About the DOZA project

Purpose, background, timeline, and contact information for the DOZA project.

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Project purpose

Design is an important part of any good urban space. That’s why the City of Portland is updating its design overlay (d-overlay) zone to ensure our public spaces meet the needs of current and future residents.

By 2035, the City is expected to grow by 123,000 households. Most of this growth will occur within the Central City and Portland’s neighborhood centers and corridors. The d-overlay aims to support the city’s evolution within these urbanizing areas.

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project is updating the rules and processes for Portland’s d-overlay and design review program, and we want to share the latest drafts of changes to the process and tools for design review across the city.

Project background and timeline

In 2016, the Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Development Services (BDS) hired a consultant team to assess the City’s design overlay zone (d-overlay). The result was the Design Overlay Zone Assessment, which included a set of findings and recommendations to improve the process and tools that implement the d-overlay. City Council voted to accept the report in April 2017.

Now, BPS and BDS have put those recommendations into action with the DOZA package, currently moving through legislative hearings with a proposed effective date for 2021. The package comprises three parts:

  1. DOZA Process. This part amends the Zoning Code to update how the design overlay works. It will include adjusting the thresholds for Design Review, improving public notice requirements and realigning the City’s Design Review process with the applicants’ design process.
  2. DOZA Tools. This part rewrites two primary tools used to implement the design overlay:  1) the objective design standards and 2) discretionary design guidelines. A goal of this part is to update the tools to achieve better design parity between the standards and the guidelines and to be consistent with the update Comprehensive Plan.
  3. DOZA Administration. This part is an ongoing effort to make the Design Review process more efficient through internal changes at BDS. Examples include increasing staff capacity, managing Design Commission meetings more effectively, and using new tools to facilitate Commission deliberation.