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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Portland Design Commission

Deadline for Applicants: Open & Continuous

Staff Liaison: Tim Heron,, 503-823-7726

Leanne Torgerson,, 503-823-7937

Application and instructions are at the bottom of this webpage.

Purpose and Background

It is important for people who are interested in serving on the committee to understand and support the background and mission of this volunteer committee.

The Design Commission, authorized under Portland City Code 33.710.050, provides leadership and expertise on urban design and architecture and on maintaining and enhancing Portland’s historical and architectural heritage.  The Design Commission consists of seven members, none of whom may hold public elective office.  The Commission must include a representative of the Regional Arts and Culture Council, one person representing the public at-large, and five members experienced in either design, engineering, financing, construction or management of buildings, and land development. No more than two members may be appointed from any one of these areas of expertise.  The Regional Arts and Culture Council member is nominated by the Regional Arts and Culture Council chair and approved by the Mayor.  The other members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.  The term shall be maximum 4 years, limited to a maximum of two full terms.

The Commission powers and duties include:

1. Recommending the establishment, amendment, or removal of a design district to the Planning Commission and City Council, except Historic Districts and Conservation Districts;

2. Developing design guidelines for adoption by City Council for all design districts except Historic Districts and Conservation Districts;

3. Reviewing major developments within design districts, except those projects involving or located within the following:

a. Historic Districts;

b. Conservation Districts;

c. Historic Landmarks; and

d. Conservation Landmarks.

4. Reviewing other land use requests assigned to the Design Commission; and

5. Providing advice on design matters to the Hearings Officer, Planning Commission, Historic Landmarks Commission, Portland Development Commission, and City Council.


To be eligible for the Design Commission, members must live, play, worship, go to school, work or do business in the City of Portland.

Total number of advisory seats: 7

Number of seats available: 0

Desired Attributes

You believe in the public participation in government process.

You are an advocate for racial equity.

You are available to attend all meeting and participate in the discussions.

Terms & Time Commitment

The commission meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 1:30 p.m. at 1900 SW 4th Avenue. 

Members will serve a term of 4 years, limited to a maximum of two full terms.

Members are expected to prepare for meetings on their own time.  Arrive ready to discuss meeting materials and agenda items.  Meeting materials for review are typically sent one week in advance. 

Public Official Conflict of Interest Notice e Remove Barriers

Those selected to serve on this body will be legally considered public officials for the duration of their service.  As such, they will be required to publicly disclose potential conflicts of interest.  If potential conflicts of interest are not disclosed, individual members are subject to education or monetary sanctions from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.  Having potential conflicts of interest does not preclude you from serving on this body and may not impact your ability to participate fully on this body.  Stakeholders often have potential conflicts of interest by the nature of having interest in the work.  The Conflict of Interest Disclosure is included in the application.  Please fill all conflicts of interest on your application.

Application Process

Application are open until filled.

To be considered, please be sure to submit a completed and signed application form, and your resumé, if available.  Send the application to


To talk with someone about this opportunity or to receive assistance completing the application, please contact the advisory body staff liaison at or 503-823-7726.

Voluntary & Confidential Demographic Information

The City is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity and uses provided demographic information to help ensure that advisory body appointments represent a broad cross-section of community.  Your information will not be used during the recruitment nor the selection process.  State and federal las prohibit use of this information to discriminate against you.  The City will treat this information as confidential to the fullest extent allowed by law.  Questions about this may be sent to

General Questions

For general questions about the Advisory Bodies program, the volunteer recruitment process, or other upcoming advisory body opportunities please email

We Encourage You to Apply

We welcome you to browse our website to learn more about the bureau.

For more information about the Portland Design Commission, please visit the  BDS website.  

Applications are kept on file for future vacancies.  To talk with someone about these opportunities or to receive assistance completing the application, please contact the advisory body staff liaison at or 503-823-7726.