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Statement of Commissioner Rubio and Development Services director Rebecca Esau in response to two-year follow-up on 2021 permitting audit

News Article
This is a photo of Northwest Portland, the Fremont Bridge and the Willamette River.

We appreciate the follow-up report to the 2021 audit about the City’s building permit processes. We especially appreciate the recognition of the progress that the Bureau of Development Services and the City’s other development review bureaus are making in fulfilling the audit’s recommendations. We also want to recognize the work done by City staff, stakeholder groups and project teams including:

The last few years offered momentous change and great challenges for the City of Portland. The City’s development review bureaus, with the support of City Council, are working hard to improve the efficient delivery of the services we provide to our customers:

  • We implemented a citywide standard for consistent review practices and communications with customers throughout the development review process.
  • We are continuing our efforts at streamlining the implementation of new development regulations, providing greater predictability for development.
  • We launched and further enhanced the Portland Permit Metric Dashboard that provides customers and the public with updated data on review times, by review team, at different stages of the permit review process.
  • We continue to provide monthly reports on progress towards meeting our permit review goals.
  • We set up an internal dashboard that helps development review managers identify areas in the review process that are not meeting review goals so they can take steps to improve performance.
  • We implemented improvements to the solar permitting process that reduced the rejection of incomplete applications by 40 percent.

To build on these efforts, an implementation plan is being developed to unify the permitting functions of multiple development review bureaus under one authority by July 1, 2024. That implementation plan will be presented to the City Council by Nov. 1.

As we work to unify the City’s permitting functions, we remain focused on continuous improvement through technology enhancements, performance management and a commitment to clear and responsive customer service.