Land Use

How the Residential Infil Project (RIP) affects SWHRL   

Portland’s Residential Infill Project (RIP), Oregon’s recent HB2001 statute, and the Portland 2035 city plan usher in changes to land use zoning which will have dramatic effects on neighborhoods throughout the area. These efforts allow many lots which were previously limited to a Single Family Residence to now support increased housing density by permitting Accessory Dwelling Units, and conversion to duplexes, triplexes - on up to a sixplex if certain affordability metrics are met. 

Specifically, almost any lot currently zoned R2.5 through R7 may be eligible for more housing density. R10 lots and below are exempt. [In zoning, up is down; more housing in a given area is a smaller R number. Increasing units on a lot is ‘upzoning’. See current City of Portland zones for a more precise description] 

Depending on whose opinion you read, this will either increase our housing supply and help address houselessness, or destroy neighborhoods forever! There are concerns over how this will play out, and who will benefit. Many fear the loss of historic structures which help define the community, parking issues on narrow streets, the destruction of smaller, family-friendly, or affordable homes and their replacement by market-rate studios and 1BRs. Indeed, the Multnomah Village Neighborhood Association has turned to the courts to fight . . .  https://www.portlan…

This map shows SWHRL and parts of surrounding Neighborhood Associations: tax lots colored WHITE are not eligible for infill - usually R10 or below; RED lots are areas which would be eligible except that various constraints disqualify them; YELLOW are lots which ARE eligible to have increased density upon them.


Residential Infill Project

While a lesser proportion of SWHRL is eligible for upzoning and infill than some neighborhoods - primarily due to landscape, hazards,  or environmental features - the areas most affected are the “Ainsworth Grid” to St. Thomas More, and areas around Council Crest and Healy Heights.

Not addressed is the infrastructure needed to safely support this increased density. While SWHRL may get infill, it is not likely to get any additional sidewalks due to stormwater restrictions. And despite much effort, we haven’t been successful at getting better bus service. In short, increased density is coming, but if all the infilled units are priced at market rate, we won’t benefit from more affordable housing, nor are we likely to get increased bus service or more sidewalks.

Useful Links Residential Infill Project Housing Choices 2035 Comprehensive plan


Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission Zoom Meeting on Residential Infill Project (RIP) Special Meeting: Public comment will be heard Wednesday, August 5, 2020 9:00 AM on residential infill and potentially allowing local governments extended deadlines for implementing their infill to allow for time to develop supporting infrastructure. See the Agenda here


Land Use Roundup

>> Park Avenue Apartments 2055 - 2057 -2061 SW Park Ave. (2020-161464-000-00-EA) - Next meeting where public testimon is taken: Land Use meeting, October 22, 2020 at 6 pm. Join Zoom Meeting using this link:

Tower of 89 studios
Proposed High-Rise to replace pre-1900 Homes on SW Park Blocks only shows homes directly adjacent to project. A yellow line  has been added to indicate where the homes on Cardinell Drive and 10th Ave are in relation to the project as well.

Park Avenue PSU LLC has requested to build an eleven (11) story, eighty-nine (89) unit tower, with no on-site parking. Despite the name of the ownership entity, this project is not part of PSU Student Housing. The project will be a prefab structure using modular micro-units (units total size is under 300 sq. ft.), and is being pitched as affordable housing. SWHRL supports affordable housing, especially for families, but many questions will need to be answered about this project; in an area zoned RM4 (Residential Multifamily), maximum heights are 75’ - 100’, and on-site parking is required for anything over 30 units. An exception can be made on parking for projects near frequent transit. No word on whether that transit needs to be easily accessible. An increase in density allowance might be granted by the City. That bonus based on Floor Area Calculations could potentially authorize the developer more floors of micro-studios, but neighbors are concerned the fire and police services might not be able to meet the increased demand. Geo-technically speaking, there does exist a significant body of evidence of prior landslides in the very close vicinity. 

>> Preliminary and pre-development activity on the Strohecker's site Strohecker redevelopment - Background work on this project continues; an application was made to identify all affected lots on the property, and understand what lot consolidation or property-line adjustments might be needed. 

>> The proposed Tangent Village townhouse development Tangent Village (LU 18-119056 LDP EN PD), SW Broadway Drive - SWHRL’s case against City Council’s decision to approve the development with insufficient and unsafe frontage requirements continues; the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) should be finalizing the official Respondent’s Record any week now. After that, SWHRL’s attorney has 21 days to present our arguments, the city has a subsequent 21 days to rebut, and then we wait for LUBA’s decision. 

>> 1990 N/SW Mill St Terrace (2020-148797-000-00-LU) - A Design Review for a boardwalk and deck, which if constructed would further erode the publicly-accessible easements in this area. This property was long a connection between Portland Heights and Goose Hollow and Downtown, and further construction here may permanently eliminate the possibility of a reconnection. SWHRL and Goose Hollow Foothills League are looking to protect these easements, deeded to the city in 1909 “ the public forever.”


Morris Marks House

The restoration of the historic 1880 Morris Marks House (2177 SW Broadway Drive, bounded by SW Grant) is moving forward. Design Review recently approved site alterations which include a parking area and landscaping. While SWHRL applauds this restoration, we are sorry the Design Review decided to forego the sidewalk requirement on the SW Broadway Drive frontage. Choosing to not continue the sidewalk from SW Grant along SW Broadway Drive strands pedestrians with yet  another abruptly terminating "sidewalk to nowhere," without clear direction on how to proceed.  Presumably, PBOT wants the pedestrian to cross SW Broadway Drive without the benefit of a cross walk (with cars coming from four directions), rather than use the marked crosswalk near Lincoln Street, with only one-way traffic.  PBOT explains their rationale for this decision:

Findings: PBOT had specifically not required the applicant to provide a new sidewalk along the SW Broadway Drive frontage of the site due to pedestrian safety concerns. The concerns, as mentioned previously, being that a sidewalk along SW Broadway Drive could lead to pedestrians attempting to cross SW Broadway Ave, which is a four-lane arterial with no receiving sidewalk to the north. Understandably PBOT considers this an unsafe crossing due to the high volume of vehicles travelling at high speeds on this multi-lane “Major City Traffic Street”, per the Transportation Service Plan (TSP) (see Exhibit E-7).

Given that there are two other sidewalk segments and a crosswalk along SW Broadway, PBOT's reasoning seems thin. SWHRL has for decades advocated for safer pedestrian facilities along SW Broadway Drive but, contrary to the Bureau's stated goals of moving toward active transportation modes and lowering the City's carbon footprint, PBOT continues to exempt projects from code-required pedestrian improvements.

The Marks house is across the street from PSU, downtown's Transit Mall, the terminus of the proposed SW Corridor MAX, and the Central City in Motion N-S Bike Lane--it is maddening that PBOT won't take the steps needed to improve pedestrian safety along SW Broadway Drive so that southwest hills has access to the public transportation jewel box north of 405.

Marks House map

SWHRL unfortunately missed the deadline to appeal this project. The Morris Marks house is actually in South Portland Neighborhood Association's territory, so it slipped under our radar. But the problem of I-405 walling off downtown from neighborhoods to the south is an area-wide problem; walking north to downtown is difficult and dangerous for pedestrians, no matter what Neighborhood Association they live in. The city should implement a comprehensive plan for reconnecting the southern neighborhoods to downtown, across the I-405 chasm.


Residential Infill Project (RIP)

2/13/2020 Commissioner Fritz recently wrote her opinions about RIP in an insightful memo:

"Let’s turn to the global climate crisis and the crisis of traffic crash deaths on Portland’s streets.  Reducing vehicle-miles traveled and thus pollution and traffic crashes depends on locating housing density close to arterials where transit is or will be available. Allowing increased density far from arterials will require people to drive to get to transit, worsening the climate crisis.  Putting more people where they will have to walk on streets with no sidewalks or other safety features will hamper our work to achieve Vision Zero.  The City has recently adopted plans for which streets citywide will receive city-funded improvements in the next 20 years.  Instead of putting more density on these streets, RIP completely ignores whether safety features like basic sidewalks exist or will be provided in the next 20 years.  What is the point of planning street improvements if we then ignore those plans when planning density increases? Where will people recharge electric vehicles, if there are no off-road parking spaces? . . ."


Some neighborhoods are concerned about how the City’s new Residential Infill Project (RIP) may affect our single family neighborhoods, by allowing certain multi-family dwellings. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s website states:

“The Commission’s revised proposals would allow a wide range of housing types, including triplexes and fourplexes in single-dwelling zones. They also pushed to broaden the area where these housing choices would be allowed. To address the demolition of single-family homes, they created more incentives to retain existing houses, such as allowing them to be split into multiple units. They pushed for more flexibility for accessory dwelling units to incentivize their construction.”

If you are interested in learning how this might affect Portland Heights, please contact: and we can research together.


SWHRL receives notices of proposed demolitions. Though there haven't been many in the past several years, it's good for  SWHRL and neighbors to keep an eye on them. Email if you are aware of a proposed demolition near you, and have concerns. Since the city does not monitor contractors specifically for abatement of hazardous materials such as asbestos, we need to watch what’s going on.

Questions or concerns? Contact Kareen Perkins, Bureau of Development Services (BDS)  (503) 823-3622 or