Bureau of Development Services

A house under construction with workers on site

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: