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Bureau of Development Services Level of Service Update: Permit Inspections


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services











September 24, 2009


Contact: Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268


(Portland, OR) The Bureau of Development Services is acting on its commitment to provide regular and timely information to customers on service level adjustments during this economic downturn.

The downturn has resulted in sustained reduction in workload and permit fee revenues for the bureau over the past year. By the middle of October 2009, the staffing level at BDS will have been reduced by approximately 50% due to the economic crisis.

These staffing reductions have necessitated changes to the current level of service in the permit inspection program. This update focuses on the changes to the permit inspection programs aimed at assisting our inspectors in providing the highest possible level of service to our customers. Following is a brief summary of the most significant changes to Inspections Program during this interim time:

  • Suspension of two-hour time certain inspection requests.
  • Required “bundling” of related inspection requests.
  • Ranked Inspections with the highest priority going to fire and life safety, structural integrity and neighborhood livability. Some lower priority inspections will be suspended, such as “consultation” inspections, until further notice.
  • Re-inspection fees, to ensure cost recovery, will be charged as allowed per code and as deemed appropriate.

The following link will take you to a detailed list of the changes:, or you can visit our website at: These changes will go into effect October 1, 2009.

“I realize that these changes may cause some inconvenience to our customers,” said Paul Scarlett, Bureau Director, “but we will monitor closely and make adjustments where and when necessary to maximize our resources during this challenging time.”

Permit inspections will continue to be performed five days a week. The automated Interactive Voice Request (IVR) procedure remains unchanged. The inspection division recommends walk-in customers call for an appointment if they need to meet with permit inspections staff.

If you have questions about the bureau’s permit inspection services please contact Inspections Manager Jim Nicks at (503) 823-1054.


Add a Comment


Lee Pfeiffer

September 24, 2009 at 9:02 PM

The reduction is closer to 60%. Shame on your for making the numbers look better than they are. As a matter of fact, inspectors went from 21 to 7. That is a change of 66%.



September 25, 2009 at 10:50 AM

That's only for the inspections.

The unfortunate people that want to get a faxed in Trade Permit are now having to wait 4 to 5 days for their permits that once took 1 to 2 days. Then they have to wait additional time to get their inspections.


robert wentz

September 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

In June of 2009 electrical contractors received a letter stating that fees would increase as of July 2009 to "maintain a high level of service". Now that the high level of service has been substantially reduced I (and all electrical contractors) should expect to receive a reduction in fees that reflects the reduction in services received.

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