Commissioner Ryan's priorities as the Commissioner-in-Charge of the Bureau of Development Services are using the bureau's expertise to improve Citywide permitting processes, facilitating Portland's development from small residential improvements to large-scale affordable housing, and streamlining the bureau's use of technology and customer experience.
A nimble, data-driven, customer-centered response from BDS and other permitting bureaus is the key to Portland's economic development.
Laying the groundwork
Over the past year, the Bureau of Development Services continued to sustain its commitment to continuous improvement by providing transparent monthly data to customers as the City builds a more efficient and responsive building permitting system. The Bureau exanded its online permitting services while offering in-person, by-appointment services to customers without internet access or who need additional help in applying for a permit.
BDS and other permitting bureaus provided thousands of free 15-minute appointments with property owners and contractors to answer questions before applying for building permits.
In the year ahead, BDS will further its work with other permitting bureaus to enhance the efficiency of permitting review and inspection services while ensuring strong buildings for years to come. BDS also seeks to expand some of its single-point-of-contact services to support development projects that meet our community's critical economic and housing needs.
Recent Bureau accomplishments for 2022 include:
The 2022 City Audit Progress Report Year One noted that “the city made substantive progress across the five audit recommendations.”
Productively advanced permitting structure reform, which led to the creation of a multi-bureau Permit Improvement Task Force--and secured investments to build the Permit Improvement Transition Team.
Enhanced the City’s solar permit application process to support property owners in promotion of clean energy goals.
Successfully advocated for $1.2M in funding for the Neighborhood Inspections program, to reduce the program’s reliance on enforcement fees which pose equity concerns reported in the City Ombudsman’s November 2021 report.
Effectively championed an approve-able LUCS from Zenith Energy that solidifies the City’s shared commitment to renewable fuels with transparent accountability and compliance measures.
Filled a variety of vacancies on the Development Review Advisory Committee, adding additional racial and experiential diversity to the committee.
Learn more about Commissioner Ryan's work with the Bureau of Development Services:
- Permit Improvement Task Force,
- Commissioner Ryan actively recruited for Development Review Advisory Committee (DRAC) and Historic Landmarks Commission appointments, resulting in more diverse representation on these vital public bodies. Learn more about DRAC and the Historic Landmarks Commission.
- Commissioner Ryan passed a BDS ordinance to temporarily waive sections of the zoning code to support economic recovery. Read BDS' article on how these changes support businesses.
- Worked with City bureaus to create a system to reimburse shelter permit fees to further remove barriers to shelter siting, using funds we advocated for and passed in the Fall BMP.
- Commissioner Ryan championed a challenge to Zenith Energy's fossil fuel expansion in Portland to protect our climate and the safety of NW Portlanders. Portland Mercury Coverage.
- Commissioner Ryan advocated to meet the unique needs of affordable housing providers in code changes to the Historic Resources Code Project (HCRP) and the Design Overlay Zoning Amendments (DOZA), which will help the City provide more affordable housing on schedule. Learn more about HCRP and DOZA.
- Commissioner Ryan continues to support technology improvements—like launching the development permits and land use reviews research tool, the reformatting of inspection reports to provide helpful information to customers, and remote video Re-inspections to protect health and keep residential projects moving during COVID-19—that adapt to how our customers do business and advance the city of Portland.