Portland welcomes its new Building Official

News Article
The Bureau of Development Services announces the selection of Matt Rozzell as the City of Portland’s new Building Official, beginning Thursday, Dec. 22.
This is a photograph of Matt Rozzell, the City of Portland's Building Official as of December 22, 2022.
Matt Rozzell

The Building Official is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the City’s building permitting, plan review, and inspection programs. The Building Official acts as the City’s building code expert and is the final authority for all building code interpretations and rulings in the City of Portland. At Development Services, the Building Official delegates authority to bureau employees for the intake, review, issuance and inspection of permits and other functions required to administer and enforce state and national building codes.

Rozzell comes to this position with more than 15 years of experience in local government overseeing the review of development plans and implementation of building codes. For the past four years, he served as the Building Codes Administrator for Clackamas County, where he managed a team of 50 professionals in plan review, permitting and inspections.

Rozzell also served as the Development Services Manager and Building Official for the City of Happy Valley, where he managed the building division and oversaw the enforcement of building codes. He is also no stranger to the Bureau of Development Services, where he managed a team of 26 life safety plan reviewers in 2015 and 2016.

He holds numerous certifications from the International Code Council and the Oregon Building Codes Division. He is a journeyman plumber and an experienced inspector of building, fire, plumbing and mechanical plans. He is a past president of the Oregon Building Officials Association and was its Building Official of the Year in 2018. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Marylhurst University and an associate degree in industrial technology from Clackamas Community College.

“I am excited to come back to the City of Portland as its new Building Official and work with all of the City’s development review bureaus as well as the construction industry to promote the safety of Portland’s built environment,” said Rozzell.

In his new role, Rozzell will lead a team that manages the process through which permit applicants may appeal decisions of City plan reviewers and request alternative ways to meet the intent of a code provision. The Building Official is empowered to provide an official interpretation of applicable codes, and his decisions may be appealed to one of the appeals boards that the Building Official’s team supports. The Building Official also works closely with the Fire Marshal and other City permitting bureaus to ensure consistent implementation of applicable building codes.

Rozzell replaces Terry Whitehill, who has served as the City’s Building Official since 2006 and is retiring at the end of December, though he has agreed to stay on for a few months to assist with the transition.

“Terry leaves enormous shoes to fill, and his influence on the safety of Portland’s built environment will be felt for decades,” said Rebecca Esau, director of the Bureau of Development Services. “I am excited to bring Matt Rozzell on board, and I am certain he is the right candidate to continue our work to strengthen the public’s confidence in the integrity of Portland’s buildings.”