BPS launches Historic Resources Code Project

News Article
The project will research regional and national best practices and propose zoning code changes to reconcile deficiencies in Portland’s existing programs.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has launched a 14-month zoning code project that will propose changes to how the City of Portland identifies, designates and protects historic resources. The Historic Resources Code Project follows a 2016 Oregon State Supreme Court decision and recently adopted changes to state administrative rules, both of which provide opportunities for improving Portland’s historic resource protection programs. The project will build upon previous historic resource zoning code projects, the most recent of which was adopted in 2013 and made changes to review procedures for minor exterior alteration projects in historic districts.

What’s the project timeline?

The Historic Resources Code Project will last approximately 14 months, beginning in September 2017. A project timeline is below.

Timeline graphic

Opportunities for public involvement will be posted to the Historic Resources Code Project website as the project develops.

What sections of the code will be most affected?

Many sections of the Portland zoning code address historic resources, but it is primarily sections 33.445 and 33.846 that provide the City’s framework for identifying, designating and protecting historic resources. It’s anticipated the Historic Resources Code Project will result in significant changes to both of these sections of the zoning code.

What won’t be included in the project?

Although the project will be proposing minor and major policy changes, there are a number of items that the project is not anticipated to address. Among the items that won’t be included in this project are:

  • Development of district-specific design guidelines or standards
  • Inventorying or designating new historic resources
  • Providing financial incentives to owners of historic resources
  • Proposing changes to building regulations outside of the zoning code.
  • Changing the National Register of Historic Places designation process or the minimum protections that apply to National Register resources under State Land Use Goal 5.  

The adopted zoning code changes that result from this project will inform the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s future historic resources projects, which may include additional code changes, development of district-specific guidelines and standards and a citywide update to the Historic Resources Inventory.

How can I follow this project?

Project updates will be distributed to the historic resources program email list; sign-up to receive information about events and project milestones from the project homepage.

Who is responsible for the project?

The project is being managed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s historic resources program, with support from the Bureau of Development Services’ design and historic resources team. Core project staff include:

  • Brandon Spencer-Hartle, Project Manager
  • Caity Ewers, Community Service Aide II
  • Hillary Adam, BDS Liaison

For questions about and comments on the Historic Resources Code Project, email historic.resources@portlandoregon.gov