City Council gives green light to Portland Permitting & Development, officially creating new bureau

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The City's new permitting bureau will officially launch July 1, with changes taking shape over the next 18 months.
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The Portland City Council approved a new permitting bureau Wednesday, a critical step toward creating a one-stop shop to help Portlanders get projects done safely and efficiently. 

Starting July 1, Portland Permitting & Development will be the destination for most types of residential and commercial permits – from tree planting to home construction to alarm installation. 

"Portland residents and businesses need and deserve great customer service when they need to get projects done," said City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who oversees the City’s Community and Economic Development service area. “Today, we’re taking an important step in that direction.”

Portland Permitting & Development started taking shape last summer, when the City Council directed staff to unify permitting services that were housed across several bureaus. Their aim: to reduce confusion, improve efficiency and increase satisfaction for customers.

Timeline with six colorful circles representing, from left to right: Aug 2023 Consolidation Approved, May 2024 Portland Permitting & Development Created, Late 2024 Customer Support, Early 2025 Permit Process Improvements, Summer 2025 Funding & Staffing, Late 2025 Creating Code Clarity

A project team engaged customers and staff in developing the new bureau, which includes about 350 employees – more than three-fourths from the longstanding Bureau of Development Services, which is being phased out. Other staff are moving from the Environmental Services, Parks & Recreation, Transportation and Water bureaus.

Portland Permitting & Development will feature nine work teams, including one dedicated to customer support for all types of permitting. Other teams will specialize in specific parts of the development process, such as public infrastructure and building permit review. 

The new bureau launches July 1 – the same day the City adopts a new organizational structure in preparation for voter-approved changes to its form of government.

Like the government transformation, permitting improvements will take time to optimize. The project team anticipates website improvements, a new public works review process and an analysis of development permit processes to roll out by early 2025.

Portland Permitting & Development Structure

A graphic shows the words "Portland Permitting & Development" in the center, surrounded by nine bolts - each one listing a work team for the new bureau. The teams are Customer Support & Development Services, Inspection Services, Land Use Services, Equity & Policy Development, Digital Services, Admin & Business Operations, Public Infrastructure Permit Review, Property Compliance and Plan Review.