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Overview of the Zoning Code

Learn more about zoning regulations, the hierarchy of regulations, zoning code administration, and land use services.
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The Portland Zoning Code (Title 33) is intended to implement Portland’s Comprehensive (or long-range) Plan and related land use plans in a manner that protects the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Portland.

The boundaries of the base zones, overlay zones, and plan districts are shown on the official zoning maps of the City of Portland. The maps also show the location of historic landmarks, existing and planned public recreational trails, and other zoning features.

Zoning regulations

Several types of zoning regulations may affect a property. You will need to research all of these regulations to determine what is allowed on your property.

  • Base Zones - All properties within the City of Portland have a base zone. The base zones include residential zones, commercial zones, and employment and industrial zones.
  • Overlay Zones - Some properties have overlay zones that consist of regulations that address specific subjects in particular areas of the City. For example, the design overlay ‘d’ is applied to areas where design and neighborhood character are of special concern.
  • Plan Districts - Some areas of the City are located within plan districts that may have additional regulations that can impact a project. For example, the Portland International Airport is in a plan district with special requirements for building height and vegetation that can be planted.
  • Additional use and development regulations- Some uses and development types have additional regulations that apply. For example, school uses or parking lots have additional regulations that apply.

Hierarchy of regulations

In general, an area with base zoning, overlay zoning, or an area in a plan district is subject to all the regulations of each. Where a land division is requested, the land division regulations also must be met.

When the regulations have different requirements for the same standard (such as setbacks or ground floor windows), unless specifically indicated otherwise, the following rules apply:

  • Plan district regulations superscede regulations in overlay zones, base zones, and land division series of chapters.
  • Overlay zone regulations supersede regulations in base zones and land division series of chapters.
  • Plan district and overlay zone regulations also supersede conflicting regulations for a specific use or development stated in the additional use and development regulations series of chapters.
  • The regulations in the additional use and development regulations series of chapters supersede regulations in the land division series of chapters
  • When regulations at the same level conflict, those that are more specific to the situation apply.

For more information on the hierarchy of the zoning code, view Chapter 33.700, Administration and Enforcement

Zoning maps

Find zoning regulations for a site and search zoning maps: Find Zoning Regulations and Zoning Maps.

Zoning code administration

Land Use Services administers the Portland Zoning Code (Title 33 of the City Code).

This administration includes:

  • Providing planning and zoning assistance to homeowners, neighbors, developers, designers, contractors, and interested citizens.
  • Reviewing permits to ensure that all applicable zoning code standards and regulations are met.
  • Processing land use reviews, which involve judgment and discretion in determining compliance with approval criteria.

Land Use Services does not create or change Zoning regulations. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability works with neighborhoods, business organizations, and other groups to propose changes to the Zoning Code in public legislative processes.  Those changes are then adopted by the Portland City Council. For more information on current proposals to change the Zoning Code, visit the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability website.

Land Use Services administers the Portland Zoning Code in the City of Portland and in some unincorporated areas of Multnomah County. The zoning code is designed to implement City, regional, state, and some federal regulations.

Historic zoning and land division codes from past years can be found in Title 33 Planning and Zoning.

Get help understanding the zoning on your property

Before starting any project, please call General Inquiries at (503) 823-7300. 

Leave a message with Land Use Service staff. Include:

  • Your name
  • The property address
  • Your zoning questions, and
  • A call-back number or an email address if you prefer an email answer

A Planner will return your call to discuss: 

  • What types of plans you will need to submit with your zoning permit application
  • If there are any specific requirements
  • If the project requires a land use review before it may proceed

Land Use Services staff will help you understand the zoning that applies to your property and next steps.