information
Storm damage recovery

How to find public records with Development Services

Guide
Woman looking at GovQA website on laptop
Find records related to development on private property and other records maintained by Development Services. Receive code enforcement records, land use review records, permit records, liquor license and cannabis business records, and more.
On this page

Read this first: Many records are readily available online

The records you seek may be available online. Please review the list of records below before filing a records request.

Building and trade (electrical, mechanical and plumbing) permit records

Plan sets and application materials for all permit types issued on or after June 1, 2012, are available for free on Portland Maps. You can find individual permit information by:

Here is some helpful information for using Portland Maps.

Some historical plumbing permit records can also be found here.

Building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing code appeals records

  • Information about building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing code appeals considered before September 2003 can be found here.
  • Information about building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing code appeals considered in or after September 2003 can be found here.

Land use reviews, decisions and notices

  • Completed land use decisions from 2017, and from 2020 to present, are available in eFiles. Enter the land use case file in the search window (for example, LU 21-001350). The full case file includes the decision and exhibits.
  • Notices of pending land use proposals and recent land use decisions, before their deadlines for filing an appeal, can be found here.

Cannabis information

A map of locations for which the Cannabis Program received an application for a medical dispensary or marijuana retailer, and their locations relative to K-12 schools, can be found here.

Pending liquor license applications

Liquor license applications currently under review may be found here.

Recent noise complaints and applications for noise variances

  • A map of noise complaints filed in the past 365 days can be found here.
  • A map of noise variance applications received in the past 365 days can be found here.

Code enforcement cases

  • Information about open code enforcement cases, updated monthly, can be found here.
  • A list of current and closed code enforcement cases, by type of case, neighborhood, neighborhood coalition, business district and county, over a particular period of time, can be viewed in, and downloaded from, the advanced features of Portland Maps. Select "Enforcement" in the drop-down menu under the "Category" header.

Aggregate permit and land use data available in Portland Maps

If you are looking for recent data about multiple permits of a certain type or a list of recent applications for permits or land use reviews, over a particular period of time, much of that information can be found in Portland Maps Reports. You can select your own search parameters and download data from the following categories:

Additionally, the advanced features of Portland Maps allow for searches of different types of permits, in different statuses, by neighborhood, neighborhood coalition, business district and county, in a particular time period. The types of permits for which information can be retrieved and downloaded include:

  • Residential building permits: all permits, additions, alterations, demolitions, new construction
  • Commercial building permits: all permits, additions, alterations, demolitions, new construction
  • Permits issued through the Major Projects group
  • Trade permits (electrical, mechanical and plumbing)

Current codes, policies and administrative rules

Codes, administrative rules, building official determinations, code and program guides and other policies administered by the Bureau of Development Services and other development review bureaus can be found here.


What is not provided in a public records request

The public records request process provides specific records that exist as of the date a request is received. A public records request is not an appropriate medium for:

  • Asking questions of or requesting meetings with staff
  • Requesting City employees to research or provide analysis of a topic or issue
  • Engaging in policy discussions with City staff or advocating for changes
  • Seeking records not yet created, such as notes or documents from an upcoming meeting

Setting up an online account for public records requests

If, after reviewing the information listed in the sections above, you cannot find the records you need online, please submit a formal public records request through the City of Portland's online public records request portal and select "Development Services records."

  • If you are using the City of Portland's online public records request system for the first time, please set up a free account.
  • If you have an existing account, please log in here.

Submitting a public records request in person or through the mail

If you have difficulties using the City's online public records request system, you may submit your records request in writing by completing the form below.

Public records requests may be filed in person using the public kiosks at the Development Services Center at 1900 SW 4th Avenue. Please check this page for the hours the Development Services Center is open before you visit the building.

You may also submit a written public records request through U.S. mail, addressed to:
Public Records Coordinator
City of Portland Bureau of Development Services
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 5000
Portland, OR 97201


The City of Portland will make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and those needing assistance with language interpretation and translation when making public records requests. Please note that records requests not submitted online may take longer to fulfill as information must be entered into the City's records request system manually.


Building permit records

The Building Permit Records section maintains copies of plans for building, site development, trade (electrical, mechanical and plumbing) and zoning permits; permit inspection cards; sign permits, and certificates of occupancy.

If you are searching for records of permits issued before June 1, 2012, a formal records request is required.

How to request building permit records:

  • Step one: Make sure that the building records you are looking for are not readily available online, per the instructions for finding online permit information listed above.
  • Step two: Log in or set up a new online account in the Portland Public Records Request portal. If you have difficulties setting up or accessing your online account, proceed to step three.
  • Step three: Request the records online or fill out and mail a uniform public records request form provided above.
    • All building permit applications and plan sets will be provided, unless they are readily available online at Portland Maps.
    • Please note: Additional records (listed below) may be available upon request. Please list any specific additional records you are requesting in the online form (under "Describe Records Requested"). Depending on the complexity of the permit history, additional fees may apply. You will be given an estimate of any additional fees and the opportunity to consent before we fulfill the request for additional records.
  • Step four: Pay the minimum records request fee. A minimum records request fee of $15 per address is required at the time a records request is submitted. The minimum records request fee is for the research performed and does not guarantee that a record will be provided.

We can usually complete records requests within 7 to 10 business days. Depending on the number, size and complexity of the records request, it may require additional time and fees for processing.

Additional permit records available upon request include:

  • Trade permit applications and inspection forms:
    • Electrical Permits from 1983-1994
    • Mechanical Permits from 1960-2005
    • Sign Permits from 1970s-2005
  • Permit folder information:
    • Review process comments
    • People associated with the project (applicant, contractor, etc.)
    • Checksheets (plan check comments)
  • Certificates of Occupancy (when available)
  • Building Code Appeals
  • Information about permits currently under review

Land Use review applications and decisions

The Land Use Services Division maintains all records of land use review, pre-application conference, early assistance, and public registry files.

To receive completed land use applications, including land use reviews, pre-application conferences, Design Advice Request(s), early assistance appointments, and public registry files, from 2019 or earlier, please submit a public records request.

To make a request to review active Land Use applications, including land use reviews, final plat reviews, pre-application conferences, Design Advice Requests, early assistance appointments, and public registry files, please contact the planner listed on the land use review notice or listed in Portland Maps - Permit and Case Search.

Note that the completed or active status of land use applications can be found in Portland Maps - Permit and Case Search.


Code enforcement records

The Property Compliance Division maintains records for code enforcement cases. These include cases involving Housing, Nuisance, Zoning, Dangerous Buildings, Work without Permit, and other violations of City code, including noise code violations. The Property Compliance Division also maintains records relating to Accessory Short-term Rental and Home Occupation Permits.

Please submit a public records request if you are interested in receiving information about a closed enforcement case. For information concerning an active case, please call the Property Compliance Help Line at 503-823-2633, email codec@portlandoregon.gov, or submit a public records request.

Please note that under Oregon Public Records Law (ORS 192.502(4)), certain information submitted to Development Services with the expectation of confidentiality is exempt from disclosure. Information about a complainant for a code enforcement case will not be disclosed unless the complainant waived their right to confidentiality.


Cannabis and liquor license records

Development Services administers the City of Portland's program that facilitates the application process of businesses seeking liquor licenses with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. Records of the City of Portland's recommendations related to liquor license applications for individual businesses, dating back to 2015, can be provided through a public records request. (Liquor license applications that are currently pending can be found here.)

Since 2015, the City's Cannabis Program has managed the licensing and compliance of cannabis-related businesses, social equity and emergency grants, and policy recommendations from the public advisory body in support of the City's cannabis policies. Information about a specific business's license or enforcement actions can be received through a public records request.


Septic and on-site wastewater records

The Bureau of Development Services maintains records for septic systems for sanitary waste disposal on properties located in Multnomah County that do not have physical or legal access to a public sewer.


Unreinforced masonry building list

Please file a public records request to receive a free copy of the latest version of the unreinforced masonry building list.


Other types of public records

For records that are not covered within the categories described above, such as records related to the development of policies and procedures or other written communications, please submit a public records request under "Development Services records" and specify the "Email searches, statistics and reports" category.


News media requests

If you are a member of the press and the information you seek is not available through the online resources listed at the top of this page, please submit a public records request.


Click here to file a public records request online.

Fees for public records searches

The Bureau of Development Services is entitled to recover the costs of staff time involved in locating and reviewing public records.

For building permit records, an initial fee of $15 per address is assessed. Payment of this fee must be received before work begins on a permit records request.

For requests for all other types of records that are expected to take more than one hour of staff time to fulfill, staff will prepare an estimate of the costs to be involved in fulfilling your records request. You will receive a copy of the estimate and have an opportunity to revise the scope of your records request if you wish to reduce your costs. Payment of one-half of the estimate authorizes staff to begin to locate and review the records you request. Once records are reviewed and prepared for distribution, you will receive a final invoice of the actual costs of preparing your records. Payment must be received on the final invoice before records are released.

The Bureau of Development Services may consider full or partial fee waivers for public records requests if any of the following conditions are met:

  • The work to locate and review the requested records takes less than one hour of staff time. (This condition does not apply to building permit records searches for which a minimum $15 fee applies.)
  • You request a fee waiver and demonstrate how the provision of records for free or at a reduced cost serves the greater public interest.
  • You request a fee waiver as payment of the fee may pose a financial hardship.

For public interest and financial hardship fee waivers, you will be required to answer a series of questions to justify a fee waiver. The public information officer will review your request for a fee waiver and determine whether to grant it. You will be notified of the fee waiver decision before work begins on your records request.


Additional resources

Administrative rule

The City Auditor's administrative rule governing the provision of public records can be found here.

Personal safety exemption request

If you feel your name should be withheld from the City's records released to the public due to concerns about your personal safety, please complete a personal safety exemption request form. The Office of the City Attorney will review the information submitted and determine whether it may remove your name, address and/or phone number from City records.

The City is only permitted to withhold an individual’s contact information if the person meets the criteria established in Oregon law (ORS 192.368) by showing that the release of the information would put a person in danger. If the City Attorney approves the removal of your name or contact information from City records, the Bureau of Development Services and other bureaus will be instructed by the City Attorney on the removal of that information.

Contact

General Inquiries

Development Services
phone number503-823-7300Our front desk team will be available to answer Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please leave a message if you call outside of those hours.
Oregon Relay Service711Oregon Relay Service

Location