About East Columbia -- East Columbia is a very unique neighborhood due to its wetlands, open space and drainage ways combined with residential, industrial, and agricultural uses.




City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services
October 3, 2019

Welcome to the Neighborhood Contact Process

Earlier this year, Portland City Council adopted changes to the Neighborhood Contact requirements found in the Portland Zoning Code. The purpose of the Neighborhood Contact requirement is to provide an informal sharing of information between the applicant of a development proposal and the people who live, work and pass by the site on a regular basis. This allows neighbors to give constructive feedback about the development proposal before the applicant has submitted for a building permit or land use review.
This Bureau of Development Services video helps explain the new Neighborhood Contact requirements:
Neighborhood Contact • Land Use

The primary changes to the Neighborhood Contact requirements involve:

  • Projects requiring Neighborhood Contact – Neighborhood Contact requirements are now based on the size of the building or how many lots the site is divided into, and also include proposals involving both a land division and environmental review. 
  • Delivery method – Now applicants can use email or standard mail to notify neighborhood associations, district neighborhood coalitions, business associations and, in some cases, school districts of an upcoming building permit or land use review proposal that requires Neighborhood Contact.
  • Burden of responsibility – The current version places responsibility on the neighborhood association to host a meeting. The new version primarily places responsibility on the applicant, although the neighborhood association has the option to host some of the meetings.  
  • Notification – Applicants are now required to install a sign or signs on the site notifying neighbors of an upcoming development proposal before an application is submitted to the City. The Bureau of Development Services also has a new online tool for those who want to know about larger development proposals that require Neighborhood Contact. 
The Neighborhood Contact requirements go into effect on December 2, 2019; however, because these requirements must be completed before a building permit or land use review application is submitted, the new requirements may apply to development proposals now.

In order to further assist applicants and neighbors navigate the new requirements, the Bureau of Development has developed the following materials:
  • Neighborhood Resources Webpage – this webpage provides a variety of information that neighbors may find helpful when navigating Portland’s land use and zoning processes. The website contains information concerning the Neighborhood Contract requirements including the materials below.
  • Neighborhood Contact Overview – the overview provides details on when Neighborhood Contract is required, the documentation required to be submitted, and a description of the requirements.
  • Information for Applicants – this document provides step by step instructions to help applicants complete the Neighborhood Contact process and properly document that requirements were met. 
  • Certification Statement – this document provides a summary of the Neighborhood Contact submittal requirements and provides a form that applicants can sign to demonstrate other requirements were met.
  • Instructions for Neighborhood Contact Sign – this webpage provides step by step instructions for creating the sign(s) required for the site.
  • Development Sign Templates – this webpage contains links to three software programs with fillable templates to create the sign.
  • Administrative Rule for Neighborhood Contact Sign – this Administrative Rule codifies the requirements related to the Neighborhood Contact sign.

For questions or further information about the Neighborhood Contact program, please contact Matt Wickstrom at 503-823-6825 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The City of Portland is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications,translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-7300, the TTY at 503-823-6868 or the Oregon Relay Service: 711.
Traducción e interpretación | Chuyển Ngữ hoặc Phiên Dịch | 翻译或传译
Письменныйили устный перевод | 翻訳または通訳 | Traducere sau Interpretare
번역 및 통역 | Письмовий або усний переклад | Turjumida ama Fasiraadda
Copyright © 2019 City of Portland Bureau of Development Services, All rights reserved.


Letter from our ECNA chair

City Code chapter 3.96 has to do with neighborhood associations and gives us standing within city government.  It is this portion of City Code that is being rewritten and has caused a city-wide stir.  To be sure, emotions are running strong around the city as the proposed code change moves forward.  Of course, there are some supporters, but the most vocal voices are opposing it as currently written.  I believe we will end up with revised language but in my opinion the process is seriously flawed and got off to a very bad start.

This portion of City Code impacts neighborhoods and other groups that exist to foster civic involvement. I encourage anyone with an interest in this topic to do some research and then call or write the office of each City Commissioner and the Mayor to voice an opinion.  I’m told that phone calls are being tabulated XX in favor, and YY as opposed.  You will probably get the staff person that answers the phone, so don’t be afraid to voice your opinion even if you have not researched the issues extensively.  A good place to start is by reading the following:

• City Auditor's report 2016 https://www.portlandoregon.gov/auditservices/article/597834

• Community Connect - https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/182408

• Planetizen article - https://www.planetizen.com/features/105399-et-tu-portland

• League of Women Voters letter - https://lwvpdx.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LWV-Code-3.96-committee-7-19.pdf

More information can be found on the City’s Civic Life web site.  I encourage you get the latest code wording there, then call and voice your opinion.



Please speak up

The current animosity against neighborhood associations in some corners of City Hall is based on the premise that neighborhood associations (NAs) serve the affluent much better than they serve the marginalized portion of our community. The 3.96 Code Change Project is meant to correct this imbalance. The critique is valid, and the goal is necessary, even if the process has been deeply flawed. (Google “Portland 3.96” for a broad range of information on the topic).

The East Columbia Neighborhood Association, like just about every NA in the city, objects to the direction that the Office of Community and Civic Life has taken with the code rewrite process, and intends to see it handled differently. However, we take to heart the criticism that we have not been inclusive enough, and if we want to remain relevant, change is necessary to open up opportunities to our neighbors who haven’t felt included. 

Those changes need to include:

  • Active diversity outreach
    • Color, ethnicity, gender
    • Renters
  • Cross-over projects with other civic groups
  • Language translation for non-English speaking residents

My vision for the East Columbia NA is as a service organization that works to improve the quality of life for all of our residents, and that requires open communication with all members of our community. 

I have some requests: 

  • If you have issues that the East Columbia NA can help you with, please speak up. These issues might include:
    • Conflict resolution with other neighbors
    • Help navigating city bureaucracy
    • Help finding support programs for personal crises such as drug intervention, financial assistance, or elder care. 
    • Projects to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood
  • If you have civic expertise and would like to partner with the East Columbia NA in creating a network of community support, please speak up. We need to develop a comprehensive and vibrant list of all of the assets in our community, so we can help each other. These assets might be: 
    • Non-Governmental Organizations with links to our neighborhood.
    • Social Workers or City employees with programs or expertise that can help our neighbors.
    • Historians or other experts in local issues.
  • If you want to help the East Columbia NA make a difference and stay relevant to the needs of the community, please speak up. We need your participation to make changes to ourselves and to the world around us. The more tightly interwoven we are as a community, the stronger we are, whether in an emergency, or in our day-by-day lives.

All of our meetings are open to the public, and you can speak to us in person, or you can write me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact me on Next Door Neighbor.

29 August 2019

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