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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Zoning watch: Work sessions begin on Residential Infill Project proposed new rules for Portland’s residential neighborhoods

Planning and Sustainability Commission will consider public testimony as they contemplate revisions to the Proposed Draft; watch Commissioners deliberate on BPS YouTube channel.

Over the past two months, Portlanders have reviewed and testified on proposals for new construction in residential neighborhoods. The proposals in the Residential Infill Project Proposed Draft would update the rules for single-dwelling zones to allow more housing options for people’s changing needs while limiting the size of new houses to better fit existing neighborhoods.

The Residential Infill Project Proposed Draft reports were released on April 2, and the Planning and Sustainability Commission heard public testimony at two hearings (May 8 and 15). Commissioners are also reviewing testimony submitted via the online Map App and other written testimony. 

Public input has been robust! The PSC heard from nearly 140 people during the public hearings and received 1,089 written comments. Testimony on the Proposed Draft is no longer being accepted, but you can still review what people said about the proposals. Visit the Map App and read the public testimony.

PSC Work Sessions

The PSC is conducting work sessions on the proposals to prepare their recommendations to the City Council. At these work sessions Commissioners will not hear public testimony. However, staff-prepared work session materials will be posted on the project website so you can follow along.

Three upcoming work sessions are tentatively organized by topic areas: 

Please confirm dates, times and agendas one week prior by visiting the PSC Calendar.

All PSC hearings and meetings are streamed live on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability YouTube channel.

For more information about the Residential Infill Project

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868, or Oregon Relay Service 711. 503-823-7700.

Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) completes public hearings on the Residential Infill Project; extends written testimony until 5 p.m. Friday, May 18

The PSC hears more than six hours of testimony on May 8 and 15. Nearly 140 people testified on proposed rules for new construction in Portland’s residential neighborhoods.

Over the course of two evenings in May, Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission heard 139 people testify on the proposals put forth in the Residential Infill Project Proposed Draft. The commission has “closed” oral testimony but will accept written testimony until Friday, May 18.  

Submit written testimony to the PSC by 5 p.m. Friday, May 18 via:

  • The Map App; click on the “Testify” button
  • U.S. Mail (note: letters must be received by May 18):
    Planning and Sustainability Commission 
    Attn: Residential Infill Project
    1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100
    Portland, OR 97201

Next Steps: Work Sessions

The PSC will conduct several work sessions on the proposals, beginning on May 22. These will likely continue through June. At these meetings there will be no public testimony as Commissioners pose questions to staff and each other, then deliberate on the issues before making a recommendation to City Council.  

All PSC hearings and meetings are streamed live on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability YouTube channel (click “Video” on the top of the home page for past meetings).

Past PSC meetings on Residential Infill Proposals:

Links to the Residential Infill Project Proposed Draft documents:

All the documents are available on the project website. Hard copies of the Project Summary and Volumes 1 and 2 are available at our office at 1900 SW 4th Avenue, 7th Floor. The bureau receptionist will mail you a copy if you call 503‑823‑7700.

For more information about the Proposed Draft

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868, or Oregon Relay Service 711. 503-823-7700.

How to testify on the Residential Infill Project proposals on May 8 and May 15

Tips for testifying to the Planning and Sustainability Commission

On May 8 and 15, 2018, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hear testimony from the public about the Residential Infill Project. The proposals before the Commission would change the rules that shape our residential neighborhoods so that more people can live in them, while limiting the size of very large new houses.

The Commission is committed to effective public involvement and is looking forward to hearing from you. Here are the details on how you can testify in person at the hearings:

  • Commissioners will hear testimony on May 8 and 15, starting at 5 p.m.
  • The hearings will be at 1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500A.
  • Project staff will be on hand starting at 3:30 p.m. to help people sign up to testify.

One spot in line = One two-minute testimony slot

  • Signing up for someone else – If a person wants to sign up for someone else, they will need to get in line again.
  • Groups – If several people represent a group and want to testify together, they all need to be there to sign up for their two-minute slot at the same time. Each person in the group will need to wait in line to sign up individually for their two-minute slot.
  • People representing multiple groups – While the Commission encourages individuals to only represent one group, if a person is representing more than one group, they need to stand in line for each testimony slot. They may not sign up for several slots at once. 

Written testimony may be submitted through the Map App or by sending a letter by May 18 to:

Planning and Sustainability Commission 
Attn: Residential Infill Project
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

For more information about the Proposed Draft, please visit the project website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

Builder’s mission is to increase the supply of ADUs so more people can have an affordable place to live

Holly Huntley, owner of environs, has built 17 ADUs in Portland … so far! And more on the way.

Holly Huntley

Meet Holly Huntley, general contractor and owner of environs, a small construction company that specializes in building ADUs, or accessory dwelling units. Holly is working to fill the housing shortage with small, affordable and accessible units in single-family neighborhoods.

“I love that I get to be a tiny part of the solution around creating more living spaces in our urban environment,” she says.

Of the 17 ADUs she has built, six have been for people moving to Portland to live next to their children and grandchildren and/or to receive support as they enter a different phase of life. These ADUs have “visitability” features like wider doors and larger bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. “This makes things easier for current occupants and increases a limited inventory of homes that are designed with universal usership in mind,” says Huntley. 

Another six of the ADUs were built for homeowners who moved into the ADU and rented out their main house to reduce their housing costs and provide additional income from long-term rentals. Another handful stayed in their home and rented the ADU.

Allowing and encouraging homeowners to maximize their most important investment is vital to the success of our community.

Says Huntley, “Only one of the ADUs I’ve built has entered the short-term rental market — which was not the original intent and not the future plan.”

As she worked with her clients, several common goals emerged: to make better use of their property; create a healthy, efficient home for themselves; provide a long-term rental unit at a fair rate; and secure housing costs for themselves. 

“I am fortunate to be able to work with people in my community who have similar beliefs around what our neighborhoods should be doing and providing,” she muses. “We need more and varied types of housing, and ADUs as urban infill meet a valuable fraction of this need. Allowing and encouraging homeowners to maximize their most important investment is vital to the success of our community. While it is rooted in housing, the impact goes well beyond shelter.”

Have you received a City of Portland notice in the mail about your single-family home?

Here’s what it means and what you can do.

Welcome to the Residential Infill Project online “customer service” page. We’re glad you’re here.

  • Perhaps you received a notice in the mail that looks like this, and you’re not sure exactly what it means.  
  • Or maybe you heard about proposed rules that would govern new development in residential neighborhoods from a friend or neighbor, and you’re concerned.
  • Or you want to find out how these proposals would address the housing shortage.
  • Or you care about what new houses in your neighborhood look and feel like.
  • Or some or all the above.

You are not alone! Owners of more than 135,000 properties recently received the mailing pictured above from the City of Portland. This is required by state law whenever a change in the zoning could affect the value of a property — up or down. Your address was pulled from the County Assessor’s Office.

First things first

First thing to know is that these changes are proposals — not the law. We hope you’ll learn more about them and tell the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) what you think. Any new rules must be adopted by City Council before they become effective. And before adoption, they are refined and changed based on public testimony, as well as PSC and City Council amendments.

Second, these proposals do not require you to sell your house or do anything to your property or home. They would only apply if you add to your existing house or build a new unit on your land.

If or when you do, the proposal would allow more housing units to be built in residential neighborhoods, but only if they conform to new limits on size and scale.

Here’s a simple summary of the proposed new rules.

We’re here to help

This is complicated stuff. So, we want to help you understand the proposals and how they may affect you and your property. You can:

  • Call the Helpline at 503-823-0195. Friendly staff will look up your address and tell you how the proposals would affect your property.
  • Come to a drop-in session in your neighborhood for one-on-one consulting with a planner. We’ve scheduled them all over town for your convenience.
  • Look up your address on the Map App to find out what rules apply now and what could be proposed.
  • Send us an email at residential.infill@portlandoregon.gov, and a knowledgeable person will respond.

More questions? Consult our FAQs.

Then share your feedback with the Planning and Sustainability Commission via the Map App or in person at a public hearing

Renters matter too

You don’t have to be a property owner to weigh in on these proposals. Renters are also affected by the housing shortage and the lack of housing options. So, look and imagine how these changes might affect how you live in and experience Portland. Then share your thoughts with the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Again, you’re not alone

Many people are feeling a sense of rapid change in their neighborhoods and throughout the city. As we spoke with hundreds of Portlanders around the city over the past two years, we heard that people want to take care of and improve their neighborhoods as the city grows.

They want more opportunities to live in complete neighborhoods — and not just for themselves. For their parents, so they can age in place. For their children so they can afford to live in the city they grew up in. For the teachers, nurses, grocery clerks and firefighters who contribute to our communities. And the many newcomers who are moving here every day.

So, we’re revisiting the rules that shape our residential neighborhoods to create opportunities for more people to enjoy the benefits of these vibrant communities. Alone, a zoning change won’t solve our housing crisis. But the rules that govern what types of housing are allowed in our neighborhoods affect not just how they look and feel — but who can live in them as well.

For more information, visit the project website.