1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2009
Contact: Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268
(Portland, OR) The Bureau of Development Services is committed to providing the highest level of service to the City’s development community and citizens through an effective and coordinated development review and inspection program.
Over the last year, the Bureau has experienced its most drastic workload and revenue decline in recent history due to a steep and sustained decline in construction activity. In response to the revenue decline, the Bureau has laid off 150 employees in three phases, with the final stage effective September 30, 2009.
Bureau management and staff continue to work on implementing organizational changes and efficiencies that will maximize our ability to provide customers an acceptable level of service despite reduced resources. We have already made a significant change: closing the Development Services Center (DSC) on Mondays. Please see the August 28, 2009 Press Release on the front page of our website at www.portlandonline.com/bds.
We will be working closely with our customer groups on developing and finalizing additional adjustments to services. We have developed a communication plan to regularly communicate any significant bureau organizational and service level changes to our customers, industry stakeholders, community organizations and citizens.
“The Bureau of Development Services is focusing all of its energy on maintaining the highest level of customer service possible in this extremely difficult situation,” said Paul Scarlett, Bureau Director, “We remain committed to working with our customers in an open, collaborative and productive manner.”
The Development Services Center (DSC) continues to provide a wide range of services to professionals and citizens interested in development regulations and policies, including the submittal of land use reviews, building permits, trade permits and street use permits. Document Services, located on the 2nd Floor, remains open Monday through Friday for building permit corrections and issuance.
Permit inspections will continue to be performed five days a week. The automated inspection request procedure remains unchanged. Effective August 31st, building inspections division telephones will be staffed from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Customers are encouraged to call for an appointment if they need to meet in person at the 1900 Building with inspections staff.
The Bureau of Development Services 5th Floor Reception desk remains open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
Service Level Update: Plan Review/Permitting Services Division
Trade Permit Service Update
September 24, 2009. The Bureau of Development Services Trade Permit team continues to be committed to providing the highest level of service to you, our valued customers.
Over the last year, the Bureau has experienced a drastic decline in revenue due to decreased construction activity. The decline in revenue has necessitated a reduction in bureau-wide staffing. We are hopeful that this is a temporary situation and we intend to return to our normal turnaround goals when revenue increases.
We would like you to be aware of the impact of this staff reduction and the ways we can continue to help you immediately.
Fax-In: Fax-in applications are processed in the order they are received. Until we are able to return to normal operations, we are unable to set processing turn-around times for faxed-in application.
Online: However, you CAN get a permit immediately by using our Internet Permits service.
Log into www.portlandonline.com/bds and follow the simple instructions to set up an account. Permits purchased online can be scheduled for inspection at the same time. If you need assistance with this process, please call 503-823-7363. Please note: Sanitary sewer, commercial mechanical, and permits requiring site plans are currently not available online.
Walk-In: Walk-in customers are served at the Development Service Center (DSC) Trade Permit counter Tuesday – Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Development Services Center is closed on Mondays.
Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate together through this challenging time.
Service Level Update: Inspection Services Division
Permit Inspection Operational Changes
September 24, 2009. Budgetary constraints have necessitated significant staffing reductions within the Inspection Services Division. In order to maintain the highest possible service level with limited resources, the division has explored and identified areas where efficiency can be improved. In addition, the division has prioritized the various types of inspections performed, and certain inspections will no longer be performed until further notice. This will allow us to focus on the most critical areas of work relative to fire and life safety, structural integrity and livability.
POLICY AND PROCEDURAL CHANGES
The following policy and procedure changes are effective October 1, 2009 until further notice:
PERMIT “SET-OVER” PRIORITIES
In the event that all requested inspections cannot be completed in a given day, customers will be
notified by telephone if their inspections request has been set over. Inspections will be prioritized
If you have questions, you may contact Jim Nicks at 503-823-1054.
Service Level Update: Sign, Awnings and A-Boards
Organizational and Contact Information Changes
October 7, 2009. Recent changes have been made to the Sign and A-Board program in response to budgetary constraints and staffing reductions. The changes realize efficiencies through the consolidation of certain aspects of the program with other similar programs within the Bureau of Development Services. The following table provides updated program services, locations, and contact information.
Service Level Update: Site Services Division
Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program
October 19, 2009. Budgetary constraints have necessitated significant staffing reductions to the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services. All programs within the Bureau are being evaluated to find efficiencies and monitor cost recovery efforts for the types of services provided. At this time it is necessary to modify the existing Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program to maintain an acceptable level of service. We believe that the Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program is valuable to property owners, insurance companies, and fire restoration contractors in streamlining the permit process and getting occupants back into their homes as quickly as possible. The following changes will be implemented effective October 19, 2009:
With these changes we plan to continue the Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program and apologize for any inconvenience these changes may cause. We believe in the value of the Residential Fire Damage Inspection Program and hope that you will continue to partner with us to keep the program successful in the obtaining the speedy reoccupation of residential fire damaged properties.
If you have questions you may contact Mike Liefeld at (503) 823-7332.