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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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BDS Fee Changes

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BDS collects fees under various fee schedules to fund inspections, plan review, permit issuance, land use review, customer assistance, and other functions. Since 1988, construction-related programs operated by BDS (approximately 90% of bureau functions) have been primarily self-supporting. The Bureau is committed to keeping fees as low as possible while still meeting cost recovery goals and supporting staff levels sufficient to meet customers’ needs.

Workload Increases & Staffing Levels

BDS Fee ChangesThese have been seen significant workload increases in the last year, impacting our ability to provide timely services to customers. From FY 2011-12 to FY 2012-13 (through March 31): 

  • Permit applications increased 14%
  • Issued permits increased 10%
  • Residential inspections increased 30%
  • Commercial inspections increased 10%
  • Land Use applications increased 31%
  • Site Development permits increased 16%

We have been adding staff positions to try to keep up with the demand and to restore service levels. Staff additions have been targeted to programs providing direct services to customers – plan review, permit issuance, land use review, and inspections.

To address projected workload increases, we have proposed an additional 14 positions for FY 2013-14. 

Fee Change Overview

The good news is that we can support the additional staff positions with only minor fee changes in FY 2013-14 (beginning July 1, 2013): 

  • Building permits (0%)
  • Mechanical permits (0%)
  • Electrical permits (0%)
  • Plumbing permits (5%)
  • Facilities Permit Program (0%)
  • Site Development permits (-5%)
  • Environmental Soils Program (10%)
  • Signs Program (2.5%)
  • Zoning Program (0%)
  • Noise Control Program (5%)
  • Neighborhood Inspections (5%)
  • Land Use Services (5%)
  • Field Issued Remodel (FIR) Program hourly rate (0%) 

Anticipated service improvements include:


Improved Inspection response:

  • Residential Inspections: From current 80% within 24 hours to projected 98% within 24 hours
  • Commercial Inspections: From current 95% within 24 hours to projected 98% within 24 hours
  • Field Issuance Remodel Program: Eliminate current waitlist of contractors 

Improved turnaround times for various Land Use Review services

    • Completeness checks for Type I, IIx, and III Land Use Reviews: from current 26 days to projected 21 days
    • Days to first checksheet for Property Line Adjustments: from current 26 days to projected 21 days
    • Days to first checksheet for Lot Confirmations: from current 26 days to projected 21 days 

Improved Plan Review Timelines:

    • “Days to first checksheet” for Commercial Building Code Plan Review:
      • New construction: from current 24 days to projected 22 days
      • Addition/alteration: from current 24 days to projected 15 days 
  • Lot confirmations: From current 16 days to 10 days 

Improved Permit Pre-Issuance Timelines: From current 90% processed within 4 business days to projected 90% processed within 3 business days 

  • Improved response to Zoning & Noise complaints: From current 20% response within timeframe goals for high and medium priority cases to projected response within 5 days for high and medium priority cases 

We recognize the impact that fee increases have on our customers. These relatively modest fee increases are necessary in order to improve service levels and respond to increasing workloads.

Next Steps

The Portland City Council will review and listen to public testimony regarding the proposed fee changes on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:30 am Time Certain in City Council Chambers. The Council will vote on the changes on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.  If the ordinance is passed the fee changes will go into effect on July 1, 2013.

Multnomah County fees will also be affected, since the County contracts with the City of Portland for inspection and plan review services in the unincorporated areas within the Portland urban services boundary. The County Board of Commissioners will review the proposed fee changes at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in the County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne, first floor.

The complete proposed fee schedules are now available.

If you have questions about the fee increases, please contact Denise Kleim, BDS Administrative Services Manager, at (503) 823-7338 or