City Council to discuss ongoing permitting improvement efforts at Jan. 25 work session

News Article
Construction equipment near unfinished building
The City Council will receive updates from development review bureaus on efforts to improve permitting services and discuss proposed updates to city policies.

The Portland City Council is conducting a work session on Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to discuss progress in improvements to the City’s permitting and development review processes.

Depending on the complexity of a construction project, issuing a building permit can involve one or more of seven different City bureaus. In March 2021, the City Auditor published an audit of the City’s building permit review process that described several areas for improvement in the timeliness of review and issuance of permits.

Following the publication of the audit, a Permitting Improvement Task Force, led by Commissioners Dan Ryan and Mingus Mapps, was created to identify solutions to the most immediate concerns in improving the building permitting process while identifying longer-term goals. The task force is currently focused on a number of projects that would help applicants understand what’s required and prepare better permit application submittals. These projects include updating and clarifying information on minimum submittal requirements for permit applications, streamlining and improving customer service response times and practices, and updating requirements for public works permits, among others.

The discussion at the Jan. 25 work session will focus on:

  • Progress made in implementing needed improvements
  • Proposed changes related to code amendments that will require future action by the City Council
  • Direction on next steps for the Task Force and further work by the permitting bureaus

“An improved and streamlined permitting process is essential to Portland’s economic recovery,” said Ryan, who oversees two of the seven permitting bureaus, Development Services and Housing. “The entire City Council is fully engaged in and committed to real progress in improving our permitting system, which affects everything from big commercial projects to small residential remodels. Permit improvement will help us meet affordable housing goals, rebuild our economy, and provide Portlanders the permits they need—faster.”

City Council work sessions are open to the public but do not usually provide opportunities for public testimony. You may watch the work session live or through a replay on the City of Portland’s YouTube channel.


Ken Ray

Public Information Officer, Development Services

Terri Theisen

Permitting Improvement Strategy Manager