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Portland is updating its Historic Resources Code (HRC) for the first time in several decades. 

This policy could mean significant  changes in the way our community’s historic resources are identified, managed and protected, as well as how unprotected historic districts might become designated.


Alberta, Montavilla, and central Hawthorne are examples of areas that are not a designated historic or conservation district. See the Vintage Building Study below which identifies many of the vulnerable streetcar main streets. No proposal to address these areas is included in this important update.


View City HRCP proposal here:

Pages from hrcp-proposed-draft-volume-1.

Top 10 Advocacy Points

1. Strongly support update of the Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) - however need clear process for listing, delisting properties.


2. Adaptive Reuse: Support expanded uses for residential structures - adaptive reuse is a critical approach for climate change.


3. Support expanded exemptions for historic review process, (e.g., removing garages and new guidelines for solar installations). Consider solar easements as well for encouraging more solar access and equity in potential for energy generation.


4. Support adding Demolition Review in Conservation Districts. This will allow a public hearing and greater community review and participation than simply 120-Demo Delay. Need clear criteria and opportunity for public input on this criteria for review.


5. Support the City's focus on equity and applaud the recent work identifying historic resources associated with the African-American community for future designation. Strongly encourage there be real recognition of the current geographic imbalance in resource identification and preservation and urge special attention be paid to East Portland.


Top 10 continued...

6. Timeline - request the Planning & Sustainability Commission extend the deadline for comments through 2020. Many communities are just starting to learn and understand this project.


7. Landmark Commission Should Take the Lead Role (similar to most cities) in recommendations to City Council for designation of new historic or conservation districts (with PSC as a supporting body)


8. Missing: We need an Historic Resources Master Plan - Add recommendations for which areas should be prioritized for important cultural, architectural or historical places. Diverse histories need to be greater considered and supported as priorities as well as streetcar era main streets and areas of the city that were once smaller communities subsumed by Portland with their own historic & cultural significance,--e.g. St. John's, Sellwood, Lents, Vanport, Albina, etc.


9. Recommend the 2016 BPS Vintage Buildings Study and Main Street mapped areas be a priority guide for preservation.  These areas are vulnerable historic streetcar commercial main streets and civic assets that are developing quickly yet lacking design and preservation tools. 


10. Provide communities a clear process on designation of a historic or conservation district and how to be involved including: What documentation needs to be submitted, what criteria each area must meet, what types of public engagement must be held and how documented, how communities can get support and how community allies can collaborate to help the city in the process.


Displacement, Demolition & Affordability

Many people have expressed concerns about displacement and adaptive reuse is an important strategy that can help retain existing buildings, maintain affordable spaces, and reduce climate impacts of demolition. The proposed policy will provide for greater flexibility in residential historic areas and conservation districts to have more allowed uses and strategies for adapting buildings.

In Conservation Districts Demolition Review is proposed which would give greater opportunity for community input through a public hearing and more expert review over the 120-Demolition Delay process we have now. PDX Main Streets is supportive of this change.

RIP - Climate-Affordability Concerns - T


On October 27, 2020, the Planning & Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold a hearing from 5:00-8:00 pm to review the project and hear public testimony. 

On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, PSC will hold a continued hearing (from the 27th) with public testimony from those that signed up at the prior hearing. No new oral testimony will be allowed in person however written testimony will still be received until the time of the hearing



1.  Online via the MapApp

2. Submit Comments in Writing by US Mail

Note: You must Register to testify for the hearing in advance no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, October 26, 2020

map app image.jpg

Important Links


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