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Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Enforcement / Complaint Operational Changes and Priorities - June 18, 2014

BDS Service Level Update

Service Level Update:
Neighborhood Inspections/Compliance Services Section
Enforcement / Complaint Operational Changes and Priorities  

June 18, 2014. The Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section operates Zoning, Work without Permit, Dangerous Buildings, Signs & A-Boards, Nuisance, Housing, Derelict Buildings, Exterior Maintenance Requirements on non-Residential Structures and Chapter 13/Systematic Inspection enforcement programs. Due to a sharp reduction in inspection staff in 2009, it became necessary to prioritize the various types of complaint investigation and enforcement cases that will be performed. This allowed us to focus existing resources on the most critical areas of compliance work relative to fire, life safety, health, sanitation, environmental and neighborhood livability. Currently, as more inspection resources have been added, some previously reduced service levels have been restored.


The following policy and procedure changes remain in effect:

  • Increased response time to investigate assigned cases and reduced re inspections and case management for active cases.
  • Reduction of Nuisance Abatements for tall grass/weed complaints on occupied properties.
  • Reduction of violation cases referred to the Code Hearings Officer for additional enforcement remedies to gain compliance.
  • Suspension of the Chapter 13/Systematic Inspection Program on older 3 or more story apartment buildings.
  • Suspension of the Disabled Vehicle Enforcement Program.


It is necessary to prioritize various enforcement/complaint types in order to effectively process the most critical cases with reduced resources. The Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section has developed a 3 category system to assign enforcement resources. Priority 1 is the most urgent cases and Neighborhood Inspections& Compliance Services will continue to respond to these situations. Priority 2 is less urgent and Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services will attempt to respond as resources allow. Priority 3 is a low priority and no enforcement/compliance action will be taken at this time.

The priority factors include (in ranked order):

Type of Property
1st – Rental Properties
2nd – Vacant Properties
3rd – Owner Occupied Properties

Type of Issue or Concern
1st – Fire / Life / Safety concerns
2nd – Health concerns
3rd – Environmental concerns
4th – Impact to the community

Based on the priority factors listed above, enforcement resources will be assigned to the different enforcement case types performed by the Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section. The priority list below contains examples for the various enforcement case types and is not an exhaustive list of all enforcement situations or priorities. The Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section will monitor workload based on the priority list below and adjust priorities as needed. As additional resources become available, the Neighborhood Inspections & Compliance Services Section should be able to respond to more complaints, including priority 3 cases.

Priority 1 - Imminent Health and Safety Hazards, Serious Code Violations, and Environmental Protection and Priority 2 – Code Violations and/or Conditions Adversely Inpacting Quality of Life

Construction Code - Full Service level restored July 15, 2013

  • Dangerous structures
  • Significant work without permit (such as additions or electrical work) on occupied structures
  • Work without permit (electrial, structural, mechanical, plumbing) such as remodeling in progress or newly constructed accessory structures with utilities
  • Existing non habitable accessory structures without utilities such as sheds & covered patios
  • Fences over 6 feet in height
  • Dangerous Structures, including retaining walls
  • Retaining walls not abutting the public right-of-way unless determined to be dangerous (based on factors such as wall height, potential property damage, evidence of existing failure). 

Housing - Full Service level restored July 1, 2011

  • Adult Care Home Inspections
  • Illegal occupancies (attics, basements, garages, accessory buildings)
  • Owner occupied with significant exterior Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health/Sanitation issues
  • Rental properties with Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health Sanitation and/or significant maintenance issues
  • Non-residential occupied buildings with significant exterior Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health/Sanitation issues
  • Drug labs
  • No garbage service
  • Healthy Home Referral (e.g. mold, lead, pests, sanitation)
  • Derelict buildings
  • Vacant buildings with significant exterior Fire/Life/Safety and/or Health/Sanitation issues
  • Vacant buildings with less serious/significant property maintenance issues including roofs, boarded windows, porch deterioration, peeling paint, missing siding, missing gutters, drainage issues
  • Non-residential exterior building maintenance, i.e. peeling paint, missing siding, missing gutters/downspouts
  • Owner occupied properties

Nuisance - Full Service level restored April 26, 2013 

  • Child traps
  • Holes
  • Trees that are an imminent hazard as determined by Urban Forestry
  • Other endangering conditions, such as beehives, hornet nests
  • Garbage, offal, trash, dead animals, human waste
  • Rat harborages as determined by Vector Control
  • Sewer/Rain drain breaks with rat holes and/or leaking sewage
  • Failed on site sewage disposal systems, i.e. cesspools, septic tanks
  • Illegal dumps
  • Stagnant Water
  • Vacant, unsecured structures
  • Overgrowth over structures and adjacent rights off way
  • Sewer/Rain drain breaks without rat holes and/or leaking sewage
  • Tall Grass & Weeds
  • Blackberry vines & overgrowth into adjacent rights of way
  • Storage of non-trash items
  • Debris 


  • Sign that are imminent hazards or immediate life/safety issues (such as falling hazards, traffic hazards, structural failures, and exposed electrical wires)
  • Signs exceeding the maximum allowed size in the Central City core area and on signs adjacent to freeways and bridges.

Site Complaints - Full Service level restored April 26, 2013

  • Grading & fill activities with possible safety hazard, environmental destruction, or erosion control issues
  • Grading & fill activities with no safety hazard, environmental destruction, or erosion control issues 

Zoning - Full Service level restored April 26, 2013

  • Environmental code violations / tree cutting
  • Commercial code violations impacting residential areas
  • Chronic zoning code violations (verified violations for previous and current activity)
  • Illegal uses and Home Occupation violations
  • Over height fences or walls that block visibility at intersections
  • Commercial violations
  • Violations for newly constructed structures (fences, garages, sheds, decks, patio covers, etc).
  • Passenger vehicles and recreational vehicles, including boats, trailers, and motor homes which are improperly parked on private property
  • Violations for existing structures not newly constructed
  • Over height fences
  • Temporary activities (garage sales, temporary parking, temporary sales, vending cart operations, etc)

Priority 3 – Less Significant Neighborhood Impact and/or No Code Compliance Action taken

Disabled Vehicles

  • Disabled vehicles on private property


  • Sign complaints that are not imminent hazards or immediate life/safety issues (such as falling hazards, structural failures, and exposed electrical wires

If you have questions, you may contact Enforcement Program Manager Mike Liefeld at (503) 823-7332.