Storm damage recovery

About the DOZA project

Sidewalk cafe in front of 4-story building with ground floor retail. People at cafe and on sidewalk.
Purpose, key changes, timeline, and contact information for the DOZA project.
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Project context 

The design of places matters because people experience their built environment daily. Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan reaffirms the City’s commitment to grow up — not out. To do so, our city will see larger and denser development than the built environment today. 

Over the next 20 years, 60% of projected housing units will be built in Portland’s highest capacity centers and corridors, like Lents, Hollywood, Gateway, and the Central City. These populated areas are zoned with design overlay or d overlay. That’s why the City of Portland is updating its d-overlay zone to ensure that new development meets the needs of current and future residents. 

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project has updated the tools and processes for Portland’s d-overlay and design review program, to address the changes made within the Comprehensive Plan with a focus on areas of growth. 

DOZA purpose 

The City’s design priorities are expressed through three tenets: build on context, contribute to public realm, and promote quality and resilience. 

  • Build on context: The design of new development should expand and amplify the character and identity of a place and its community, rather than diminish it. 
  • Contribute to public realm: Design should consider the human experience from the public realm and throughout the site, not just how a building looks from the street.  
  • Promote quality and resilience: Buildings should be designed to last beyond today’s users and needs, to ensure that future generations will retain and adapt them. 

Key changes 

Along with updating the purpose of the Design overlay zone to reflect the above priorities, DOZA made several changes to update the tools and processes used to review applications within the Design overlay zone. Changes include: 

  • Updating the thresholds that trigger the requirements of the Design overlay zones, including exemptions and the assignment of land use reviews.

  • Allowing a greater number of projects to use the objective design standards, including some projects within the Gateway plan district. 

  • Creating a new set of objective design standards that employs a menu approach to provide flexibility. These replace the Community Design Standards. 

  • Creating a new set of nine Citywide Design Guidelines to replace the Community Design Guidelines.   

  • Creating a new Type I lower level of review for smaller façade, sign and rooftop alterations.  

  • Formalizing the process for Design Advice Requests.

  • Removing the Design overlay zone from most single family overlay zones.

Project completion 

After receiving recommendations from the Design Commission and Planning and Sustainability Commission during the summer of 2020, the project was heard by the City Council during 2021. With some minor changes, the project was approved on June 30, 2021 with an effective date of August 1, 2021.  


Phil Nameny

City Planner II, Planning and Sustainability

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