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Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Council Approves Bureau of Development Services Request to Add 18 Positions to Current Budget to Meet Workload and Service Demands

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services

March 5, 2014. The Portland City Council voted unanimously in support of an Ordinance to add 18 fee-supported positions to the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) current budget to address workload and service level needs. Since 2011, the gradual economic recovery in Portland has led to increased permit and land use applications and associated permit revenue. In order to maintain turn-around goals for permit and land use applications in light of workload increases, the BDS will start hiring for these positions immediately, increasing staffing prior to the summer construction season. An additional benefit will be reopening the Development Services Center (Permit Center) on Mondays and all day on Friday, later this Spring.

“This Ordinance allows the BDS to recruit and train staff in time to meet our summer workload requirements,” said BDS Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Historically, positions like these would have waited until the start of the next Fiscal Year (July1) to be added to the Bureau’s budget, which doesn’t meet BDS’ hiring and customer service needs”. BDS Director Paul L. Scarlett stated, “Our customers and the community have been asking for us to reopen the permit center for the full week since we were forced to close it on Mondays in 2010 due to shrinking revenues. Council’s approval of these positions will allow us to bring back this valuable service and provide improved staffing to meet increasing workload levels”.

Eight of the positions are targeted for expansion of the Development Services Center’s hours of operations – reopening Mondays and allowing customers to apply for, and have building permits reviewed, on Friday afternoons. The Development Services Center provides a one-stop location for development-related information and services for customers and the community. The expansion of hours of operations is anticipated to occur in mid to late Spring 2014. The remainder of the positions will maintain or improve current building permit and land use review turn-around timelines and services, to accommodate steady construction industry growth in Portland.

Contact:  Ross Caron, BDS Public Information Officer, / 503.823.4268

Landslide Hazard Information

BDS regulates and reviews construction and land division projects in areas of potential landslide hazards. Regulations administered by BDS that provide requirements for development on steep and/or sensitive slopes are in City of Portland codes: Title 24 Building Regulations and Title 33 Zoning Code, as well as the Oregon State Structural Specialty Code [Section 1803].

Geotechnical engineers and technicians in the Site Development section of the Bureau review proposals for construction activities on steeply sloped sites, sites located in environmental overlay zones, sites located in “Potential Landslide Hazard Areas” and sites located in Special Plan Districts. Land Divisions in these locations are required to provide geotechnical engineering reports prior to approval of any lot division.

Here are links to two helpful handouts about that process:

Permit applications for commercial and residential development on steep slopes requires a geotechnical report. The report must include an evaluation of potential geologic and seismic hazards, including slope instability, and provide recommendations for mitigating the hazard. Site Development staff assigned to these permit applications, review landslide inventory maps prepared by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAM), the geotechnical report, and the permit drawings.

BDS works closely with other professionals in our regional government to respond to reports of hazardous landslide conditions and emergencies. Here is a link to the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management’s website that provides helpful links to residents whom would like to view the DOGAMI landslide inventory maps of the Portland Metro area -

Block 7- MAC Club/Mill Creek Housing Proposal for Zone Change in Goose Hollow Neighborhood (LU 14-105474 CP ZC)

Application for Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map Amendment in the Goose Hollow Neighborhood – Block 7

The Block 7 application, submitted by the owner of the site—the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) and the applicant—Mill Creek Residential Trust, is a request for a Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map Amendment to change the current designation and zoning on the approximate 40,000 square foot site from the High Density Multi-Dwelling designation and zone (RH) to the Central Commercial designation and zone (CX). The “d” Design overlay zone and the provisions in the Central City Plan District will remain applicable. 

The applicant is requesting the map amendment in order to develop a multi-story building that will contain 260-280 multi-dwelling residential units and approximately 16 studios that will be used as short-term stay (hotel) rooms for the exclusive use of the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) members and guests. The site will contain approximately 420 parking spaces. If approved through a separate Central City Parking Review, 225 spaces will serve the adjacent MAC facilities. Access to the 225 MAC spaces will be provided via a vehicle and pedestrian tunnel (under SW Main St.) that will connect to the existing MAC parking garage. The applicant intends to construct 191 parking spaces that will serve the proposed residential units. The residential parking spaces will have separate vehicle access (driveway) from one of the fronting streets. 

Residential development and accessory parking is allowed in the RH zone. The applicant is requesting the map change from the RH to CX zone so that MAC parking and the short-stay rooms, which are classified in the Portland Zoning Code as Retail Sales and Service Uses may be proposed on the site. If this Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map Amendment request is approved, the applicant will then seek approval of a Type III Design Review for the new building and a Type III Central City Parking Review for the MAC parking. 

Due to the interest in this proposal, BDS has placed the entire application online. The original application was submitted on January 15, 2014. In response to staff’s request for additional information, additional documents—memos and reports were submitted in February and March. Staff deemed the application complete on March 27, 2014.

The land use review application includes:

How to Participate

Send Written Comments to Staff: Prior to May 1, 2014, send either via the postal service or e-mail your written comments to:

Sheila Frugoli, Sr. Planner
Land Use Services Division
Bureau of Development Services
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 5000
Portland, Oregon 97201

Submit Written Comments to the Hearings Officer: Mail written comments to the Land Use Hearings Officer, 1900 SW Fourth Ave., Suite 3100, Portland, OR 97201, or FAX your comments to 503-823-4347. Written comments must be received prior to the close of the public record. Note: Written comments must be received by the end of the public testimony of the hearing. The Hearings Officer will not accept written comments sent via e-mail. 

Hearing Scheduled: A hearing before the Portland Hearings Officer will be held Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at 9:00 am in Room 2500A, 1900 SW 4th Avenue. You may testify at the hearing. Note: The Hearings Officer may set time limits for testimony, if there is a large group in attendance.

Future City Council Hearing: A Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment review requires a City Council hearing. The hearing will be scheduled after the Hearings Officer prepares his recommendation. A hearing notice will be mailed at least 21 days before the City Council hearing. 


City Permit Center Expands Operation Hours to Mondays – All Services Available

City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services


April 24, 2014


Contact:  Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

(Portland, OR) Starting Monday, April 28, 2014, the City’s Development Services Center (Permit Center) will be re-opened on Mondays and offering all permitting and land use services during regular business hours. The Permit Center has been closed on Mondays since 2010 when it became necessary to make reductions in services due to the economic recession and associated workload and staffing reductions.

Since 2011, Portland has experienced a gradual economic recovery that has led to increased permit and land use applications and associated permit revenue. The Bureau of Development Services has been carefully adding back staff over the last two years as revenue has allowed the bureau to address workload increases. Most recently, City Council approved an Ordinance to add an additional 18 fee-supported positions to BDS. Eight of the positions were targeted at supporting the expansion of the permit center operations. 

“Providing BDS the support to make these changes in services for our community has been wonderful”, stated BDS Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Opening the permit center five days a week and providing a full range of services as the construction industry moves into the busy spring and summer months is a big help to our customers”, added Paul Scarlett, Director of the BDS, “they have been asking for this for years”. 

For a full description of the changes to the Development Services Center and Permitting Services hours and operations please see the Development Service Center and Permitting Services Customer Advisory: Hours of Operation Expanded to Mondays – All Services Available or visit the Development Services Center webpage.