Oregon’s building officials honor two Portland building safety leaders

News Article
Terry Whitehill and Jeff Gauba are recognized by the Oregon Building Officials Association for their leadership and innovation in promoting safe structures.

Two officials with the Bureau of Development Services received top honors from the Oregon Building Officials Association (OBOA) at its annual meeting at Salishan Coastal Lodge July 20-22.

This is a photograph of Jeff Gauba, a property compliance inspector with the City of Portland's Bureau of Development Services
Jeff Gauba

Jeff Gauba, a building inspector on the Zoning, Nusiance and Site Inspections team within the Property Compliance Division, received the Building Inspector of the Year Award. Gauba inspects dangerous buildings and work performed on commercial structures without a permit. He regularly assists other inspectors and works with the clients of the Empowered Neighborhoods Program to assist property owners in making their homes safer.

Gauba has worked for the City of Portland for six years and has a background in construction and building maintenance. “I love working with the Empowered Neighborhoods Program. I love helping other people,” he said. He is grateful for the honor but feels that many of his peers are equally deserving. “I’m not doing anything different than anyone else” in the Property Compliance division.

Beth Benton, manager of the Property Compliance division, praised Gauba’s work ethic. “He provides excellent customer service. He cares about his customers and he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. All of that combined equals success,” she said.

This is a photograph of Terry Whitehill, City of Portland Building Official with the Bureau of Development Services
Terry Whitehill

Terry Whitehill has been the City of Portland’s building official since 2006 and came to the Bureau of Development Services in 2003 as a plans reviewer. As the City’s designated building official, Whitehill is often the final interpreter of how state and national building codes are applied in complex development projects. This year, the OBOA honored him with two awards: the Building Official of the Year Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Terry represents Oregon at the national level when it comes to the development of national codes,” said Scott Linfesty, the OBOA President. “He’s an outstanding member of the organization and an example of what a building official should be.”

Despite his long association with OBOA, including service as a past president, this is the first time Whitehill has received the Building Official of the Year Award. “We’re pretty innovative and find good ways to do things in Portland,” he said. “This award reflects on the whole bureau. It’s a team effort.”

Recipients of the Building Inspector of the Year Award and the Building Official of the Year Award are nominated by their peers across Oregon in local government building departments, private companies and the Oregon Building Codes Division. A committee of OBOA members, appointed by the board, reviews the nominations and selects the awardees.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was a special honor chosen by the OBOA board and Whitehill, who plans to retire at the end of this year, is its second recipient. “The board unanimously decided to honor Terry with a lifetime achievement award. He has been a go-to person for so many people,” said Linfesty.