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The City of Portland, Oregon

Audit Services

Audits City bureaus and programs for efficiency, effectiveness and equity

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 310, Portland, OR 97204

City Administration

Browse our audit reports about City administration topics. This includes the Office of Management and Finance, human resources, internal business services, technology services/information technology, government relations, and the City Attorney's Office. Audits related to the City's finances are here and the City's financial statement audits are here

Equity in Construction Contracting: Some goals achieved despite mismanagement, waste, and gamesmanship

Aerial photo of construction workers at a construction site.Portland attempts to promote equity in construction contracting by setting goals for use of diverse work crews and for hiring historically disadvantaged businesses that have been certified by a state agency. On small projects, Portland limits bidding to historically disadvantaged firms. The City also sets aside money for training diverse workers and business owners. We found that though the City achieved or came close to achieving equity goals in some areas, some programs were not successful. We also found programs were vulnerable to abuse. We provided 16 recommendations to Procurement Services to make programs more equitable, effective, and protected from misconduct.

Interactive report showing details about contractor and bureau performance toward equity goals

Highlights  |  Report  |  September 2020

Portland Building Construction Contract: Cost reviews were compliant, although cost classifications required by contract and reconciliations need to start immediately  

Most of the Portland Building renovation activity is included in a design, build, and relocation services contract. The contract includes requirements for how the City’s main contractor will be compensated for costs, submit contract changes, and select subcontractors. Generally, we found the contractor was following these contract requirements. We identify a few improvement areas and recommend specific actions to be taken leading up to the City’s final payment to the contractor. For example, the cost classification required by contract still needs to be completed, and interim calculations should begin now to identify potential cost savings. In addition, we identify lessons learned for future City projects

Highlights  |  Report  |  October 2019

Follow-up Report  |  December 2020

Portland Building Follow-Up: Greater public transparency needed about project costs, trade-offs, and missed equity requirement

The Portland Building is an active construction site and renovation is forecasted to be completed ahead of schedule. We reported on risk areas during the initial phase of the Portland Building renovation, and this report follows up on early recommendations from that 2016 audit. We found that budget transparency was still needed as renovation costs grew more than planned; the City was on track to meet its main renovation goals but – due to policy trade-offs – will fall short of other aspirations; and the City missed the requirement to award about $1 million in grants to meet equity goals.

Report (PDF)  Report (HTML)  June 2019

Highlights: Report summary

Community benefits


Follow-Up Report  |  September 2020

Data Loss Prevention: City's approach is sound but its practices should be strengthened

Data loss prevention is the practice of detecting and preventing unauthorized transmittal of sensitive or confidential information outside of an organization. The City’s Technology Services follows the voluntary National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. The audit found the City’s overall data loss prevention system was adequately designed and carried out with some exceptions. We made recommendations to strengthen the City’s data loss prevention practices. 

Report  |  October 2018

Risk Management: City loss prevention needs a proactive approach

The City’s Risk Management Division spends about $16 million each year to help City bureaus avoid injuries and loss and manage claims against the City if an accident occurs. This audit found that Risk Management does not have a proactive approach to loss prevention, which may hinder City safety programs. If a claim against the City is made, the audit found most claims are well managed.

Highlights |  Report  |  Video |  June 2017

Follow-up report  |  July 2019

Portland's Financial Condition: Funding infrastructure should be high priority

The financial condition report focuses on the City’s financial trends over five years.  The report helps decision makers to visualize the City’s course, to consider options, and make adjustments to improve the City’s long-term financial health.  The audit found that Portland’s financial condition is currently stable, but there are long-term challenges to address, such as increased pension liabilities and some assets losing value faster than the City can make repairs.

Highlights  |  Report  |  April 2017

Portland Building Reconstruction: City faced with important post-planning decisions to ensure project success

As the City launches a high-profile reconstruction project with many complexities, we report on six key areas related to project constraints and public accountability challenges. We make recommendations to ensure effective, inclusive, and timely decisions will be made by stated milestones; greater budget transparency, and the development of an implementation plan for the additional community benefits associated with the project. We also share lessons learned from this project for future City construction projects in the Appendix.

Highlights  |  Report  |  December 2016

Follow-up report  |  June 2019

Browse further audits of City Administration

Audit of the Auditor - 2017 Peer Review of the Audit Services Division (Report 500) - 8/29/17

Americans with Disabilities Act: Coordination gaps complicate City response - HIGHLIGHTS (Report 476) - 12/13/16

Americans with Disabilities Act: Coordination gaps complicate City response (Report 476) - 12/13/16

Human Resources: Risks in managing the City's workforce (Report 465) - 10/5/16

Green Buildings: Costs and outcomes need more attention (Report 480) - 9/1/16

City Transaction Testing: Continuous monitoring revealed few issues (Report 454) - 8/29/16

Payment Card Data Security: Consumer information is safer (Report 486) - 5/11/16

Technology Projects: Lack of governance hurts City projects and disaster planning - HIGHLIGHTS (Report 460B) - 2/4/16

Technology Projects: Lack of governance hurts City projects and disaster planning (Report 460B) - 2/4/16

City Council Grants: No competition and limited oversight - HIGHLIGHTS (Report 479) - 1/21/16

City Council Grants: No competition and limited oversight (Report 479) - 1/21/16

Portland's Fiscal Sustainability and Financial Condition: Maintenance needs and pension costs challenge long-term position (Report 470) - 6/29/15

City Procurement: Contracting process needs Council intervention (Report 446A) - 6/24/15

Surplus Real Property: Policy, central management, and inventory of real property holdings needed (Report 461) - 4/2/15

City Attorney's Office: Good practices in place; next steps include strategic plan, measures, and post-contract evaluations (Report 459) - 3/11/15

City Budget Process: Timing, roles, and decision-making need improvement (Report 455) - 2/11/15

Bureau of Technology Services: City fails to comply with payment card industry standard (Report 460A) - 11/18/14

Audit of the Auditor - 2014 Peer Review of the Audit Services Division (Report 456) - 10/2/14

Portland Development Commission: Human resources and payroll practices functioning effectively (Report 458) – 8/12/14

Vacant Positions: Few positions vacant long-term, but enhanced oversight can reduce risk (Report 444) - 5/1/14

Human Capital Management Software: Most modules now implemented, but additional costs exceed $3 million (Report 437) - 10/16/13

Transition Report: Key risks for City Council (Report 438) - 7/11/13

Portland's Fiscal Sustainability and Financial Condition: Long-term financial position needs attention (Report 443) - 6/19/13

Urban Services Policy and Resolution A: Core City services not articulated; 30-year-old commitments obsolete (Report 433) - 3/26/13

City Financial Transactions: Issues warrant management attention (Report 406A) - 9/26/12

Debt Reserves: Legal reserves meet requirements, but internal reserves need more accountability (Report 425) - 8/28/12

A report to our community (Report 431) - 7/25/12

Downtown Office Space: City uses most of its owned space, but lease practices need attention (Report 417) - 4/30/12

Audit of the Auditor - 2011 Peer Review of the Audit Services Division (Report 402) - 9/9/11

Span of Control: Although numbers are reported, bureaus lack organizational structure goals (Report 397) - 8/17/11

Portland's Fiscal Sustainability and Financial Condition: Actions now can reduce risk of future problems (Report 399) - 7/28/11