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What changed in the Recommended Draft?

After seven months of deliberations and 300 requests for amendments to the Proposed Draft, the DOZA proposals were unanimously approved by both the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) and the Design Commission in Summer 2020.
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Those amendments are reflected in the new Recommended Draft (view the Summary of Proposals). Read more about the project and timeline.


Increase thresholds to allow more development (up to 75 ft) to use the Design Standards.  

The upper limit that allows applicants the ability to use the objective track and new Design Standards was expanded to include new buildings that are 75 ft tall.  

This limit is an increase over the current limit of 55 ft in the current Community Design Standards and as proposed by staff. During the work sessions with the PSC, Commission members reasoned that the proposed 55-ft height could impose a required discretionary review on taller buildings located in more intense zones, even if the base zone allows that height by right or that development (using inclusionary housing bonuses to gain additional height) would not be allowed to use the standards. The PSC felt that a raised height of 75 ft would remove this barrier. The standards are identified with letters — C for Context, PR for Public Realm, and QR for Quality and Resilience — and the standard numbers as they are listed on p. 39-83.

In raising the height limit, the PSC recommended three additional required design standards that would apply to buildings between 55 and 75 ft in height, including: 

  • 50% of ground floor must be 15 ft high (PR2). 

  • 50% of street facing façade must include weather protection (PR15). 

  • 60% of ground floor façade must be windows (QR14). 

In addition, buildings between 55 and 75 ft in height will be required to meet optional standards points at a rate of 2 points per 1000 square foot of site area instead of 1 point per 1000. 

Read a summary of the Tools proposals.

Read a summary of Thresholds proposals.


Update the Design Commission membership. 

The PSC added two new subject expert categories that serve as part of the Design Commission. One member must have experience in sustainable building practices, and another must have experience in natural resource management. The overall number of Commissioners remains at seven so the list of technical experts in the building/design fields has been reduced to three. 

Codify that neither height nor floor area ratio (FAR) can be reduced during design review. 

The code provides an exception for when the height being proposed includes bonus height, and the bonus requires approval through design review or a modification through design review. 

Read a summary of all Process proposals

Tools: Design Standards  

Provide more context sensitivity within the Design Standards.  

With testimony from the Historic Landmarks Commission, the PSC modified the Design Standards related to older buildings and history.  

  • A revised optional standard with a graduated point system for preserving existing building facades (C3). 

  • A new optional standard for new buildings that abut buildings on the historic resources inventory (HRI) or are across the street from a historic landmark or HRI property (C7). 

  • A new optional standard for new buildings that abut historic residential landmarks (C8).

​The PSC also added two new standards for new buildings adjacent to the Willamette River: 

  • A new required standard for a maximum building length (C15). 

  • A new required standard for building features that break up the façade or add building openings (C16). 

  • A new required standard for open outdoor areas (C17). 

Expand exterior materials options and incentivized low carbon materials. 

The PSC expanded on allowed exterior materials in Table 420-3 to include poured-in-place architectural concrete beyond the second floor and added two new standards for incentivizing sustainable wood (QR18) and low carbon concrete (QR19).

Read a summary of Tools proposals or refer to Volume 2 to read through the recommended Design Standards proposed for Zoning Code 33.420:

Tools: Design Guidelines  

Expand the Introduction to include more Portland context and aspiration as guided by the Comprehensive Plan. 

The Design Commission, the recommending body for the design guidelines, expanded the Introduction to acknowledge that development can play a role in erasing the uniqueness and culture of the city, upholding or exacerbating racial disparities. It urges that the guidelines be used to ensure that places undergoing transformation will be inclusive and promote an anti-racist built environment. 

Along with this social and historical context, the Design Commission moved the Urban Design Framework (UDF) description into the document’s introduction to describe the future physical form as envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan.  

Reduce the number of guidelines in the Portland Citywide Design Guidelines. 

By moving the UDF into the Introduction, the first and second guidelines were combined and the total number of guidelines reduced to nine.   

Define character and local identity as balanced with community voices.

The sources from which to draw inspiration, information and guidance was clarified to focus on adopted City policy, balanced with community voices. The list was expanded to include adopted Character Statements (where available) and the Urban Design Framework from the Portland Comprehensive Plan. 

Replace photographic examples and diagrams.   

An estimated third of the photographic examples and diagrams were replaced. 

Read a summary of Tools proposals or refer to Volume 3 to read through the recommended Portland Citywide Design Guidelines: