Building permits are non-discretionary land use decisions. This means that permits are reviewed against clear and objective land use standards. For example, if the standard is a height limit of 35 feet, then if the building is 35 feet or less in height, the standard is met. If the building is over 35 feet, the standard is not met. Because permits don’t involve discretion, there is not opportunity for public comment during the review process. Anybody is welcome to view the plans and discuss the project with the assigned reviewer to better understand the project and the zoning code standards that apply.
How do I know if a permit has been applied for?
You can use PortlandMaps to search for a specific address, for a neighborhood, or look at applications for the entire city.
How can I be involved?
- Some projects require the applicant to offer a meeting to the neighborhood association before the building permit can be submitted to the city for review. Attending these meetings will allow you to see the presentation and learn more about the proposal.
- Track permits online using PortlandMaps. See instructions on how to use PortlandMaps.com to find permit information.
- Review the plans. Once you know the permit number, you can go to Permitting Services located on the second floor above the Development Services Center and review the plans before the permit is issued. See the current days and hours we are open.
- Ask City staff. If you have questions regarding the plans or the standards, you can call or email the assigned reviewers. You can use PortlandMaps to find the specific reviewers assigned to any permit:
- Search by address and then click on the “Permits” tab under the Permits & Zoning heading.
- Click on the specific permit and scroll down to the “Activity” section. There will be a button with a number and an up/down arrow. Click on this button to expand the activity list. If you scroll to the right of this list, it will tell you the name and phone number of the assigned reviewer.
You can also call the general information line at 503-823-7300. Please describe your concern and the operator will direct your call accordingly.