WHERE TO FIND - Historic District Design Review Fee Schedule
by ICA – October 2011
Click on "fees," then "fee schedule," then "landuse service fee schedule/"
Scroll down to Design Review Fees
How to File a Complaint
by ICA – March 2012
If a possible illegal construction project is observed, neighbors can:
1) go to www.portandmaps.com, type in the address, click on "permits/cases" to see if there is a building permit or another complaint against the structure. If no permit...
2) file a complaint with the City at portlandonline.com/bds, click on "enforcement" and complete the online form -OR- call 503 823-2633 to record a complaint. Note: you must include your name and address although thie will not be given to the owner of the structure in question.
Include the comment "this is a Historic District."
3) contact Dean Gisvold, chair of the ICA Land Use Committee, email@example.com or Barb Christopher, chair of the ICA Historic Preservation Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Irvington National Register Historic District
by ICA – March 2012
On October 22, 2010, the US Secretary of the Interior added Irvington (all 2,811 structures) to the National Register of Historic Places. This is a high honor!
With this designation, Irvington benefits from protections that encourage preserving the neighborhood character and livability for future generations.
Irvington is a good example of a streetcar suburb, with 94% of its structures built between 1894 and 1948. Irvington is also recognized for its eclectic mix of architectural styles, examples of the work of many of Portland's best architects and builders, and its late 19th century covenants. The neighborhood occupies most of the 1851 Donation Land Claim of Captain William and Elizabeth (Dixon) Irving. The name Irvington first appeared in an 1887 plat map.
The nomination for the National Register designation was funded by the Irvington Community Association.The services of a professional architectural historian were used to oversee the work. During a multi-year process, volunteers collected historical data, identified building characteristics, and took more than 8,000 photographs.
The designation will affect all new construction and most changes to the exterior of primary structures. Secondary structures of less than 200 square feet are exempt.
The district's boundaries run from the middle of NE Fremont south to the middle of NE Broadway; the middle of NE 7th east to NE 27th (both sides of the street). A small portion of NE 28th (between NE Tillamook and NE Hancock) is also included.
Some Benefits of Living in The Irvington Historic District
Historic designation may keep property values from decreasing over time and provide a steady source of interest in home-ownership in the district.
Historic designation provides additional notice and protection from demolition for contributing structures within the boundaries.
Oregon's Special Assessment of Historic Property Program was the nation's first state-level historic preservation tax incentive. It "freezes" a property's assessed value for 10 years. Owning a property in a Historic District does not automatically provide this benefit. For eligibility, process, and application forms see:
Owners of commercial property are eligible to reapply for a second term without needing local government approval.
Variances to the building code may be available to restore or retain a structure's historic integrity.
How Does Living in a Historic District Affect Property Owners?
The City of Portland officially began regulating the Irvington Historic District on November 2, 2010. Because the purpose of these regulations is to preserve Irvington's historic character, all new construction and most exterior alterations are subject to Historic Design Review. To determine if a particular treatment is subject to or exempt from review, refer to the Portland Zoning Code 33.445.320. When a proposal requires review, it must meet the approval criteria in the Portland Zoning Code 33.846.060 G.
If you have questions regarding code interpretation or process, call the Zoning Hotline at 503-823-7526.
Historic Design Review is carried out by the Land Use Division of the Bureau of Development Services (BDS). BDS is a cost-recovery agency so there are fees associated with the review and, because public notification and appeal periods are mandated by state law, the process takes a minimum of six weeks from the date the application is deemed complete. See fees at
The Irvington Community Association web page has relevant information posted at http://www.irvingtonpdx.com/news/historic_district.html
Please note this information is general in nature and not meant to take the place of advice from the BDS staff or design professionals.
Glossary of Terms for Irvington Historic District
Assessed value tax freeze Oregon tax incentive program
Boundaries as established by historical plat maps
Commercial structures other than single family residences
Contributing structures substantially intact as originally constructed
Covenants restrictions to construction and uses 1891-1916
Design review Official City review of proposed external changes to a structure
Period of eligibility structures built between 1894 and 1949
Tax credit Federal tax credit program for commercial use
The Irvington Community Association, through its Land Use and Historic Preservation Committees, may be able to assist property owners with information regarding their home¡¦s history and architecture, and regarding restoration/renovation issues that may arise in connection with the permitting Historic Design Review process.
For more information contact
Barb Christopher email@example.com
(Chair of Historic Preservation Committee) or
Dean Gisvold firstname.lastname@example.org 503-226-7321
(Chair of Land Use Committee)
Prepared by the Historic Preservation Committee of the
Irvington Community Association
HOW TO LEARN IF YOU ARE IN A HISTORIC DISTRICT
by ICA – March 2012
Resources for determining if your house in located in an Historic District
In November 2010, the Irvington neighborhood in Portland became a National Register
Historic District resulting in design review for exterior alterations and for new in-fill structures
Such districts exist throughout the nation. Irvington is the largest National Register Historic District in Oregon, and one of the largest in the country.
o Portland provides a list (http://bit.ly/districtlist) of Historic Landmarks
and a map (http://bit.ly/districtmap) of Historic Landmarks and Districts
is downloadable. The Planning Bureau lists Portland’s Historic and
Conservation Districts (http://bit.ly/planningbureau).
Oregon Historic Sites Database Links
o The Oregon Database is searchable by address:
o Oregon Parks & Recreation Dept.: Heritage Programs: National
o Oregon’s Historic Districts are listed by county:
National Register of Historic Places
o Phone for information specifically on a listed property: 202-354-2262
o One can search by state and/or county and/or city.
o The NRIS is arranged by the historic name of the property. If you
know the address of the property, but not the historic name, you will
have to look at each listing in the county and/or city.
Save Money and Reduce Taxes with the National Register Historic District Designation
by Jim Heuer, Irvington Historic Preservation Committee – March 2012
Much has been made recently about the Historic Design Review process and the associated fees being charged by the City for that review in Irvington and other Historic Districts. And the ICA Committees are working hard on solutions to that issue. But there is another side to the process of remodeling and rehabilitating historic properties in Irvington that has not been mentioned nearly enough: the State and Federal tax incentives designed to encourage investment in historic properties.
With the designation of the Irvington Historic District, all “contributing” properties – over 85% of the buildings in the District – are potentially eligible for two important programs that could save you money, depending on your tax situation and your specific plans for the property. Read on to learn more about the potential for your Irvington property…
The State of Oregon was one of the pioneers in enacting tax incentives for rehabilitation of historic properties, dating back to 1975, when the Oregon Special Assessment Program was introduced. In the ensuing years, the Legislature has revised the Program several times – generally expanding its applicability and reducing burdens for property owners. For example, for many years participation in the Program required the owner to stage an open house for the public once per year. That requirement was eliminated by the Legislature a number of years ago.
All contributing properties in the Irvington District are potentially eligible for the Special Assessment, including single family homes and commercial properties of all types. Prior to creation of the District only individually listed National Register Historic Properties – a time consuming and expensive process – were eligible. With the District now in place, NO separate listing is required to take advantage of the potentially significant economic benefits of the Program. You can determine if your property is designated as Contributing using the Irvington Historic District map found on the web at http://tinyurl.com/7kalzrb (This is a shortcut we set up to make the complicated City of Portland web address much easier to type in.) Look for your address in the listing below the map, and you’ll see your property’s designation under “Resource Status”.
Basically, the Program freezes the assessed value of your property as of the date of application for a period of 10 years. Thus the increase in assessed value triggered by major rehabilitation or expansion of your home will be put off by 10 years while you enjoy the benefits of the investments immediately. Both commercial and residential properties are eligible for two 10-year terms of the benefit – providing that for the second term (only) the application must include work addressing improvements in: seismic, energy conservation, ADA, sustainability or a combination of these.
To qualify for the Program you must meet these requirements:
• Plan to invest 10% of the “Real Market Value” (RMV) of the property in the first 5 years on a combination of rehabilitation and maintenance projects, with emphasis on rehabilitation. RMV is as shown on PortlandMaps.com and includes the value of the “improvements” (that is, the house or building built on the land) NOT the land itself. For example if your total RMV for your property is $445,000, in Irvington your land value will be around $180,000, leaving the “improvement” value at $265,000 – you’d need to plan to spend at least $26,500 on your rehabilitation and renovation project to qualify – not an unrealistic threshold in today’s rehab marketplace.
• Submit an application to the State Historic Preservation Office, paying a fee of 1/10th of 1% of the total assessed value. For that $445,000 house, the fee would be $445.
• Provide a “Preservation Plan” which spells out exactly what is proposed to be done and how much it is expected to cost. Typically the plan is something you can prepare yourself without the help of a consultant, but if you already have plans and specifications from an architect or contractor for your proposed rehabilitation project, that may well provide the basis of your plan. You can even include work already done providing that it was completed within two years prior to your application (Note: Just because you’ve completed the work doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible!)
• Show proof of property insurance
What kinds of “rehabilitation” and “renovation” are eligible? Interior and exterior rehabilitation and maintenance are all covered – not just the primary structure on your lot (i.e. your house) but any historic outbuildings and landscaping/landscape features (think rehabilitation of your original stone or concrete retaining walls). Exterior changes may or may not trigger Historic Design Review. If that is required, you will need to show that you have received approval of the Review if you are including that work as part of your plan. Additions and new construction on your property can be included as long as it has passed Historic Design Review. This latter fact is very important, as projects to expand square footage of your home or commercial building will necessarily trigger a re-assessment for tax purposes, which may not be subject to any Measure-5 limitations, and the Special Assessment Program can put off that day of reckoning for 10 years! And better yet, this tax savings can be passed to buyers if you decide to sell.
For more information, you should check out the SHPO website for application forms, FAQs, and complete application instructions: http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/HCD/SHPO/tax_assessment.shtml, or contact Susan Haylock, program coordinator at 503-986-0672, email email@example.com, to get your specific questions answered.
I’ve found SHPO staff very helpful in providing guidance when we applied for the Special Assessment a number of years ago, and eager to discuss your plans with you. You’ll also find on the SHPO website a recent example application for the program, which currently just happens to be for a property here in Irvington.
If you are planning or have recently completed a rehabilitation and/or restoration project on your house that will cost at or above the threshold for the Special Assessment, you should look very carefully at this option. In the case of our home, starting with property taxes in 2001 identical to those of our neighbor, in the last 10 years we have paid a total of $10,000 less in taxes than our neighbors who are not in the Special Assessment Program… (as they say “your mileage may vary”).
The other important tax-saving program your property may be eligible for is the Federal Historic Property Tax Credit program. This program is aimed at Contributing income-producing properties – of which there are a great many in Irvington, both rental real estate and commercial/retail properties.
Development and Alterations in a Historic District
by Portland Zoning Code 33.846
Chapter 33.846 Historic Reviews; Section G
On April 24, 2010, The City adopted Chapter 33.846 Historic Reviews. The review procedures in this chapter supersede procedural and threshold statements in the City’s [previously] adopted design guidelines documents for historic districts.
In the place of specific neighborhood Design Review Guidelines for Irvington, the City of Portland adopted Chapter 33.846 HISTORIC REVIEWS which states under 33.846.060.E.1.b:
“Historic Districts without district-specific guidelines. Where there are no guidelines that are specific to the Historic District, the criteria in Section 33.846.060.G are the approval criteria”
[The delineated criteria in the code are those of the national standard of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and apply to all listed individual properties and Historic Districts. It is not clear how new construction is to be reviewed.]
G. Other approval criteria. Requests for historic design review will be approved if the review body finds that the applicant has shown that all of the applicable approval criteria are:
1. Historic character. The historic character of the property will be retained and preserved. Removal of Historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that contribute to the property’s historic significance will be avoided.
2. Record of its time. The historic resource will remain a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historic development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings will be avoide3d.
3. Historic changes. Most properties change over time. These changes that have acquired historic significance will be preserved;
4. Historic features. Generally, deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where practical, in materials. Replacement of missing features must be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence;
5. Historic materials. Historic materials will be protected. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials will not be used;
6. Archaeological resources. Significant archaeological resources affected by a proposal will be protected and preserved to the extent practical. When such resources are disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.
7. Differentiate new from old. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historical materials that characterize a property. New work will be differentiated from the old.
8. Architectural compatibility. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will be compatible with the resource’s massing, size, scale and architectural features. When retrofitting or sites to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities, design solutions will not compromise the architectural integrity of the historic resource.
9. Preserve the form and integrity of historic resources. New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic resource and its environment would be unimpaired; and
10. Hierarchy of compatibility. Exterior alterations and additions will be designed to be compatible primarily with the original resource, secondarily with adjacent properties, and, finally, if located within a Historic or Conservation District, with the rest of the district. Where practical, compatibility will be pursued on all three levels.
Modifications Considered During Historic Design Review The approval criteria for modifications considered during historic design review are:
A. Better meets historic design review approval criteria. The resulting development will better meet the approval criteria for historic design review than would a design that meets the standard being modified; and
B. Purpose of the standard.
1. The resulting development will meet the purpose of the standard being modified; or
2. The preservation of the character of the historic resource is more important than meeting the purpose of the standard for which a modification has been requested.
33.846.080 Demolition Review
A. Purpose. Demolition review protects resources that have been…identified as contributing to the historic significance of a Historic District…. Demolition review recognizes that historic resources are irreplaceable assets that preserve our heritage, beautify the city, enhance civic identity, and promote economic vitality.
A. Review procedure. Demolition reviews are processed through a Type IV procedure.
B. Approval criteria. Proposals to demolish a historic resource will be approved if the review body finds that one of the following approval criteria is met.
1. Denial of a demolition permit would effectively deprive the owner of all reasonable economic use of the site; or
2. Demolition of the resource has been evaluated against and, on balance, has been found supportive of the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan, and any relevant area plans. The evaluation may consider factors such as:
a. The merits of demolition
b. The merits of development that could replace the demolished resource, either as specifically proposed for the site or as allowed under the existing zoning;
c. The effect demolition of the resources would have on the area’s desired character;
d. The effect that redevelopment on the site would have on the area’s desired character;
e. The merits of preserving the resource, taking into consideration the purposes described in Subsection A; and
f. Any proposed mitigation for the demolition.
PORTLAND ZONING CODE
33.445.320 Development and Alterations in a Historic District
Building a new structure or altering an existing structure in a Historic District requires historic design review. Historic design review ensures the resource’s historic value is considered prior to or during the development process.
A. When historic design review is required in a Historic District. Unless exempted by Section 33.445.320.B, below, the following proposals in a Historic District are subject to historic design review:
1. Exterior alteration of a primary structure;
2. Building a new structure;
3. Exterior signs;
4. Nonstandard improvements in the public right-of-way, such as street lights, street furniture, planters, public art, sidewalk and street paving materials, and landscaping, that have not received prior approval of the City Engineer;
5. Proposals using one of the provisions of the a, Alternative Design Density Overlay Zone, specified in Sections 33.405.040 through .080; and
6. Proposals in the Albina Community plan district using the provisions of Section 33.505.220, Parking Requirement Reduction, or Section 33.505.230, Attached Residential Infill on Vacant Lots in R5-Zoned Areas.
B. Exempt from historic design review.
1. Construction of a detached accessory structure with 300 square feet or less of floor area when the accessory structure is at least 40 feet from a front property line;
2. Changes that do not require a building, site, zoning, or sign permit from the City, and that will not alter the exterior material or color of a resource having exterior materials or color specifically listed in the Historic Resource Inventory, Historic Landmark nomination, or National Register nomination as an attribute that contributes to the resource's historic value;
3. Normal repair and maintenance other than change of facade color where exterior material or color is specifically listed in the Historic Resource Inventory, Historic Landmark nomination, or National Register nomination as an attribute that contributes to the resource's historic value;
4. Parking lot landscaping that meets the standards of this Title and does not include a wall or fence;
5. Improvements in the public right-of-way, such as street lights, street furniture, planters, public art, sidewalk and street paving materials, and landscaping, that meet the City Engineer’s standards;
6. Rooftop mechanical equipment, other than radio frequency transmission facilities, that is added to the roof of an existing building if the building is at least 45 feet tall and the mechanical equipment is set back at least 4 feet for every 1 foot of height of the mechanical equipment, measured from the edges of the roof or top of parapet;
7. Public Art as defined in Chapter 5.74; and
8. Solar panels that are located:
a. On a flat roof, the horizontal portion of a mansard roof, or roofs surrounded by a parapet that is at least 12 inches higher than the highest part of the roof surface. The panels must be mounted flush or on racks, with the panel or rack extending no more than 5 feet above the top of the highest point of the roof. Solar panels must also be screened from the street by:
(1) An existing parapet along the street-facing façade that is as tall as the tallest part of the solar panel, or
(2) Setting the solar panel back from the roof edges facing the street 4 feet for each foot of solar panel height.
b. On a pitched roof. Panels must be mounted flush, with the plane of the panels parallel with the roof surface, with the panel no more than 12 inches from the surface of the roof at any point, and set back 3 feet from the roof edge and ridgeline. See Figure 218-5. In addition, solar panels may not be on street-facing elevation, or on the front half of any roof surface of an elevation facing within 90 degrees of the street. See Figure 218-6.
9. Eco-roofs installed on existing buildings when the roof is flat or surrounded by a parapet that is at least 12 inches higher than the highest part of the eco-roof surface, and when no other nonexempt exterior improvements subject to historic design review are proposed. Plants must be species that do not characteristically exceed 12-inches in height at mature growth.
10. Permitted Original Art Murals as defined in Title 4 if the mural is proposed on a building that is not identified as contributing to the historic significance of a Historic District.