The Bureau of Development Services staff has been working to implement the Portland Online Permitting System (POPS), a program that will move the City’s paper-based development review process to a more streamlined and efficient online digital system. When complete, it will make our services more accessible to the community and increase the efficiency of the permitting process.
To ensure that the services we offer are helpful to the community, the POPS team is consulting a newly assembled POPS Customer Advisory Committee (CAC).
The CAC is an advisory body representing our customers with interests in permitting, development review, and public access to information. This committee will help identify problems with current business processes, and review and provide feedback on planned implementation of POPS. With their help, the POPS team will be more informed on how our work will affect customers.
“The Customer Advisory Committee provides POPS with the level of insight and guidance that is fundamental to the success of the products we develop,” says POPS Division Manager Dan Cote. “We want to develop and deploy this technology in collaboration with the folks who will be impacted, not in a vacuum.”
To recruit CAC members, the POPS team worked with the Equity Team and the Office of Community and Civic Life. The Customer Advisory Committee has 12 members who collectively represent architects, developers, engineers, permit/land use consultants, contractors, neighborhood representatives, tradespeople, low income housing specialists, and people of color in our community.
Jennifer Hoffman of Opsis Architecture (shown here at the September CAC meeting) says she is encouraged by the City of Portland’s efforts to collect and integrate customer feedback during the implementation process. In her role as an architect, she has experience interacting with the bureau from planning to permitting services. “I feel it is part of my professional responsibility to help improve the systems we all use to become easier, cost effective and more efficient,” Jennifer says. “I hope to provide valuable feedback and guidance from a customer (architect / developer / owner) standpoint to those designing, implementing and training within the POPS program.”
The CAC convened in September. At this initial meeting, the POPS team provided an overview of the status of the program. Angie Tomlinson, Electronic Plan Review Manager, provided an in-depth explanation of ePlans at that meeting and provided an opportunity for customers to have their questions answered.
In October, the CAC learned details on the Public Portal scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2019. In November, the committee will be some of the first to review the BETA version of the Public Portal. We’ll take their feedback from user testing to ensure the program is running smoothly.
To learn more about Portland’s Online Permitting system, click here.