Better Housing By Design Update (City of Portland Project)

Better Housing by Design E-UPDATE: July 5, 2017

We hope this will keep you informed and provide you with a convenient way to pass on information about the project to others who may be interested.


What’s going on with the project right now?

Initial draft code concepts for improving multi-dwelling design and development were shared with community members at two open houses at the beginning of June. The materials provided at these open houses are available on the About the Projectpage. Staff used the feedback they received at these and other meetings with stakeholders to develop a Concept Report. Major topics covered by these concepts include:

  • Increasing residential outdoor spaces
  • Fostering more pedestrian-friendly street frontages
  • Addressing building scale and allowances for diverse housing options
  • Prioritizing affordable housing development bonuses
  • Improving street connections, especially in East Portland


For example: One concept calls for requiring large sites to include shared outdoor spaces (e.g., play areas, courtyards, garden plots) to support healthy living for residents.

We invite you to read the Concept Report and then send us your feedback. 

Comments on the Concept Report will be accepted until Monday, August 7, 2017, at 5 p.m. Project staff will consider this input as they develop a Discussion Draft, which will include draft Zoning Code language to implement the concepts.

You may submit your comments by 


U.S. Mail:

City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Attn: Better Housing by Design Project

1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100

Portland, OR 97201

Read more about the Concept Report

What is the BHD project trying to do?

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. Along with community advocates and other Portlanders, city planners are considering ways to improve the design of new multi-family development to better meet the needs of current and future residents.

This project is reviewing the Zoning Code on a citywide basis, but it has a special focus on East Portland to foster better new development that reflects the area’s distinct characteristics and residents' needs.

Project staff are coordinating with the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Connected Centers Street Plan team, focusing on street plans for the Jade District and Rosewood/Glenfair centers.

What’s next for the project? 

The BHD project is beginning the code development stage. Staff will turn the ideas in the Concept Report into Zoning Code language that will guide development in the multi-dwelling zones. Feedback on the Concept Report will inform staff work as they develop new (draft) regulations, which will be part of the Zoning Code Amendments Discussion Draft to be released in Fall 2017. 

Upcoming milestones and opportunities for public comment 

Fall 2017 

  • Discussion Draft released. Comments will be received by BPS staff.

Winter – Spring  2018

  • Proposed Draft released. Testimony will be received by the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) in writing and at a public hearing.
  • Recommended Draft released (incorporating changes directed by the PSC). Testimony will be received by City Council in writing and at a public hearing.
  • Adopted Draft released (incorporating changes directed by Council).


For more information or to provide comments on the Concept Report, visit or or Bill Cunningham 503-823-4203.