Historic District Process and Fees

If Eastmoreland becomes a historic district, there will be very limited immediate impacts aside from demolition review. In February 2017, Oregon passed some Goal 5 rule changes that prevent any guidelines from automatically being applied to a new historic district. Instead, the City of Portland will have to draft district-specific guidelines for Eastmoreland through an open process. This will likely take 2 or more years, during which time there are no historic resource reviews. After there are guidelines in place, the following would generally apply.

If you wish to remodel or make changes to your home, depending on the nature of the project, it may require review.   If you are remodeling your interior, or doing ordinary exterior maintenance, painting, or repair, the historic district will have no impact on what you can do, and no review or fee is required.

Other projects that affect the exterior of your home in such a way that the changes are visible from the street require review.

For alterations to existing external features, where the façade that is affected is less than 150 square feet, or if you are building a new accessory structure (ADU), the fee is $250 for a Type I review. Notice about the work will be sent to property owners within 100 feet of your property. A review decision occurs within 21 days of submitting your application. More about the Type I process is available here.

For larger scale alterations or remodels, the nature of the review and the cost depends on the project. The various review types are defined by city building code in Title 33.846 which you can review at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/53488. Here is a snapshot of the applicable section:


Fees for other projects depend on a number of factors regarding the nature of the work. For example, will the footprint of the home change or will storm drains be affected?

Portland’s Bureau of Development Services publishes a schedule of fees at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/index.cfm?a=67127. Here is the portion that applies to historic district review fees for existing homes:


From the above, if you add to your house or if you make street-visible façade alterations that are greater than 150 square feet, and your projected construction costs are less than $437,750, you would go through a Type II review. Fees are 3.2% of the portion of the construction cost that will affect the visible exterior, plus between $66 and $974 in additional fees depending on the nature of the project. That means there is a minimum fee of $991 or a maximum of $5,974. The average remodel review fee is about $2,000. The application is reviewed by city staff. Notice is sent to property owners within 150 feet of the site or organizations within 400 feet. A decision will be made within 28 days of application or 21 days after notice of the proposal is sent, whichever occurs later. More about the Type II process is available here.
If your projected construction costs are more than $437,750 you would go through a Type III review. Fees are 3.2% of the construction cost that affects the exterior plus between $216 and $1,124 in additional fees depending on the nature of the project. That’s a minimum of $1,141, maximum of $6,124.   Approval can take 120 days or more. Property owners within 400 feet and organizations within 1,000 feet are notified. City staff reviews the proposal and makes a recommendation to a review body such as a Hearings Officer, Design Commission, or Landmarks Commission. The decision by the review body can be appealed to the City Council.

Overall, the average fee associated with historic resource review is less than $250. This is because there are many exemptions from HRR and because there are relatively few large renovation projects. We crunched the numbers for Ladd’s Addition and Irvington to see what kind of HRR fees residents there were incurring. From the following chart, you can see that more than 50% of the time, fees never exceeded $250.


Download the PDF