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Draft Testimony slides on Shelter to Hou

In collaboration with PDX Main Streets, PDX Shelter Forum, Forage Design & Planning, and other local designers, we are proposing an Innovative Housing Demonstrations Policy (IHDP) for the City of Portland as well as several other amendments to improve this important policy. This policy is based on a precedent from the City of Redmond with the intent to foster greater innovation and sustainability in our affordable and sustainable housing typologies. This policy provides a framework for testing new design models, identifying code barriers, a method for evaluation and a process for review and permitting a limited number of demonstrations in a variety of sizes and scales with low risk to the City while offering more opportunity to expand the range of  solutions for decisionmakers and community advocates.


Powell visioning at Division St. Fair.jfif

Community Based Planning Policy (CBPP)

There is currently no pathway for community led planning to be recognized according to city staff. When local budgets and staff are limited, and more communities are seeking an equitable voice in shaping their community, the City should not overlook the value-add of community led planning processes. We need bottom up AND top down approaches. Especially those that are open and accessible, responsive to local goals and inclusive of diverse stakeholders. We need a pathway to ensure work such as the PDX Main Street Guidelines and other work like Albina Vision, Boise Design Guidelines, Sellwood-Moreland Design Guidelines and others can be recognized and considered if best planning practices are followed and widespread community support can be demonstrated. Everyone deserves a meaningful voice in shaping our City. 

Contact us to learn more

PDX Main Streets - Bill Tripp Mixed Use

DOZA City-wide Design Policy Ignores Impacts to Main Streets, Affordability & Gentrification

Citywide design standards and guidelines were updated that will affect all new development. Much of what we are building today is not affordable, sustainable, nor context sensitive - turning others off of density because we aren't doing it well. We believe in density with sensitivity and using farmers logic of good time tested design for great city building.


We aim to raise design equity for ALL communities and have advocated for a more nuanced design approach, including for some of our foundational neighborhood main street corridors. Learn more about the project, the policy, and get talking points on key issues of support and concern.




Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP)

There are significant opportunities and challenges to HOW we add density in our older streetcar areas that have historic and cultural importance in our City. This policy will influence how well our historic and cultural resources are identified, designated and protected. A concern is that there is no master plan for preservation, and there are 13 undesignated historic main streets that are vulnerable without design standards for main streets. View the Low Rise Commercial Storefront Buildings Analysis ("Vintage Buildings Study") which documents with maps and analysis of these important areas that are lacking important tools to guide preservation and respectful compatible new development. 


This policy has impacts on demolition, loss or retention of cultural resources, as well as things that impact adaptive reuse which directly connect to climate impacts and affordability. 


Top 10 Policy Recs for PDX_Page_1_edited

Top Ten Policy Recommendations

for the City of Portland

in 2016, neighborhoods across SE Portland endorsed our recommendations during the Comprehensive Plan and Mixed Use Zoning Policy process. A few issues have been somewhat addressed in new policy (and we've influenced many policies), however many key concerns remain. Context sensitive design and compatibility make better buildings, contribute to greater local support for new larger buildings, and often more affordable buildings and place-making that benefits all our community members. We can reach our same goals with better outcomes, greater equity and sustainability when done with good design and innovative policy.



Sustainability, Adaptive Reuse, and Affordable, Green Design

Sustainable community planning is at the heart of our efforts.  We believe the challenges of today require all community voices at the table to create solutions that are visionary, outside the box, and consider both short-term and long-term impacts of policy and design decisions on affordability, resilience, livability, accessibility, economic vitality, equity and sustainability. Contact us to learn more about our Sustainability Scorecard Initiative, our Innovative Housing Demonstrations Policy, our solar resiliency and placemaking kiosk design project, advocacy on policies underway at the City that impact these key issues, related past events we've hosted, and how we're working to empower communities with greater design literacy and a voice in growth and change.



Policy is how ideas become action, but many are left out of the process because its overly technical, complicated/boring, or challenging to know how to participate. We help communities with education, public engagement, advocacy, and policy recommendations.

Below are a few of the many policies we've been advocating for...

If your community needs support, please reach out! We can attend a meeting and make a presentation, help co-host an event, share education materials, or collaborate on advocacy on coming policy or share tools.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help.


If you're interested in volunteering to join an advocacy committee or just want to sign on to support our work, you can learn more on our Support webpage. We welcome your involvement and skills and look forward to hearing from you.

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