On May 10, 2008, Oregon Building Officials Association teamed up with Home Depot and the City of Vancouver and Clark County, Washington Building Departments, to provide public information tables at 14 Home Depot stores in Oregon and one store in Vancouver, Washington. The tables were staffed by employees of local Building Departments and were timed to coincide with national Building Safety Week activities.
This historic event was part of OBOA’s statewide “ThinkPermit” public outreach effort. The following Home Depot stores participated in the event. Clackamas (82nd street), Mall 205 (Portland), Oregon City, Hillsboro, Troutdale, Airport Way (Portland), Jantzen Beach (Portland), Tigard, Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Eugene, Roseburg and Vancouver, Washington.
Outreach Committee Chair Guy Sperb, City of Oregon City, announced that “By all reports, the event was a huge success.” Nearly 2,500 direct public contacts were made during the 6-hour event. Each participating building department purchased a “kit” that was put together by members of the OBOA Outreach Committee. Each kit contained a tabletop display, informational brochures, business cards, magnets, carpenter pencils and yellow hardhats for the kids. All of the items had the “ThinkPermit” logo and website address. Also, some departments distributed additional items, such as Building Safety Week coloring books or information specific to their jurisdiction. Everyone reported that the response from the general public was very favorable.
Once OBOA and the local building departments gained approval from Home Depot to partner in this public outreach event, Home Depot was very accommodating. As an unexpected surprise, all the participating building departments reported that there was a great amount of interest by the Home Depot employees themselves, who used the opportunity to ask code related questions and who had an overall appreciation of our presence. The overall success of the different events seemed to have a much to do with location of where the tables set up. The better the location, the greater the number of contacts and overall success they experienced.
As stated by ICC President Steve Shipiro, “many people’s first exposure to remodeling projects takes place in the aisles of the local Home Depot stores. We are grateful for the opportunity to work cooperatively with Home Depot in promoting the importance of permits and providing increased public information about permits and the permit process.”
The Outreach Committee looks forward to continuing our efforts with Home Depot in the future to help increase the public awareness of the multiple benefits of permits as part of OBOA’s ongoing efforts to increase public safety.