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Proposed historic resource code amendments released for public review

News article

Discussion draft of code amendments addresses the inventory, designation and protection of historic resources; public invited to give feedback on proposals by April 1.


Portland’s historic buildings and other resources are the subject of a Discussion Draft of potential changes to the zoning code. Historic resources aren’t just old buildings but bridges, cemeteries and landscapes. Within the city limits, there are roughly 10,000 of them that are subject to protections. And that number will grow as more buildings reach the 50-year mark. 

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has released a Discussion Draft of proposed zoning code amendments that would change the City of Portland’s rules for inventorying, designating and protecting historic resources. The proposals are based on feedback staff received during an earlier concept development phase that resulted in 3,442 unique comments from the public.

Read the staff report and proposed zoning code changes, as well as summary documents

Portlanders are invited to give feedback on the proposals through April 1, 2019. Send comments to

Proposal themes

The Historic Resources Code Project was initiated in late 2017 to improve Portland’s historic preservation programs. The project’s overarching goal is to better align procedures and regulations with the 2035 Comprehensive Plan's guiding policies for historic resources.

The draft code amendments propose important changes to the rules and procedures for inventorying significant historic resources, designating new landmarks and districts, and protecting designated historic resources. Code amendments fall into 10 general themes:

1. Expand the Historic Resource Inventory.
2. Establish procedures for adding and removing significant resources from the Historic Resource Inventory.

3. Refine the specifics of the existing two-tier protection system:
   a. Historic Landmarks and Districts.
   b. Conservation Landmarks and Districts.
4. Incorporate historic preservation best practice into the designation process.
5. Lower the owner-consent thresholds for local historic resource designations.

6. Align protections for future National Register listings with State regulations.
7. Increase the demolition protections that apply to locally-designated historic resources.
8. Refine the design protections that apply to designated historic resources.
9. Increase incentives for reuse and rehabilitation.

10. Revise Historic Landmarks Commission powers and duties.

Learn more and provide feedback

Project staff will offer a series of public events in February and March to share information with community members and answer their questions about the proposals. Portlanders and historic building enthusiasts can learn more and talk with staff at an upcoming open house.  

Historic Resources Code Project Discussion Draft Kickoff Open House

February 19, 2019, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Avenue
TriMet: Lines 6, 15, and Portland Streetcar

See other public events on the Historic Resources Code Project calendar.

To review proposed code language and supplemental summaries of the proposals, please visit the project document library.

Have questions or feedback?

Questions and written feedback can be directed to Brandon Spencer-Hartle, Historic Resources Program Manager, at 503-823-4641 or Please submit feedback by April 1, 2019. It’s helpful to include a bulleted list of specific concepts and/or code citations when submitting written comments.

Next steps

Following the comment period, staff will incorporate feedback into the next draft of the zoning code changes (the Proposed Draft), likely released in summer 2019. The Proposed Draft will go to the Planning and Sustainability Commission for public hearings and amendments before a Recommended Draft goes to City Council. City Council will hold public hearings in late 2019 before adopting code amendments.