Design Guidelines

Background + Process of Creating the Division-Hawthorne Main Street Design GuidelinesCover99%

Learn More & View the Updated Draft

BACKGROUND | After almost five years of community discussions, research, design tours, surveys, and community outreach and engagement events, an outgrowth of the Division Design Initiative work has led to the creation of Draft Design Guidelines for Division!

Draft Division Design Guidelines Cover ImageThe design guidelines were proposed for Division from 11th-60th, consistent with the 2006 adopted Division Green Street/Main Street Plan  and  now extend to 81st as requested by STNA and MTNA.

Purpose and goals of the Design Guidelines are to enhance building and street design and clarify community goals and priorities for new development (see further detailed goals and priorities listed below).

View the full 2018 Division Main Street Design Guidelines 99% Draft

Here is the shorter earlier adopted 2016 version of the Provisionally Adopted Draft Division Design Guidelines (we had a draft long version with text similar to the final but our Design Committee felt it was too long without images and illustrations at that time so we developed the short version to get agreement on the core elements first)

Adoption Status of the Design Guidelines | Draft Division Design Guidelines were provisionally adopted in Fall 2016 by 4 neighborhood associations and two business associations as of Fall 2016. Community edits from this process have been incorporated and an updated version was distributed widely for public review in May 2018. As of March 2019, the following six neighborhood and business groups have adopted the guidelines with application to six main streets in Portland:

  • Adopted by Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood District (HAND): Provisionally adopted the short version Division Design Guidelines in July 2016. View HAND Comments & Proposed Edits to the 2016 Draft. Formal board adoption of the 2018 draft in June 2018.
  • Adopted by Richmond Neighborhood Association (RNA): Provisionally adopted the Short Version of the Division Design Guidelines in November 2016. Formal board adoption of the 2018 draft in June 2018.
  • Adopted by Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association (HBBA): Provisionally adopted the Short version of the Division Design Guidelines in  Fall 2016. HBBA Board unanimously adopted the 2018 draft in June 2018. We are working now with HBBA to customize their three pieces of the guidelines: Vision, List of Special Character Buildings and Key Sites List through multiple Community visioning workshops – 11/29/2018 + 1/23/2019, multiple History, Design + Development walking tours on 2/23/19 + 3/2/19. Workshops each had 50-70 attendees each and walking tours were had approximately 70 total participants over both dates. HBBA has adopted a draft SE Hawthorne HRI + Special Character Buildings List 11-12-18 which has been shared widely over list serves at events, and is online for review.
  • Division Design Committee: Recommended Guidelines Draft Approved with a recommendation for broader neighborhood adoption in May 2016
  • Adopted by South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA): Provisionally adopted the Division Design Guidelines in June 2016 (with a request they extend to 81st or 82nd);  Adopted 2018 guidelines Summer 2018
  • Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA): Provisionally adopted the Division Design Guidelines in July 2016 (with a request they extend to 81st or 82nd) View MTNA Comments & Proposed Edits.  We have requested agenda time for adoption consideration.
  • Adopted by Division Clinton Business Association (DCBA): Provisionally adopted with unanimous support on August 16th 2016. Adopted the 2018 draft Summer 2018.
  • Adopted by Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE): The Design Guidelines were originally presented to the SMILE board in 2016 with strong support. In January 2019, SMILE unanimously adopted the 2018 Division-Hawthorne Main St. Guidelines for application to four main street areas in Sellwood. We are working now with SMILE to customize their three pieces of the guidelines: Vision, List of Special Character Buildings and Key Sites List.

How was the Community Involved? With support from neighborhood and business associations, a Division Design Committee with appointed and elected community community representatives, a Division Design Task Force,  design consultants (Urbsworks & Design+Culture Lab), as well as many volunteers have collaborated together to create design guidelines. The community has been closely involved through extensive surveys and outreach events, design committees, as well as through the seven participating SE neighborhood organizations on the Design Committee . Additionally, all community members were encouraged to attend the open design committee monthly meetings held monthly at SE Uplift between March 2014 and May 2016. Continuing for several years after the project extensive outreach, surveys, public workshops and events were held, a list serve of 300 people was developed. See #2 under “Overview of the Process for Creating the Design Guidelines” for more detail. Also see the Final Draft Guidelines page for further detail on the final process for community adoption of the 2018 draft and the “Adoption Status of the Design Guidelines” below for further details on process and extensive engagement.

Scope & Applicability of the Guidelines | The scope of the guidelines match the Division Green Street/Main Street Plan boundaries along Division from 11th to 60th, however both STNA and MTNA approval recommendations have encouraged these also extend to 81st or 82nd. The proposed design guidelines are voluntary, unlike standards which are mandatory. However it has been suggested to the City that these be considered for incorporation into the Division Plan District as part of the new Mixed Use Zoning, which would provide an opportunity for relevant guidelines to be turned into required standards.

Purpose & Goals for the Division Design Guidelines

• Create Design Guidelines consistent with the goals and area addressed by the Division Green Street/Main Street Plan (11th-60th)
• Clearly articulate the neighborhood design goals and community design preferences for Division Street
• Improve compatibility of new development with existing neighborhood/business context
• Improve processes for neighborhood/business engagement with developers working on or near Division Street
• Provide the Division community and adjacent neighborhoods with design tools, resources and terminology to more effectively advocate for community design priorities and preferences
• Reduce neighborhood and/or business association conflicts and improve overall planning and community process with architects, developers and project applicants by providing clear direction on community goals and design preferences
• Give the community a better voice in design and future development so that they can help to shape this change to reflect the community’s values as the Division corridor evolves
• Create design guidelines that can be used not only for the Division corridor but also as model example for other neighborhoods in the city and other communities that are facing similar issues

Background | View the “Division Design Guidelines Request for Proposals (RFP)” for more background on the Division Design Initiative and the need for creating Division Design Guidelines: RFP for Design Guidelines consultant 12.1.14 FINAL

Overview of the process for creating the Division Design Guidelines:

  1. Formation of an Inter-neighborhood Division Design Committee and Design Task Force (Spring 2014) Requests for funding support from the City denied. As City Staff person is present at nearly all 20+ public Design Committee community meeting between 2014-2016.
  2. Extensive research and community outreach through background documents of related plans and policies, online and paper surveys, PSU student planning projects, PSU Architecture  Studios and extensive outreach at monthly public meetings and community events (Spring 2014-Summer 2016).  Ten ” Your Voice Matters” Art Installation Vision Boxes installed along the length of Division St. at locations where people shop, ride public transit, do yoga, dine, at food cart pods, etc and more than 450 vision cards are received. 300 people also take the online Division Perception survey which was advertized widely and open over 10 months. The survey was painstakingly analyzed by an independent consultant to strip any person info out so it could shared for all to see and the data could be referenced as partial validation of  broadly heard community design preferences and priorities.
  3. Technical design and policy support from design consultants (See RFP Scope of Work Phase 1)  The Division Design Committee sought qualified design consultants to assist with creating design guidelines for SE Division Street. The scope of design work extended from 11th to 60th, consistent with the adopted 2006 Division Green Street/Main Street Plan. Work included facilitating community design process, writing detailed design criteria that helps articulate community design preferences for priority design topics, and producing a downloadable design guidelines booklet.
  4. 1st Draft – Consultant and Community Draft Design Guidelines  (a.k.a. The Draft Resource Guide to Creating Division Design Guidelines or the “long version of the draft design guidelines” (Summer-Fall 2015)
  5. 2nd Draft – Design Task Force draft guidelines (a.k.a. the “Cheat Sheet for Designers” or the “short version of the guidelines”) (Spring 2016)
  6. Recommended Design Committee Draft of the Division Design Guidelines (May 2016)
  7. Presentations to Business Association + Neighborhood Association for comments and Preliminary Adoption beginning in Spring 2016. All 4 NA’s, DCBA + HBBA Provisionally Adopted Draft Guidelines by Dec. 2016
  8.  Revised Draft of Provisionally Adopted Guidelines from Public Feedback that was shared was reviewed, and integrated as best as possible as edits to the Design Guidelines. Document design was done by volunteers and graphics by community members gathered to create a 70+ page illustrated longer version of the Guidelines which added supporting detail to what was already approved, drawing from content developed with our consultants and from other Portland guidelines (e.g. Sunnyside, Boise-Elliot, etc).
  9. 2018 Draft Main St. Design Guidelines Adopted for Division – the Updated Draft Guidelines was presented to stakeholders (RNA, HAND, STNA, DCBA) and adopted by all. MTNA is still outstanding but had adopted the previous draft.
  10. Hawthorne Adopts Division-Hawthorne Main St. Guidelines + Recommends they become SE Guidelines – Unanimous adoption by the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association (HBBA) in Summer of 2018
  11. Sellwood Moreland Unanimously Adopts Division Hawthorne Guidelines – In January 2019, the SMILE board adopted the guidelines with application for four Main St. Areas in Sellwood Moreland. Guidelines now apply to six main street areas in SE Portland.
  12. Ongoing Policy + Design Recommendations based on Community Adopted Design Priorities including new Mixed Use Zones + the Division Plan District, 2035 Comprehensive Plan, RIP, and DOZA between 2014-2016. Many neighborhoods endorse the DDI Top Ten Policy Recommendations for the City of Portland in 2016. Ongoing policy on Neighborhood Code Update, Historic Resources Code Update and DOZA Citywide proposed Design Standards + Guidelines continue through 2019.
  13. Many neighborhoods continue to contact DDI with interest in adopting the guidelines or for help with their own guidelines (e.g. Lloyd, SWHRL, Concordia, etc)

Read more:

How to Comment: Email us at with any questions.

Sincere thanks to the more than 1,000 people who have participated during this two year project!

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