Portland's Historic Design Review and Regulations
This page is intended as a brief summary of Portland's Historic Design Review, and it only exists because we've not found a better concise resource.
What are the Regulations?
- The regulations are applied by the city of Portland when you want to make an exterior change to your property.
- Changes to windows, doors, siding, roofs, porches, outbuildings, vents, chimneys, solar panels, ecoroofs, heat pumps, skylights, commercial signage and more may trigger a historic design review.
- Some changes, such as visible solar panels, skylights or ecoroofs, are not allowed on old or new structures in the district.
What is a Historic Design Review?
- Historic Design Review requires a public review and hearing which varies based on the size of the project. The simplest review is a Bureau of Development Services staff decision which takes 2-3 weeks after submission. More complex reviews take longer and are decided by the Historic Landmarks Commission. Minimum application fees are $250, increasing to $900 for commercial signage, and many cost $1903 or more.
- You will need to spend time preparing an application and creating elevations of your changes. Many people hire an architect to assist with this, increasing their costs.
- Your plans will be mailed to property owners surrounding your property so they can comment on your plans.
- The Historic Design Review process may subject your project to arbitrary decisions made by the city.
Changes to Historic Design Review
Portland has streamlined some small changes to Historic Design Review. Some highlights:
- Repairs are defined as less than than 50% of original material needs replacement. More than 50% replacement may require review.
- Storm windows are exempt from review
- Creation of a new Type I review for additions and alterations less than 200 square feet. This review is supposed to have decisions within 21 days.