The PDX Main St. Design Initiative is bringing together a coalition of community and business leaders, architects, designers, planners, and community advocates collaborating to support communities with tools, events, education, and policy advocacy to advance historic preservation, design literacy, sustainability and innovation, and density with sensitivity.
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 and read on to learn More.
Education + Design Events
Upcoming Portland Design Week Events!
- Workshop: Design for Affordability, Resiliency + Sustainability | Monday, April 8th – 3-6 pm, downtown at New Buildings Institute
- PDX Main Streets Launch Party, Speakers, Historic Hawthorne Photo Exhibit + Recognition Awards! “Sustaining Main Streets + Cultural Identity” – Thursday April 11, 2019 5-8 pm on the east side at the Architectural Heritage Center
Hawthorne Visioning Workshop – January 24 – 6-8:30 pm
Walking Tour: Hawthorne History, Design + Development | Saturday March 2, 2019, 1-3 pm, 3-4 pm Happy Hour
PDX Main St. Design Awards
Join us at the Architectural Heritage Center on April 11th as we roll out new Main St. Design Awards for our favorite new and adapted main street construction, our community champions, and best main street designers.
Support for Grassroots-initiated Main St. Design Guidelines
Our Main Street 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 PDX main street(s).
Like other neighborhoods and business associations we work with, we can help you craft a vision, identify your special buildings and opportunity sites to set goals in advance and engage stakeholders to better understand the important role of design in making density work better and be more affordable. By being proactive, before development happens, you can shape your neighborhood design vision and priorities for the future. Learn more
Is your favorite Main St or civic corridor in transition? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.
Policy Advocacy + Education
Design for Affordability
Main St. Design Standards + Guidelines
Help Build a Movement for Main Streets
Organize, Research, Volunteer, Advocate, Fundraise, Donate
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
As older neighborhoods evolve, there are many issues to balance including housing, economic vitality, sustainability, equity and livability, and preservation of historic resources and identity, etc. Infill is an important part of the city’s growth strategy and its attempt to address climate change. However, “A concern of many people is that the rate of growth overwhelms and erases the legacy of these areas as various older buildings are replaced.” (City of Portland DOZA Tools Concept Report).
GOOD DESIGN MAKES DENSITY WORK BETTER.
The quality and character of new buildings vary greatly as does the intensity of impact to neighborhoods, districts, and properties depending on HOW infill is designed. The challenge and opportunity is to design it well and be sensitive to the context, character and identity of an area while increasing needed housing. This can be done both in vacant and underutilized areas as well as above lower-scale buildings where appropriate. Most of our neighborhoods will not have development reviewed by the design commission, and most of our neighborhoods do not have design guidelines that help reflect local area priorities for special buildings and places so more tools and support for communities are needed.
POLICY | In addition to our design work, we’ve also supported neighborhoods with outreach, education and advocacy to help empower community members to navigate the complexities of local planning issues and to be involved in shaping public policy.
NEW DESIGN STANDARDS + GUIDELINES ARE UNDERWAY AT THE CITY
DOZA Public Comments Due 4/12/2019
As the City’s DOZA Findings Report notes, “The current system doesn’t recognize the varied impacts of different scales of development. Much of Portland’s unique character and reputation derives from the abundance of small-scale, home-grown businesses that reflect the individual personalities of the people who own and operate them. Indeed, many Portland neighborhoods are filled with a fine-grained, exuberant mixture of shops, restaurants, food carts, galleries, pubs, and personal services. In the last decade, however, this diverse and distinctive character has been gradually replaced by new buildings with considerably less “hand-crafted” character at the street level.” (DOZA Findings Report 2016)