrian and bicycle environment.

52.  Goal 7, Energy, calls for promotion of a sustainable energy future by increasing energy efficiency in all areas of the city. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by encouraging preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of existing historic structures in the district, which has been demonstrated to be a sustainable and efficient form of development. Reuse of existing buildings preserves embodied energy, reduces the need for resource-intensive new construction, and provides opportunities for energy retrofits. Guidelines specifically address opportunities for solar energy systems and seismic upgrades for historic buildings.

53.  Goal 8, Environment, calls for the maintenance and improvement of the quality of Portland's air, water, and land resources. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal by encouraging the preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive re-use of existing historic structures in the district. Reuse of existing buildings preserves the embodied energy within the structure and reduces the need for resource-intensive new construction.

54.  Goal 9, Citizen Involvement, calls for improved methods and ongoing opportunities for citizen involvement in the land use decision-making process. The development of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines was a partnership between Prosper Portland and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, informed by a 10-member SAC. Project outreach efforts included open SAC meetings, two district open houses, mailings to interested parties, and commission briefings. Historic resource review is a land use review that allows for public notice of and involvement importunities in alteration, addition, and new construction projects that are subject to the review. Additional public involvement and outreach activities during the preparation of the revised guidelines are summarized in the findings for Statewide Planning Goal 1, Citizen Involvement and also demonstrate support for this goal.

55.  Policy 9.1, Citizen Involvement Coordination, calls for encouraging citizen involvement in land use planning projects through coordination with community organizations, availability of planning reports, and notice of public hearings. The amendments support this policy because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines were developed with feedback and input from representatives of local neighborhood associations, relevant community organizations, and City of Portland commissions. The findings for Statewide Planning Goal 1, Citizen Involvement, and the general findings also demonstrate support for this policy.

56. Goal 10, Plan Review and Administration, calls for periodic review of the Comprehensive Plan, implementation of the Plan, addressing amendments to the Plan, to the Plan Map, and to the Zoning Code and Zoning Map. The amendments support this goal because they resulted from a review of the existing design review approval criteria within the district and development of new approval criteria that respond to the unique historic, cultural, and architectural features of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines replace the River District Design Guidelines as historic resource review approval criteria in the historic district.

57.  Policy 10.10, Amendments to the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, requires amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations to be clear, concise, and applicable to the broad range of development situations faced by a growing, urban city. The amendments make no changes to the Zoning Code but support this policy by providing descriptive, visual, and clear approval criteria in guidelines that are intentionally developed for the 10-block New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. The district-specific design guidelines were developed by City staff, the Historic Landmarks Commission, and stakeholders from the development community with the intention of honoring the unique character of the historic district and making it easier for applicants and administrators to apply historic resource review approval criteria for alteration, addition, and new construction projects.

58.  Policy 10.13, Design Review, calls for development of recommendations for City Council consideration for additional areas where design review would be appropriate and preparation of design review standards and guidelines for both existing and proposed areas. The amendments do not expand the application of design review, but support this policy because they provide district-specific approval criteria for historic resource review in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines replace the River District Design Guidelines as approval criteria in the historic district. The existing Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines apply to most areas of the Central City, including New Chinatown/Japantown; in addition to the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, the Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines will continue to apply to alteration, addition, and new construction projects in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District.

59.  Public Facilities General Goal 11-A, calls for provision of a timely, orderly, and efficient arrangement of public facilities and services that support existing and planned land use patterns and densities. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this goal because they encourage rehabilitation and context-sensitive new construction in an area of Portland’s Central City that has excellent access to public facilities and services.

60.  Goal 12, Urban Design, calls for the enhancement of Portland as a livable city, attractive in its setting and dynamic in its urban character by preserving its history and building a substantial legacy of quality private developments and public improvements for the use and enjoyment of future generations. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this goal because they provide improved approval criteria for historic resource review, promote excellence in building design and construction materials, and protect the physical integrity and historic and cultural character of a unique place within Portland’s built environment.

61.  Policy 12.1, Portland’s Character, calls for enhancing and extending Portland’s attractive identity by building on design elements, features, and themes identified within the city. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy because they promote reinvestment and revitalization in a National Register historic district and because they replace the broader River District Design Guidelines as approval criteria for the historic district so to better guide how alteration, addition, and new construction projects protect contributing historic resources and allow for infill that is highly responsive of the district’s architectural and cultural significance.

62.  Policy 12.2, Enhancing Variety, calls for promoting the development of areas of special identity and urban character. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy because they ensure rehabilitation and new construction projects preserve the district’s unique cultural and historic features and enhance its distinctive urban form and identity. Application of the guidelines will restore New Chinatown/Japantown’s distinction from other areas of Portland’s Central City. Elements such as projecting signs, balconies, awnings, and unique ground floor treatments will both honor the district’s authentic story and foster the development of an urban environment unique in the region.

63.  Policy 12.3, Historic Preservation, calls for enhancing the city’s identity through the protection of Portland’s significant historic resources. The amendments support this policy because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines provide clear district-specific design guidance and describe best practices for property owners, designers, and development teams proposing changes to contributing historic resources and new construction in New Chinatown/Japantown, a designated historic district. As required historic resource review approval criteria for alterations, additions, and new construction, the design guidelines will ensure that rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and new construction projects respond to the district’s historic and cultural history, preserve its physical integrity, and contribute to its unique sense of place. Findings for Statewide Planning Goal 5, Natural Resources, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Open Spaces, further supports this policy.

64.  Policy 12.4, Provide for Pedestrians, calls for providing a pleasant, rich, and diverse experience for pedestrians, including comfortable, safe, and attractive pathways. The guidelines support this policy because they encourage alteration, addition, and new construction projects that reinforce the pedestrian scale, form, and design of buildings in the district and provide a rich, varied, and contextually-informed public realm.

65.  Policy 12.5, Promote the Arts, calls for the promotion of the arts and excellence in design, with art placed at locations that are visible to the public. The guidelines support this policy by specifically addressing exposed lot-line walls and encouraging the incorporation of visual interest into such walls, including providing for embellishments, murals and other art, and incorporating and/or retaining historic faded painted signs where they exist.

66.  Policy 12.6, Preserve Neighborhoods, calls for preserving and supporting the qualities of individual neighborhoods that help to make them attractive places. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy by providing district-specific design guidance that will help ensure that rehabilitation projects and new development preserve the district’s unique historic and cultural character and enhance its distinctive urban design qualities. Findings for Statewide Planning Goal 5, Natural Resources, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Open Spaces, further supports this policy.

67.  Policy 12.7, Design Quality, calls for enhancing Portland’s appearance and character through development of public and private projects that are models of innovation and leadership in the design of the built environment. The amendments support this policy by adopting district-specific historic resource review approval criteria, which are applicable to all exterior alteration, addition, and new construction projects within the historic district. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines will promote context-sensitive development projects and excellence in building design and construction materials.

Findings on Central City Plan

The Central City Plan was adopted in 1988 as an area-specific update of the Comprehensive Plan for Portland's central city neighborhoods. The Central City Plan built upon the work of the Downtown Plan, extending its geographic area and expanding its range of policy concerns. The plan provides guidance for the growth and enhancement of Portland's Central City. In 1995, the plan was amended with the incorporation of the River District Plan policies. Although a new Central City Plan has been recommended for adoption by the Portland City Council, the new plan will not take effect until 2018, and, therefore, it is the 1988 Central City Plan, as amended, that applies to the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines. The following policies are relevant and applicable to the amendments:

68.  Policy 1, Economic Development, calls for the City to build upon the Central City as the economic heart of the Columbia Basin, and guide its growth to further the City’s prosperity and livability. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this policy because they encourage compatible development and investment within the historic district that can provide new commercial opportunities and strengthen the district’s cultural and historic character and tourism appeal. By promoting contextually appropriate development and the long-term preservation of the district’s historic resources, the guidelines support the role New Chinatown/Japantown plays in attracting visitors to the city and boosting Portland’s cultural and heritage tourism economy.

69.  Policy 3, Housing, calls for the maintenance of the Central City’s status as Oregon’s principle high density housing area by keeping housing production in pace with new job creation. New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this policy because they encourage contextually sensitive new development and rehabilitation of existing buildings in a distinctive Central City subarea, including housing.

70.  Policy 4, Transportation, calls for improvements to the Central City’s accessibility to the rest of the region and its ability to accommodate growth, by extending the light rail system and by maintaining and improving other forms of transit and the street and highway system, while preserving and enhancing the City’s livability. The amendments make no changes to the transportation system. These amendments do encourage contextually sensitive development and unique ground floor activation in an area with excellent access to existing transit service and pedestrian and bicycle facilities and are therefore consistent with this policy.

71.  Policy 6, Public Safety, calls for protection of citizens and their property, and the creation of an environment in which people feel safe. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines are consistent with this policy because they will facilitate contextually sensitive new development and investment in a district that has less on-street activity than it did during the historic period. Guidelines specifically address public safety and property protection opportunities, such as allowing for security lighting and gates that are informed by the district’s architectural characteristics.

72.  Policy 11, Historic Preservation, calls for the preservation and enhancement of historically and architecturally important buildings and places and promotes the creation of legacy for the future. The amendments support this policy because the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines provide clear district-specific design guidance and describe best practices for property owners, designers, and development teams proposing changes to contributing historic resources and new construction in a designated National Register historic district. As required approval criteria for historic resource review, the guidelines will help ensure that preservation, rehabilitation, and new development projects respect the district’s cultural and historic character, preserve its physical integrity, and contribute to its unique sense of place.

73.  Policy 12, Urban Design, calls for the enhancement of the Central City as a livable, walkable area which focuses on the river and captures the glitter and excitement of city living. Objectives of this goal include the formation of districts with unique character, excellence in design, and a rich pedestrian environment. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy as they honor the historic district’s unique character-defining features, such as architectural styles, materials, balconies, signs, rich storefront environments, and authentic expressions of Japanese and Chinese culture during the 1880-1943 period. The guidelines offer visual examples and lengthy background statements on how each approval criterion can be met, supporting the enhancement of this subarea as a unique part of the Central City and region.

74.  Policy 14, Downtown, calls for strengthening the Downtown as the heart of the region, maintaining its role as the preeminent business location in the region, expanding its role in retailing, housing, and tourism, and reinforcing its cultural, educational, entertainment, governmental and ceremonial activities. The revised guidelines support this policy because they will help ensure that changes in the built environment respect the historic character and contribute to the unique sense of place of the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, a defining subarea of the Central City and an important historic and cultural resource for the region. The guidelines encourage contextually sensitive infill and reinvestment in existing building that will improve the area’s vitality, encourage tourism, and honor and preserve a unique multi-ethnic historic place.

75.  Policy 16, North of Burnside, calls for extending downtown development towards Union Station and the Broadway Bridge while protecting existing housing and social services for the district’s special needs populations. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this policy by providing approval criteria for place-based infill construction that is appropriate to the historic district’s architectural features, while also responding to the rich transit and pedestrian amenities of the area. The guidelines’ special attention to architectural and cultural urban design features is directly supportive of the policy.

Findings on the Downtown Plan

76.  Planning District 19, North of Burnside, calls for redevelopment and rehabilitation of buildings to support new housing and social programs for existing residents. The Plan calls for retention of Chinese and Japanese businesses, mixed use construction, the activation of a strong retail environment. The New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines support this planning district because of focus on rehabilitation of existing buildings and construction of new buildings that are informed by the multi-ethnic history of the district and supportive of the addition of new housing and other uses. Rehabilitation and new construction projects subject to the guidelines will further enhance the urban design character of this unique subarea.


POLICY

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:

a.  Adopt the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, attached as Exhibit A, as approval criteria for historic resource review within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District;

b.  Adopt the background statements included in Exhibit A as legislative intent and further findings; and

c.  This Ordinance and Exhibit A are binding City policy.

Link to Exhibit A  (PDF Document, 5.3 MB)


HISTORY

Ordinance No. 188623, passed by City Council September 27, 2017 and effective October 27, 2017.