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Something Old Gets Something New: Potential Amendments to Historic Resources Code Project Available for Public Review and Testimony

News Article
City Council to hold a December 15 public hearing on final amendments to code updates for Portland’s older buildings and historic districts; register in advance to testify or submit your testimony in writing.

The City of Portland is close to having a new set of rules that would determine the future of Portland’s older buildings and neighborhoods. After four years of research, analysis and outreach by City staff, the Portland City Council will hear one final round of testimony on potential amendments to the proposals included the Historic Resource Code Project (HRCP).

Following a November 3 public hearing that lasted nearly six hours and a review of written testimony, three Commissioners have introduced eight potential amendments to the HRCP code updates for further consideration prior to adoption.

Commissioners Mapps, Rubio, and Ryan prepared the amendments in response to testimony submitted by over 120 Portlanders representing a broad range of community sentiment. Potential amendment themes range from changes to the approval criteria for demolition review to allowing additional process flexibility for some affordable housing proposals in historic districts. 

The eight potential amendments address the following topics:

  1. Bonus height allowances in the CM2 zone.
  2. Historic resource review procedure types for affordable housing.
  3. Demolition review approval criteria.
  4. Refinements to 120-day delay (AKA demolition delay).
  5. Legislative processes to establish or remove local districts.
  6. Historic Landmarks Commission membership categories.
  7. Historic resource review procedure types for the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District.
  8. Minor and technical amendments provided by staff from the bureaus of Planning and Sustainability as well as Development Services.  

A memo describing each of the potential amendments is available as a PDF.

City Council will hold a public hearing on the amendments on December 15 at 2 p.m.; advance registration is required. Portlanders can also submit written testimony online through the Map App until the start of the hearing.  

HRCP community workshop
Development of the HRCP code amendment has been informed by four years of community participation.

Why these amendments?

Last June, following a unanimous recommendation, the Planning and Sustainability Commission submitted the HRCP Recommended Draft of zoning code amendments to City Council. On November 3, Council held a public hearing on the Recommended Draft, at which 122 people testified. In addition, more than 300 pieces of written testimony were submitted via the Map App.

In the weeks following the hearing, Council offices reviewed the written and oral testimony to identify potential amendments to the Recommended Draft. On December 1, eight potential amendments were published for further public consideration.

How to testify

Written testimony on the amendments can be submitted online through the Map App until at least 2 p.m. on December 15, 2021, at which time City Council will hold a public hearing on the potential amendments. To testify at the hearing, please register online by December 14 at 4 p.m. Oral testimony will be limited to 2 minutes unless stated otherwise at the hearing. Only testimony concerning the eight potential amendments will be considered.

Next steps

Following consideration of written and oral testimony, City Council will vote on each of the eight potential amendments to the HRCP Recommended Draft. Project staff will return to City Council on January 19, 2022, with amended project documents reflecting the amendments that Commissioners support. A final City Council vote on the HRCP is scheduled for January 26, 2022. Code changes are expected to take effect March 1, 2022.