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BDS - Your Public Safety Advocate

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Commerical - High rise buildingChief Building Official - Paul L. ScarlettWhen someone mentions public safety, the image of a police officer or of a fire fighter most often comes to mind.  They are the most visible part of public safety.

Yet, there are others that are looking out for your safety that you may not have noticed. Their work, unseen by most of us, has an impact on your safety and the safety of every member of your family.  Every day of the week, everywhere you go.  This unseen group of people is made up of Building Safety professionals that work in the local City or County Building Departments.  They assure that buildings are built safe for today and tomorrow. 

People rarely consider whether a building is safe before they take their first step in. They take for granted the structure is sound. Building safety doesn't just happen. Building safety professionals make sure that such things as fire walls, smoke detectors, ground fault interrupters, egress windows, alarms, correct stair construction, exit widths and a multitude of other code requirements are built to current State of Oregon Building Code requirements.  Residential constructionThese inspectors are educated, trained and are certified to inspect each phase of construction.  From the footings to the roofing, the inspectors are required by law to perform inspections to observe the construction process to ensure that state codes are met.

The next time you think of your personal safety, think of the Bureau of Development Services, the front line defenders of Public Safety and the role they play in keeping Portland a safe, vibrant community. 

Paul L. Scarlett
Chief Building Official
City of Portland

1 Comment


Greg Adams

January 28, 2008 at 4:24 PM


I really appreciate your article that put our profession front and center. I'd like to ask for your permission to use parts or all of your article in our local news paper. The public really needs to understand we are here to protect them and keep their lives safe.

Thanks for your article,

Greg Adams, CBO

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