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Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300

TTY : 503-823-6868

1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

BDS Service Updates

Submitting Plans before July 1, 2012


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update:

Submitting Plans before July 1, 2012

As we come to the close of the current fiscal year, and an anticipated increase in fees beginning July 1, 2012, we understand our customers desire to complete the submittal of plans prior to the year end. BDS will be providing additional hours each week during June to help you achieve your goal of having a complete permit submittal and paying intake fees prior to July 1, 2012. Consistent with the remainder of the year, acceptance of projects is contingent upon meeting all minimum submittal requirements prior to intake. Fees must be paid prior to close of business at 4:00 PM on June 29, 2012.

To assist our customers manage the timely submittal of their projects, we are providing additional staff in the DSC for permit set up and pre-submittal plan screening by a Technician on Thursday and Friday afternoons from 1:00 - 3: 00 p.m. the weeks prior to fiscal year end (6/7 & 8, 6/14 &15, 6/21 & 22). This may allow you to avoid any last minute permit deficiencies when you arrive to submit your projects during our regular plan submittal hours (8:00 a.m. to 12 noon Tuesday - Friday).

We will also expand our hours to set up New Single Family Submittals (NSFR) to Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon’s from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. through June 22, 2012. If your NSFR submittal has been deemed complete and intake fees have been paid by Friday, June 29, 2012 your permit will be charged our current 2011-12 fees (even if your NSFR appointment occurs in July). Please note: Customers who have permitted a NSFR within the past year can "drop off" their plans on the Second Floor in Permitting Services prior to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 22, 2012. This will allow us enough time to screen the plans and contact you with the intake fees owing. Fees must be paid prior to July 1, 2012.

Please arrange your schedule and plans now to attend one of these afternoons if you have any questions regarding a complete submittal or visit us ahead of the rush. The minimum submittal standards for residential projects are also available on our website at and for commercial projects at

Permitting Services and Plan Review / Planning and Zoning Divisions


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update Document:

Permitting Services and Plan Review / Planning and Zoning Divisions

April 20, 2012. The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) strives to maintain the highest level of service level possible, coordinating our limited resources to ensure the valued and critical services we provide to customers are timely. We periodically review and evaluate the services provided and make adjustments as needed. We have recently completed a review and evaluation of the DSC Will Call Service (temporary plan/document storage service). We found that it is utilized by a limited number of customers and does not warrant the additional staff time and logistics required to maintain the service.

Effective May 1, 2012, BDS will discontinue providing temporary plan/document storage for customers in the Development Service Center (DSC). Any plans/Documents that are currently located in Will Call must be retrieved prior to June 1, 2012. Plans/Documents will need to remain with the customer prior to submittal, and in Document Services from submittal through issuance.

We appreciate the understanding and patience of our customers as we continue to focus on efficiently providing our core services and functions.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ross Caron at or (503) 823-4268.

Enforcement / Complaint Operational Changes and Priorities


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update Document:

Neighborhood Inspections/Compliance Services Section
Enforcement / Complaint Operational Changes and Priorities

February 17, 2012. The Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section operates Zoning, Noise, Work without Permit, Dangerous Buildings, Signs & A-Boards, Nuisance, Housing, Derelict Buildings, Exterior Maintenance Requirements on non-Residential Structures and Chapter 13/Systematic Inspection enforcement programs. Due to a sharp reduction in inspection staff in 2009, it became necessary to prioritize the various types of complaint investigation and enforcement cases that will be performed. This allows us to focus existing resources on the most critical areas of compliance work relative to fire, life safety, health, sanitation, environmental and neighborhood livability. As more inspection resources are added, previous service levels will be restored.


The following policy and procedure changes remain in effect:

  • Increased response time to investigate assigned cases and reduced re inspections and case management for active cases.
  • Reduction of Nuisance Abatements, except for the most severe Fire/Life/Safety and Health/Sanitation cases.
  • Reduction of violation cases referred to the Code Hearings Officer for additional enforcement remedies to gain compliance.
  • Suspension of the Chapter 13/Systematic Inspection Program on older 3 or more story apartment buildings.
  • Suspension of the Disabled Vehicle Enforcement Program.


It is necessary to prioritize various enforcement/complaint types in order to effectively process the most critical cases with reduced resources. The Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section has developed a 3 category system to assign enforcement resources. Priority 1 is the most urgent cases and Neighborhood Inspections& Compliance Services will continue to respond to these situations. Priority 2 is less urgent and Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services will attempt to respond as resources allow. Priority 3 is a low priority and no enforcement/compliance action will be taken at this time.

The priority factors include (in ranked order):

Type of Property

1st – Rental Properties

2nd – Vacant Properties

3rd – Owner Occupied Properties

Type of Issue or Concern

1st – Fire / Life / Safety concerns

2nd – Health concerns

3rd – Environmental concerns

4th – Impact to the community

Based on the priority factors listed above, enforcement resources will be assigned to the different enforcement case types performed by the Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section. The priority list below contains examples for the various enforcement case types and is not an exhaustive list of all enforcement situations or priorities. The Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section will monitor workload based on the priority list below and adjust priorities as needed. As additional resources become available, the Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section should be able to respond to more complaints, including priority 3 cases.


Priority 1 - Imminent Health and Safety Hazards, Serious Code Violations, and Environmental Protection

Construction Code

  • Dangerous structures
  • Significant work without permit (such as additions or electrical work) on occupied structures

Housing - Full Service level restored July 1, 2011 – Investigating all Housing & Non-Residential Structure exterior maintenance requirements

  • Adult Care Home Inspections
  • Illegal occupancies (attics, basements, garages, accessory buildings)
  • Owner occupied with significant exterior Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health/Sanitation issues
  • Rental properties with Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health Sanitation and/or significant maintenance issues
  • Non-residential occupied buildings with significant exterior Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health/Sanitation issues
  • Drug labs
  • No garbage service
  • Healthy Home Referral (e.g. mold, lead, pests, sanitation)
  • Derelict buildings
  • Vacant buildings with significant exterior Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health/Sanitation issues
  • Vacant buildings with less serious/significant property maintenance issues including roofs, boarded windows, porch deterioration, peeling paint, missing siding, missing gutters, drainage issues
  • Non-residential exterior building maintenance, i.e. peeling paint, missing siding, missing gutters/downspouts
  • Owner occupied properties


  • Noise that disturbs at least three or more separate households
  • Noise disturbances past 10 PM and earlier than 7 AM


  • Child traps
  • Holes
  • Trees that are an imminent hazard as determined by Urban Forestry
  • Other endangering conditions, such as beehives, hornet nests
  • CROW – Containers in the Right-of-Way
  • Garbage, offal, trash, dead animals, human waste
  • Rat harborages as determined by Vector Control
  • Sewer/Rain drain breaks with rat holes and/or leaking sewage
  • Failed on site sewage disposal systems, i.e. cesspools, septic tanks
  • Illegal dumps
  • Stagnant Water


  • Sign that are imminent hazards or immediate life/safety issues (such as falling hazards, traffic hazards, structural failures, and exposed electrical wires)
  • Signs exceeding the maximum allowed size in the Central City core area and on signs adjacent to freeways and bridges.

Site Complaints

  • Grading & fill activities with possible safety hazard, environmental destruction, or erosion control issues


  • Environmental code violations / tree cutting
  • Commercial code violations impacting residential areas
  • Chronic zoning code violations (verified violations for previous and current activity)

Priority 2 - Code Violations and/or Conditions Adversely Impacting Quality of Life

Construction Code

  • Work without permit (structural, mechanical, plumbing) such as remodeling in progress or newly constructed accessory structures with utilities


  • Commercial code violations impacting residential areas
  • Construction noise violations on Sundays and evenings up to 10 PM with submitted citizen complaint logs
  • Persistent noise issues that have been recorded with complaint logs and citizen noise readings between 7 AM and 10 PM
  • Noise complaints that receive second follow up call for service with effort from complainant to demonstrate a violation
  • Events without a Noise Variance


  • Vacant, unsecured structures
  • Overgrowth over structures and adjacent rights off way
  • Sewer/Rain drain breaks without rat holes and/or leaking sewage


  • Illegal uses and Home Occupation violations
  • Over height fences or walls that block visibility
  • Commercial violations
  • Violations for newly constructed structures (fences, garages, sheds, decks, patio covers, etc).

Priority 3 – Less Significant Neighborhood Impact and/or No Code Compliance Action taken

Construction Code

  • Existing non habitable accessory structures without utilities such as sheds & covered patios
  • Fences less than 8 feet tall
  • Retaining walls not abutting the public right-of-way unless determined to be dangerous (based on factors such as wall height, potential property damage, evidence of existing failure).


  • Residential stereos
  • Leaf blowers if operated within the allowed hours
  • Sporadic noise issues that are not predictable (street musicians, ice cream trucks , and other noise in the right-of-way, etc)
  • Ongoing car related issues at residence (car exhaust, car stereo, car alarm, etc)

Nuisance / Disabled Vehicles

  • Tall Grass & Weeds (unless submitted through Complaint Pilot Program)
  • Blackberry vines & overgrowth
  • Disabled vehicles
  • Storage of non-trash items
  • Dead trees, bushes
  • Debris


  • Sign complaints that are not imminent hazards or immediate life/safety issues (such as falling hazards, structural failures, and exposed electrical wires

Site Complaints

  • Grading & fill activities with no safety hazard, environmental destruction, or erosion control issues


  • Passenger vehicles and recreational vehicles, including boats, trailers, and motor homes
  • Violations for existing structures not newly constructed
  • Over height fences
  • Temporary activities (garage sales, temporary parking, temporary sales, vending cart operations, etc)

If you have questions, you may contact Enforcement Program Manager Mike Liefeld at (503) 823-7332.

Sign Code Permitting Process and Contact Information


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

Service Level Update Document:

Sign Code Permitting Process and Contact Information

February 2, 2012. A year ago BDS updated City of Portland Sign Code program implementation responsibilities, since then staff has continued to evolve and improve the process for submittal, review and issuance of sign related permits and implementation of the Sign Code. Listed below are the major changes that have helped streamline the permitting system:

Dedicated Sign Code Email Address and Telephone Number

Applicants now have a dedicated sign code inquiry email address and phone number to ensure that your questions are received by the correct staff and responded to in a timely manner. Currently, BDS is able to respond to emails and voicemails within 48 hours.


Email: Phone: (503) 823-7996


Time Certain Appointments for Sign Code General Questions

Applicants are now able to schedule time certain appoints with a BDS sign code specialist. To learn more or apply for an appointment visit our DSC Appointments Webpage or contact the Sign Code Program by phone or email. Time Certain Appointments are 30 minutes in length and require a fee of $75.

Simplified Standard Applications for Sign Permits

Minimum submittal requirements for Sign Permit Application are established in Title 32 and allow for efficient permit review. The primary submittal requirements are listed below, and when provided at the time of application, allow for timely permit review. To obtain additional information regarding the sign permit process, or to access the Sign Code, please visit

  • Site Plans. All sign permit applications are required to include a scaled site plan. The standard required submittal should be 11x17, and the minimum scale is 1” = 10 feet. We no longer accept Google Maps as a site plan.

  • Sign Elevation Drawings. Elevations need to be drawn to scale. The minimum scale is ¼”=1’. Google Maps is not acceptable.

  • Fees. Sign permit fee or plan review fee must be paid at time of submittal. Reviews will start only after fees are paid. Any additional fees are required to be paid prior to the permit being issued. See the Sign Permit Fee Schedule here.

Outdoor Advertising Sign Permit Applications

Typically, all changes to existing signs that are on or visible from State Highways require both City of Portland and State of Oregon review and approval. Regulations adopted by the Oregon Department of Transportation require a State of Oregon Outdoor Advertising Sign Permit Application to be completed by the applicant and then the local jurisdiction prior to submittal to the State. BDS will process these forms within 30 working days of submittal and a fee for research and staff time will be charged (see Land Use Compatibility Statement [LUCS]). This fee will be effective on 02/01/12.

Inspection Services Division Roll-Over Policy Update

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City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

 Service Level Update: Inspection Services Division

Roll-Over Policy Update - 1/31/12




For those permit inspections that cannot be completed on the day requested, the caller (as identified in the building permit) will be notified via telephone no later than 9:00 AM on the day of the requested inspection to confirm the inspection has been rolled-over.

Note: Inspections that are rolled over will take a higher priority the next business day.

The IVR message has been updated as follows:

"Due to current staffing levels and fluctuating workloads, we are currently unable to assure next day services for all called inspections. If we are unable to perform the requested inspection, your request will be moved into the next available business day. This may result in a single day delay for some projects. Please note you will be notified by 9:00 AM if your inspection has been rolled over to the next day. The rolled over status will be input to the IVR system. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding." 

If you have questions please contact Jim Nicks, Inspection Services Manager at 503-823-1054.