The Division Design Initiative was developed in response to community concerns about rapid growth without meaningful opportunity for local stakeholders to be involved.  Division in particular has experienced significant change in character and scale in a very short time with 16 large developments and over 1,000 new apartment units. While we absolutely want to encourage new housing in our neighborhood, we also care about design that fits local context and reducing unnecessary development impacts where possible. Community members have asked how they can have more design input and this initiative is one approach to creating conversations and tools to guide growth and change in proactive ways.

Empowering Communities through Creative Local Planning

Over the last six years, we’ve built inter-neighborhood coalitions, hosted 20 design committee meetings, conducted design surveys, led walking tours,  hosted mapping booths and brought diverse stakeholders together for events including Affordable, Adaptive Green Housing” and “Tools and Resources for Managing Growth and Change”. We’ve worked with two PSU architecture and planning studios, created 10  art installation “Your Voice Matters” suggestion boxes with Architecture for Humanity,  hosted (PARK)ing Day pop-up installations, held open houses and design booths at community street fairs and partnered with many volunteers to create Main Street Design guidelines. These suggestive Design Guidelines have now been adopted for six streets by six neighborhood and business associations and provide a model tool any neighborhood can use for their favorite PDX main street(s).
Now, we’re scaling up to help neighborhoods citywide with a new PDX Main St. Design Initiative! Join us at Design Week 2019 to help us kick it off and celebrate with workshops, panels, photography exhibit, awards and a celebration. RSVP to learn More.
Here are just a few of our community advocacy efforts.
DESIGN GUIDELINES | New Division Main Street Design Guidelines Adopted for  Division, Hawthorne and Sellwood-Moreland Main Streets!
TOP 10 POLICY RECS FOR PDX | Endorsed by many neighborhoods
“YOUR VOICE MATTERS” PROJECT|Developed in partnership with Architecture for Humanity these custom built art installations (old radios, printing press, bee boxes, bike wheels) were used to engage local businesses and gather community input on the community’s design vision for Division. The boxes were so successful we received over 450 vision cards at over 10 locations. These are available to other Portland neighborhoods and business districts to use to gather similar input for their area. Want to do a similar project in your neighborhood? Let us know!
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT NOTIFICATION POLICY |When and how for community members and developers. Adopted by Richmond, South Tabor and Hosford Abernethy Neighborhoods.
ADVOCACY, EDUCATION + OUTREACH | Read our Division Design Initiative Final Grant Report to SEUL. This includes a nice short summary of our 2013-2015 efforts, activities, challenges/successes, and ways the SEUL small neighborhood grant helped our grassroots education, design and planning project.
POLICY BLOG  Visit out Policy Blog to learn more about some of policy advocacy work we have done (DDI & consultant policy recs on Comp Plan, plus Mixed Use Zones, Design Overlays (DOZA), etc.
AREA SURVEY | Community Perceptions of Development  Read about the PSU Division Perceptions Survey to hear what 300 community members had say about Division’s redevelopment – positive and not so positive, what places are special and should be preserved, and what visions community members have for the future.
Please contact us at or by signing up below to hear updates on community design and development issues or to find out how to get involved.

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