About Development Services (BDS)

Information
1900 SW 4th Ave building entrance.
Read about the mission, goals, values and equity commitment of the Bureau of Development Services. Get information about visiting BDS, our operating plan and the Development Services organizational chart. Review Director Rebecca Esau's calendar.
On this page

Mission

The Bureau of Development Services promotes safety, livability and economic vitality through efficient and collaborative application of building and development codes.

Goals

To meet the needs of our community, we pursue the following goals:

  • Support community vitality and protect life, property, and natural resources by promoting compliance with applicable codes and regulations
  • Provide cooperative and responsive internal and external customer service
  • Process all Bureau functions efficiently
  • Create a collaborative workplace that promotes mutual respect through trust, fairness and open communication
  • Support continual professional growth of the workforce and organization through education, technology and diversity

Values

  • Dedication to serving the public
  • Pride in our work
  • Care for the long-term viability of our community
  • Recognition of worth, quality and importance of each employee and member of the community
  • Support of continual learning, education and innovation   

Equity Commitment

The Bureau of Development Services is committed to the elimination of racism and discriminatory practices in our services and in our work place, because we understand the positive value of equitable systems. View our Equity Commitment Statement: 

Contact Us

General inquiries

Need help? Schedule a 15-minute appointment 

You can book a free 15-minute appointment with us. Get help with the permit process, zoning requirements, building codes, and more. Language access is available. Learn more about 15-minute appointments and schedule an appointment online.

Visit Us

Address

1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 5000, Portland, OR 97201 (Walk-in Services Temporarily Suspended)

Additional information about this location

Get directions via Google Maps

Plan your trip with TriMet

Walk-in services are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Access to the Development Services Center is limited to those with appointments to pick up or drop off paper plans. Visit this page for more information on how to access permitting and inspection services.

Limited in-person services resume at the Development Services Center beginning July 18, 2022. Visit this page for more information.

Operating plan 

BDS organizational chart

Director Rebecca Esau

BDS Director Rebecca Esau.

Rebecca Esau was appointed Director of the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), effective October 25, 2017. Ms. Esau has exceptional leadership and problem-solving skills, and a long history of managing within a complex regulatory environment experiencing organizational, political, and economic change. She has 16 years of management experience with the City of Portland, 14 as the division manager of the Land Use Services Division of BDS. 

As manager of the Land Use Services Division, she was responsible for the administration of the City’s zoning code as it applies to development proposals. Her leadership style is collaborative, inclusive, innovative, and resourceful. Despite the conflicts often inherent in development review and land use, Ms. Esau has successfully maintained positive and effective working relationships with stakeholders on all sides, including neighborhood representatives, the development community, and other City bureaus. She has developed a reputation for listening, fairness, practicality, and finding solutions. 

Ms. Esau served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in their Urban Planning Program in Nepal from 1990 to 1993. She worked as a planner for a local city government in a city located west of Kathmandu. She also led a project with a local non-profit community organization, securing a grant and establishing a public library, which is still in operation.  

Ms. Esau holds a BS degree in Landscape Architecture from California Polytechnic State University. She is originally from California, but has lived in Oregon since returning from Nepal, and Portland is her home. She has two step-children with her husband Tom, and enjoys traveling, gardening, photography, and watching Portland Timbers and Thorns soccer games. She has dedicated her career to serving the public, addressing inequity, and helping the community collectively shape their living environment.

Director Rebecca Esau's Calendar