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Design Reviews

Learn more about when you need to apply for design review. Get required forms for a design review like the application for land use reviews and the early assistance application. Learn more about design review requirements and approval criteria.

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Design review is used to ensure the conservation, enhancement, and continued vitality of the identified scenic, architectural, and cultural values of each design district or area and to promote quality development near transit facilities.

Design review is required for certain development proposals for development located within the Design Overlay Zone. The Design Overlay Zone is shown on the Official Zoning Maps with a letter ’d’ map symbol. For some proposals, the applicant may choose to meet the objective standards of Chapter 33.218, Community Design Standards instead of going through the Design Review process set out in Chapter 33.825, Design Review.

As part of the design review application, a modification or adjustment may be required if the proposal does not meet certain development standards.

  • Design modifications may be requested as part of the design review for standards that are not met.
  • Adjustment reviews may be requested concurrent with the design review for use-related standards that are not met (such as floor area rations, intensity of use, size of the use, number of uses, or concentration of uses).

Please contact Planning and Zoning for more information about applying for a design review. 

Design review procedure

Design Reviews are processed through a Type Ix, Type II, or Type III procedure. For review thresholds, see Portland Zoning Code Section 33.825.025. A Pre-application conference is required prior to submittal of all Type III reviews. A Design Advice Request is an optional request for feedback from the Design Commission prior to submittal of a Type III design review or Type III historic design review. An optional Early Assistance Appointment may also be requested for less complex projects not requiring a pre-application conference.

Design review approval criteria 

Applicable approval criteria depends on the location of the project site within the ‘d’ overlay zone.

Design review applications and forms 

Visit Land Use and Final Plat Applications for instructions on how to apply for a Land Use Review.

Complete this application form to apply:

Use this list to identify submittal requirements:

 A pre-application conference is required for all Type III Land Use Reviews:

 Sign this form within 21 days of application date to allow submittal of new information if a Type III decision is appealed:

More information about design reviews

Address applicable Design Guidelines with your design review application- Design and historic review guidelines

Design review fees