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Thursday, May 29, 2008

More, more, more (how do you like it?)

Portland's "Bureau of Development Services" -- the folks who issue building permits, think up catchy slogans, and have executive coaches tell them what to do -- are looking to hire a contractor to perform what is becoming an annual telephone survey to gauge "customer satisfaction." As noted on this blog before, for them the "customers" are the developers -- not the taxpaying citizens who have to deal with the developers' handiwork next door or in their neighborhood. Check out whom they're going to survey:

The survey will consist of a minimum of 675 interviews stratified approximately as follows:

1. 200 Residential Building permit customers
2. 200 Commercial Building permit customers
3. 125 Trade permit customers
4. 150 Land use customers

That last group consists of people who "applied for a land use review within this last year" -- again, developers. You and me? Don't worry -- our dinner hours are safe.

Anyway, the bid papers for the $25,000 contract are here.

Comments (8)

That guy Scarlett....I'll tell ya....he's busy keepin' busy. Maybe survey findings can be refined into a "vision statement."....ISSUING PERMITS: THE NEXT 50 YEARS

The City of Jerks. What a pitiful waste of money.

"What a pitiful waste of money."

Yup the only saving grace is that the Bureau is 100% funded out of permit fees so it's mostly the developers money being spent.

Greg C

"That last group consists of people who 'applied for a land use review within this last year' -- again, developers."

Not exactly. Major design reviews (think downtown towers) or zone change cases (think Colwood) get the headlines and televised hearings, but at least half of Land Use Review cases are from homeowners seeking to partition their large lots or asking for an adjustment to minimum setback requirements so they can build a porch, garage, or accessory dwelling unit.

PLease do you think anyone will dare respond negatively to a survey about BDS. You must never have run the gauntlet trying to get a straight answer out of BDS. Just fear of reprosals alone would be enough.

BTW - Since we seem to have a CoP employee (Greg C, I am guessing) who has time on his hands to blog, what happens to surplus BDS funds generated?

not the taxpaying citizens who have to deal with the developers' handiwork next door or in their neighborhood.

JK: Not to be too big a jerk, but this is result of an artificial shortage of land caused by Metro's land use policies.

Without the restrictions, most of those new units would be built on, now vacant, land away from our neighborhoods.


If you do any renovations or additions to your home, you got to get a permit. Same thing if you are a small business making leasehold improvements. I've had to deal with BDS a lot last year for adding natural gas lines to my house. Frankly, most of the process was pretty painless, but there are things they could improve, so I wouldn't mind getting surveyed. I think any good organization pays attention to its customers and surveys are one proven method of doing so. So those 200 surveys of residential permit customers is a good thing. We pay fees, and we also pay taxes.

Neighbors who don't like certain developments have recourse through elected officials (not often promising) and their neighborhood associations, which are usually very effective at thwarting development. In fact, it could be argued that in Portland, neighborhood NIMBYs hold too much power.

Greg C is not a CoP employee. He is a CoP former employee. He was terminated for his role in helping a housing inspector "buy" houses from disabled, elderly victims.

He has a lot of nerve.

I suspect the average "land use customer" is much more likely to be a small property owner requesting something minor than it is to be a developer of a downtown office tower.

And don't we want to encourage city agencies to be more responsive and customer-focused? To his credit, I think Ragin' Randy Leonard has really improved the culture at BDS in this regard. (Before anyone flames out, I work in the private sector.)

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