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RIP City?

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

When I was growing up, Rip City meant one thing: the Portland Trailblazers. But today, mention 'Rip' in architecture, real estate, and urban design circles and you're likely referring to something else: the Residential Infill Project (RIP).

"The RIP" is a series of local ordinances that changed the zoning to allow more dwelling units on properties. It gained a lot of headlines like: "Upzoning Rising: Oregon Bans Single-Family Zoning" from Bloomberg. The first public meetings regarding these proposed changes were held years ago, and the changes were implemented in two different phases (RIP1 & RIP2), with the latest zoning changes going into effect just weeks ago (RIP2 went into effect on June 30, 2022).

Thousands of pages of ordinance changes, drafts, commentary, meeting minutes, guides, brochures, web pages, revisions, corrections, schedules, addenda, etc., were released to the public for each phase of "the RIP."

From the City of Portland's website, a listing of documents that have changed

But the zoning giveth, and the zoning taketh away. Although the headlines say that more units are allowed on lots (the process sometimes awkwardly called "upzoning"), new regulations and restrictions much more strictly constrain building. Buildable square footage limits were revised downwards, or added where they previously did not exist, and same is true for lot coverage formulas. The result is that many lots don't actually qualify for any additions or additional units.

Technical changes that were adopted and effective immediately include new allowable or restricted building typologies, the definitions of those housing types, new formulas for determining buildable area, with more exceptions and bonuses that may or may not be available, new lot coverage formulas, new bonuses for height (and new restrictions), different methods for calculated allowable units, and on and on.

From RIP2, a partial listing of the new (major) changes

The result? A lot more people asking the same thing (just with more documents to review in order to find the answer): "What can I build here?"

We're happy to say that the latest zoning changes have been incorporated into UrbanForm. We're happy to be able to provide our customers with exactly what is allowable for the specific lot in question.

Available now. Up to date. Instant results. Only what pertains to the property you're interested.

Jump into UrbanForm Portland now to check it out. Contact us to talk about getting a free trial.


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