David Kuhnhausen appointed interim director of Development Services

News Article
This is a photo of David Kuhnhausen, interim director of the Bureau of Development Services as of December 19, 2023.
The longtime permitting manager will lead the bureau through the next phases of updates to City’s development review processes.

Commissioner Carmen Rubio is appointing David Kuhnhausen to serve as interim director of the Bureau of Development Services, effective Tuesday, Dec. 19. Kuhnhausen replaces Rebecca Esau, who is retiring.

Kuhnhausen, a Portland native, has served in various capacities at Development Services since 2008. Since January 2018, he has managed the Permitting Services division that receives and processes building and trade permit applications. He helped lead the bureau’s transition from paper-based to online permitting, improve reporting metrics for permit processing, and revise its customer service model. Previously, he served as a project coordinator and technician providing assistance to customers and bureau leadership in matters concerning building code application and plan review.

“David is the right person to lead this bureau at a critical time for our city,” said Rubio. “Development Services plays a critically important role in addressing Portland’s housing crisis and supporting our development community in challenging economic conditions. With efforts under way to unify our permitting functions into one entity by next July, David has the expertise and the relationships to help this process run smoothly.”

“I am grateful for Commissioner Rubio’s confidence and I value her support,” said Kuhnhausen. “We are at a pivotal moment for the future of development in Portland, and I’m honored to lead this bureau through this transitional period.”

Alice Nielsen, the manager of Development Services’ Process Management team, will replace Kuhnhausen as Permitting Services manager during this interim period.