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, firstname.lastname@example.org / 503.823.4268