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Historic Resources Program Overview

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3-story white brick building with ground floor retail and apartments above.
The Historic Resources Program is responsible for managing various aspects of the City of Portland’s historic preservation framework.
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Program responsibilities

Housed within the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Historic Resources Program manages the City of Portland’s long-range historic preservation policy framework, advances refinements to local historic resource land use regulations, maintains the citywide Historic Resource Inventory, supports a wide range of historic preservation planning projects, and ensures City compliance with National Park Service requirements for Certified Local Governments.

Historic Resources Program staff coordinate closely with the Bureau of Development Services and the Historic Landmarks Commission, both of which are responsible for applying adopted land use regulations to development proposals affecting historic resources.

Finally, Historic Resources Program staff regularly provide community members, tenants, and property owners with information and guidance regarding possible historic preservation, public history, and physical rehabilitation projects.

Historic resource land use regulations

Portland first adopted a historic preservation ordinance in 1968 to allow for the designation and protection of landmarks and districts of architectural, cultural, and historic significance. In the decades since, historic preservation has become an integral element of Oregon’s statewide land use planning system, the City’s adopted Comprehensive Plan, and Portland’s Zoning Code regulations. The Historic Resources Program advances amendments to historic resource land use regulations, such as periodic refinements to the Zoning Code and development of district-specific design guidelines.

For information regarding land use regulations that apply to a specific historic resource, visit Making Changes to a Historic Resource.

Historic Resource Inventory

More than 15,000 historic resources across the city of Portland have been documented as having or potentially having historic significance. These resources include buildings within City-designated Historic Districts, properties that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and places that have been documented as the result of a thematic historic resource survey. The Historic Resources Program maintains the citywide Historic Resource Inventory map and database to ensure historic resource documentation is available to owners, tenants, and the public.

View the complete Historic Resource Inventory.

Historic preservation planning projects

The Historic Resources Program periodically advances preservation planning projects such as surveying groups of historic resources, nominating individual sites for landmark designation, studying emergent rehabilitation and reuse strategies, and supporting community-led projects to preserve historic resources associated with underrepresented communities.

View the Historic Resources Program's active and recently completed projects.

Certified Local Government requirements

Since 1997, Portland has been recognized by the National Park Service as a Certified Local Government for the City’s ongoing commitment to maintain a Historic Resources Program and comply with local, State, and Federal historic preservation regulations. In coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office, the Historic Resources Program ensures City compliance with applicable historic preservation regulations, including consultation with City bureaus that maintain publicly owned historic resources.