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Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Collection of School Construction Excise Tax for Centennial School District Starting April 1, 2015

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

March 24, 2015


Contact:  Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

Effective April 1, 2015, all building permits applied for within the boundaries of the Centennial School District within the City of Portland will be assessed a School Construction Excise Tax (CET) at the time of building permit issuance. The tax is assessed per square foot on structures or portions of structures intended for residential or nonresidential use.

The following CET rates will apply to building permits within the Centennial School District applied for on or after April 1, 2015:

  • Residential Construction - $1.17 per sq. ft.
  • Non-residential Construction - $0.58 per sq. ft.
  • Maximum for Non-residential Construction - $29,200

Information about the CET
A law (Senate Bill 1036) was enacted by Oregon State Legislature in 2007 to help Oregon school districts pay for a portion of the cost of new or expanded school facilities. The bill allows school boards, in cooperation with cities and counties, to tax new residential and non-residential development. For more information on the CET, please see the Bureau’s School Construction Excise Tax (CET) Facts sheet. 

Centennial School District CET Boundaries with-in City of PortlandCentennial School District CET Boundaries with-in City of Portland

Major Residential Alteration and Addition Permits: New Permit Category with Notification and Delay Requirements

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

March 12, 2015


Contact:  Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

In response to community requests for notification when large remodels, addition and alterations occur to existing homes, Portland City Council has approved changes to Title 24, Portland Building Regulations, establishing a new Major Residential Alteration and Addition (MRAA) permit category. MRAA permit applications will require a 35-day notice to specific recognized neighborhood organizations and to surrounding neighbors prior to permit issuance. Creation of this new permit type is related to additional changes to residential demolition delay provisions in City Code section 24.55.200 that will go into effect April 20, 2015. BDS will provide more information on the Demolition Delay and Notification changes at the beginning of April 2015. 

The Bureau of Development Services is providing the following advance notification to the community and potential applicants with projects that fall into the new MRAA permit category:

  • Effective April 20, 2015, all single-dwelling residential permit applications that meet the new MRAA permit category definition will require notification to recognized neighborhood organizations and neighbors 35 days before the permit will be issued.
  • Notification can be provided prior to applying for permits that fall within the new MRAA permit category. In order to avoid delay in the issuance of permits in the MRAA category, notification to relevant neighborhood organization and neighbors will need to be provided prior to the effective date.
  • For example, if you have a project that falls into the MRAA permit category, and apply for the permit on or after April 20, 2015, neighborhood notification is required. Your permit will not be issued until notification is complete and a 35 day delay period has passed. Therefore, if you want to start your project on April 20, 2015, you will need to provide neighborhood notification no later than March 16, 2015.
  • The new MRAA Webpage and Service Level Update provide detailed information on the defining characteristics of the new permit type; details on notification requirements; a link to the Neighborhood Notification form, which is required to be submitted with building permit application; and other information on these new changes and requirements.

For questions please visit the Development Services Center at 1900 SW 4th Ave., or call our general telephone line at 503-823-7300.

Proposed Revisions to City of Portland’s Title 24.85 "Seismic Design Requirements for Existing Buildings"

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

The City of Portland is proposing to revise Title 24.85 Seismic Design Requirements for Existing Buildings. In December 2014, Bureau of Development Services, City of Portland, requested comments and feedback on the proposed changes from interested parties. The comments submitted in response to this request were considered by the City’s Structural Advisory Board in February 2015.

The recommendations of the Structural Advisory Board to the proposed changes and the comments along with the revised proposal may be viewed by clicking on the links provided below.

The Bureau of Development Services is interested in getting your feedback on the revised proposed changes. Since comments to original proposal were due and submitted by December 31, 2014, we request that new comments be limited to recommendations of the Structural Advisory Board and resolution of previous comments submitted. Please email your comments to by March 27, 2015.

Expansion of Accessory Short Term Rentals

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

February 18, 2015


Contact:  Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

On February 13, 2015 the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) started implementing changes to the Portland Zoning Code allowing residents of apartments and condos to operate Accessory Short Term Rental (ASTR) from their home through the ASTR permitting process.  ASTR are allowed through the permitting process when a resident rents out up to two rooms in their home for less than 30 days.  ASTR operations in a house were allowed beginning August 30, 2014.  City Council approved the expansion of ASTR permitting to apartments and condos on January 14, 2015.  ASTR permits are required in order to operate short-term rentals within the City of Portland.  Information on the permitting of short-term rentals can be found on BDS’s website at:

“Expanding Accessory Short Term Rental permits to residents of apartments and condo will allow more people in Portland to benefit from the sharing economy” said Commissioner Fritz, who oversees the Bureau of Development Services.  Bureau Director, Paul Scarlett adds “The same rules and processes that apply to permitting an Accessory Short Term Rental in a house now apply to the broader community of residents who live in apartments and condos.”

To find information on the regulations, permitting process, permit applications and FAQs, please see our Service Level Update or visit the BDS Accessory Short Term Rental webpage.  For more information contact the Bureau of Development Services Public Information Officer, Ross Caron at 503-823-4268 or

New Seismic Peer Review RFP and Fees

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

On December 17, 2014 the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) issued a request for proposal (RFP) to contract with qualified engineering teams to provide Peer Review Services for building submittals utilizing Performance Based Design methodology. Peer Reviews are required when a developer and their design team propose a building that utilizes Performance Based Design to create a unique Lateral Force Resisting System to meet seismic requirements. Rather than follow the prescriptive design options specified in the Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC), Performance Based Design uses analyses such as computer modeling to demonstrate that the building will meet or exceed the structural requirements of the building code. The Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) requires that buildings designed using Performance Based Design methods undergo peer review by a qualified team of engineering professionals who are not part of the building design team. Peer reviews are also required for designs that utilize analysis methods that include non-linear time history analysis for seismic designs, when structures are designed to be base isolated for lateral forces, or when viscous dampers are used as part of the lateral load resisting system. The Peer reviewers test design assumptions to ensure that the proposed design provides structural performance that equals or exceeds that required by the Oregon Structural Specialty Code.

The Performance Based Design approach is typically used for high rise buildings exceeding 240 feet in height that are constructed with concrete core walls, but other performance based design solutions can trigger Peer Review. By moving away from the prescriptive code requirements and using Performance Based Design to resolve the seismic issues for tall buildings, the developer and contractor believe they realize savings in time and materials while achieving seismic resistance that meets or exceeds the requirements of the OSSC. Through this RFP, the Bureau will recruit up to three qualified engineering teams to perform Peer Reviews on an as-needed basis, including a high rise project that is proposed to begin design work as early as February 2015. Other west coast cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have contracted with Peer Review teams since 2008 to supplement their plan staff for projects using Performance Based design. BDS expects Performance Based Design and other design approaches that require peer reviews by OSSC to slowly increase over the next several years in Portland as well.

To recover the costs associated with Peer Review services, the Bureau is proposing a Peer Review Fee. This fee is anticipated to cover the actual cost of the Peer Review for each project, plus an additional 3% project management fee to cover the time BDS employees spend working with peer reviewers and insuring contract compliance. The City Council hearing on the Peer Review Fee Ordinance is scheduled for January 28, 2015 at 9:45 A.M.

It is important to note that BDS anticipates only one to three projects over the next 5 years to request this service. The use of Performance Based Design and other alternative design methods is completely voluntary on the part of the developer, and only those few projects will be subject to the Peer Review fee. The vast majority of work reviewed by BDS, such as single family construction and most commercial construction, will not utilize performance based design or be subject to the required Peer Review, and therefore will not be impacted by the fee.

The Peer Review RFP and Fee will allow BDS to meet its obligation under the OSSC to approve alternative design methods that provide strength and safety equivalent to that provided by prescriptive provisions of the code. It also allows BDS to maintain a strong commitment to provide excellent programs and services while operating in a fiscally responsible manner.

For Questions or further information, please contact Amit Kumar at 503-823-7561 or