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Land Use & Transportation

Pearl ConstructionUnder State and City regulations, Neighborhood Associations have standing to comment on certain land use development proposals in their geographic area, and receive notices of eligible land use applications and reviews.

Developers make application to the Bureau of Development Services. The review process by the city may have some or all of the following steps:

  • The city recommends to applicants that they contact the neighborhood association for an informal discussion of new projects.
  • Pre-application conference: The clock hasn’t started ticking, the applicant meets with various city bureaus to explore the requirements and complexities of a general concept plan.
  • Design Advice Request: These are at the applicant’s request in areas of the city with design overlay. They are not listed on the website but should show up on the Historic Landmarks Commission & Design Commission agendas.
  • Land Use Review (LUR): Once an application has been filed, the city is required to process it and make approvals or denials within 120 days (unless waived by the applicant.) A LUR–whether simply reviewed by city staff at the Bureau of Development Services, or by one of the Commissions–is sent out for comments by Neighborhood Associations and other interested parties, replies are required within 14 days.
  • Decision: After submission, the application is reviewed by city staff and in some cases given a hearing. There is a time limit of 28 days within which the city must make a decision.

Decisions can be appealed within 14 days; the appellant must have commented on the original LUR and the appeal criteria are usually limited to the criteria cited in the original comments. For some cases, the body hearing the appeal is the Portland City Council.  Appeals of the LURs which will be heard by Council cost $250 or more (this can be substantial, depending on the type), but this is waived for recognized Neighborhood Associations. The Neighborhood Association cannot appeal on behalf of other parties, and must have commented during the usual process.

For a general training on the ABC’s of Land Use, and local maps

For additional information about permitting visit the Bureau of Development Services

To learn about a particular property, including zoning, permits issued and pending, crime stats and more, go to PortlandMaps and type in the address. If you don’t know the address, click on their ‘Mapping’ link and you can navigate on a map to the property.

Long-Range Planning  In addition to the review and permitting of individual development projects, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) also engages in long range planning efforts.

For an overview, and a list of staff assigned to the different areas of the city


Related Resources:

NextPortland, a comprehensive map of current land use projects

The Portland Department of Transportation (PDOT)

For links to other city bureaus

Neighborhood Pulse, the history of Portlands neighborhood development


For more information about NW neighborhood land use, contact Mark Sieber.