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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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Bill Cunningham, Project Manager


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Better Housing by Design

  • The Map App highlights the proposed changes to zoning and more. Search for a property and review the proposed changes.

  • Looking for a summary of the proposed changes? Download this 8-page document summarizing the changes put forth for public testimony.

  • Interested in what others are saying? Read and watch public testimony online.

The Better Housing by Design project is revising development and design standards in Portland’s multi-dwelling zones (R3, R2, R1 and RH) outside the Central City. The types of housing allowed in these areas include apartment buildings of varying sizes, fourplexes, townhouses and rowhouses.

These medium- to high-density residential zones provide opportunities for new housing to better meet the needs of a growing Portland.

By updating the rules that shape new development of apartments and other higher density residential buildings, we can create more housing options for households of all ages, incomes and sizes. The proposed new rules also ensure that new development is healthier, more livable and better connected to streets and neighborhood amenities.

This project includes a focus on East Portland, fostering better new development that reflects the area’s distinct characteristics and residents' needs. The project is being coordinated with the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Connected Centers Street Plan, which is focusing on new approaches for creating street connections in East Portland.

Major topics addressed by the project’s code proposals include:

  • Diverse housing options and affordability to meet diverse housing needs.
  • Outdoor spaces and green elements to support human and environmental health.
  • Building design and scale that contributes to pedestrian-friendly streets and relates to context.
  • East Portland standards and street connections that respond to the area’s distinct characteristics and needs.

City Council will hold a public hearing on the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft on Wednesday, October 2nd at 3 p.m. at Portland City Hall. You can provide verbal testimony at this hearing or provide written testimony from September 4 through October 2 using the online Map App.

Mejores viviendas a través del diseño

Note: This is not the Residential Infill Project, which focuses on the lower density single-dwelling residential zones.

Visit the About the Project page to learn more.

News and Updates View all »

  1. Oct 7

    City Council hearing on Better Housing by Design continued to November 6 at 2 p.m.

    Testimony on proposed changes to multi-dwelling zones prompts Mayor to commend testifiers.

  2. Sep 11

    Testify to City Council about the Better Housing by Design project

    Commissioners will hear public testimony about the update to Portland’s multi-dwelling zones on October 2 at 3 p.m.

  3. May 23

    Better Housing by Design Proposals Move Forward

    Planning and Sustainability Commission votes unanimously to recommend new rules to improve development in Portland’s multi-dwelling zones.

  4. Jan 31

    Balancing housing opportunity and compatibility in the Alphabet and King’s Hill historic districts

    Planners are seeking community input on potential zoning changes to balance affordable housing incentives with neighborhood compatibility in historic districts.

  5. Sep 6

    Planning and Sustainability Commission begins work sessions on proposed new rules for Portland’s multi-dwelling zones

    Commissioners will consider public testimony on proposed guidelines for new apartments, townhomes and other multi-family housing as they prepare their recommendations to City Council.