Major updates to the City’s housing-related zoning rules coming August 1

News Article
A gray sixplex building with cars parked in front near the sidewalk.
Changes will increase housing supply and accessibility for low-, moderate- and middle-income Portlanders; addresses houselessness and lack of affordable apartments and homes for community members.

On August 1, new housing-related zoning code changes will go into effect, vastly expanding opportunities for the City, private and nonprofit developers to increase the supply of housing in Portland. Over the past year, Portland City Council approved the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) project, the Shelter to Housing Continuum (S2HC) project, and the Residential Infill Project (RIP). Each project includes significant changes to streamline reviews, enhance the built environment, provide for more inclusive neighborhoods, and better address the needs of our City’s houseless population. Highlights of these changes include: 

Design Overlay Zones Amendment Project — Adopted on June 30, 2021, DOZA updates and improves the City’s design review process and regulatory tools. The changes will allow more multi-family housing and mixed-use projects to go directly to the permit process, saving time and money. It also provides flexibility and variety to the design standards to give architects and builders more options for meeting design requirements. The zoning code and zoning map changes all become effective on August 1, 2021. Information on the adopted amendments and other updates are available on the project website

Residential Infill Project — City Council adopted RIP, including the deeper affordability bonus and the historic resource demolition disincentive amendments, on Aug. 12, 2020. Considered a landmark zoning reform, RIP will open Portland’s residential neighborhoods to more — and less expensive — housing types for current and future Portlanders. Most changes — including rezones, new overlay zones, increased options for housing, and limits on building scale — go into effect on Aug. 1, 2021. The adopted ordinance and supporting documents are available on the project website. For more information about submitting a permit application under the new RIP changes on or after August 1, please visit this website for helpful tips, to get answers to questions, and watch a video from a recent Lunch & Learn event on June 10. 

Shelter to Housing Continuum — City Council adopted the S2HC zoning code amendment package on April 28, 2021. The approved code changes expand where homeless shelters are allowed, add a new shelter format (outdoor shelters), and allow group living more broadly, as well as limited occupancy of an RV or tiny house on wheels. The shelter-related elements of the package went into effect immediately upon adoption. The group living and RV/tiny house on wheels elements will take effect on August 1. The adopted ordinance and supporting documents, exhibits, and findings are available on the project website

Submitting a new permit application 

Building permit applications submitted prior to August 1 will be subject to the zoning code currently in effect – not the provisions of the new rules. Applications submitted after August 1 will need to meet the new rules and may take advantage of new allowances and review thresholds. The Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) is now accepting inquiries related to the zoning code changes. BDS is also providing guidelines on submitting a permit application under the current zoning code before August 1. 


Zoning Information Line

Development Services
phone number503-823-7526Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Leave a message with a phone number, the project address, and your questions.
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