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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Permit Process

It is not uncommon, in the case of a change of occupancy, to have one or more building code appeals. Appeals can be preliminary - before the permit is applied for - or you can wait until you have applied for the permit and can be sure that all the issues that might need an appeal have been identified. The appeals process takes about a week. View more information on the appeal process.

There is a lot of information available about permits and the permit process on the BDS website. You may want to look at the Commercial Alterations or the New Users section. 

A change of occupancy permit is a building permit. To apply for the change of occupancy permit, you must provide the city with four sets of plans, pay part of the fees up front including an additional change of occupancy plan review fee and then turn the plans in for review. Plans will generally include a site plan, a plan of each floor, a cross section, and often stair details. Plans should show how the proposed use and layout meet current code requirements. If there are areas that need to be improved to meet current code, the drawings should include construction details showing how these will be modified.

The DSC is on the ground floor of the building at 1900 SW 4th (4th and Hall). We encourage you to get in to the DSC earlier in the day rather than later. The wait times get longer as the day goes by, and it also tends to be more of a challenge to find parking.

In the DSC you will find technical staff from virtually all of the city bureaus that can discuss requirements applying to your project and that will be reviewing your project when it comes in for a permit.

Staff representing the various groups with an interest in development (building, zoning, fire, transportation, sewer, etc.) will be assigned to your project. Any reviewer who looks at your plans and needs additional info/corrections before signing off will mail you a "checksheet" telling you what they need. The city's goal is to get all of those checksheets out (for a change of occupancy) within a couple of weeks.

To respond to a checksheet, you will go to Document Services, which is on the second floor (above the DSC). You will need to update all four sets of the originally submitted drawings, either by replacing the original sheets with new sheets or marking changes on the originally submitted sheets. Keep any replaced sheets with the new sheets, and mark them "Void".

When all the corrections are made, the reviewers will check the changes made. When all the reviews are completed, it takes several days to process the paperwork. Then, you pay the rest of the fees and the permit is issued. Licensed contractors will need to apply for separate permits to do the electrical and plumbing work.

When all the inspections (building, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing ) are approved, and the card you are given at permit issuance is all signed off, you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy. The house can then be occupied as an educational use.