Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 12, 2011 12:41 PM. The previous post in this blog was Big Brother is hard at work. The next post in this blog is Fukushima No. 1 reactor core is dry. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, May 12, 2011

City of Portland jacking up permit fees

A reader sends along what he or she says is an e-mail message just in from the City of Prtland:

The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) collects fees under various fee schedules to fund inspections, plan review, permit issuance, land use review, customer assistance, and other functions. Since 1988, construction-related programs operated by BDS (approximately 90% of bureau functions) have been primarily self-supporting. BDS achieves this through a combination of strategies that allow the bureau to respond to increasing costs while being innovative and proactive in meeting changing customer needs.

Fee Increase Overview

BDS is proposing to increase most fees (except for Environmental Soils) by 8%, beginning July 1, 2011. Due to significant historical funding issues, Environmental Soils (subsurface sewage) fees will increase by 70%.

Building permits (8%)
Mechanical permits (8%)
Electrical permits (8%)
Plumbing permits (8%)
Facilities Permit Program (8%)
Site Development permits (5%)
Environmental Soils (subsurface sewage) Program (70%)
Signs Program (8%)
Zoning Program (5%)
Noise Control Program (8%)
Neighborhood Inspections (8%)
Land Use Services (8%)
Field Issued Remodel (FIR) Program hourly rate (8%)

If Fees are NOT Increased…

While BDS recognizes the impact that fee increases have on its customers, particularly in the current economic climate, moderate fee increases will be necessary in order to provide financial stability for BDS and ensure an acceptable level of services to bureau customers. Not increasing fees would have significant impact on both the bureau and our customers and stakeholders:

Service levels would remain at unacceptably low levels, hindering development at a time when it’s desperately needed.
Bureau reserves would remain at critically low levels.
Cost recovery efforts would slip.

Next Steps / For Further Information

The Portland City Council will review and listen to public testimony regarding the proposed fee increases at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 in City Council chambers. The Council will vote on the changes on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. If the ordinance is passed the fee increases will go into effect on July 1, 2011.

Multnomah County fees will also be affected, since the County contracts with the City of Portland for inspection and plan review services in the unincorporated areas within the Portland urban services boundary. The County Board of Commissioners will review the proposed fee increases on Thursday, June 2, 2011 in the County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne, first floor.

The proposed fee schedules are available online at

If you have questions about the fee increases, please contact Denise Kleim, BDS Administrative Services Manager, at (503) 823-7338 or

Comments (20)

I am confused. I thought the city of Portland had a budget surplus?

In February 2011, Mayor Adams said: "We start next year’s budget with a one-time $22 million surplus."

Running into the ground we are by financial misfits!!!

Homer will still get a full refund via air rights, correct?

Look, my last remark out of sheer frustration, but here is an example.

Thousands and thousands of dollars it costs to just get to only the point of where the city would be able to say yes or no as to whether the project would be allowed!
Heavens knows how much they would ask after that initial point!

Wonder if the city is in such financial skids to bankruptcy already, that they are desperate to do anything, cover up anything, go for anything, try anything, make any deals behind our backs to cover up their grave financial situation, which in turn is really our grave financial matter!!

"Service levels would remain at unacceptably low levels...
Bureau reserves would remain at critically low levels.
Cost recovery efforts would slip."

Yes, that says that they need more money to pay for cost recovery.

Of course the permit prices are going up. How else is Portland supposed to pay for streetcars and hipster bike lanes?

If staffing is at such a dangerously low level perhaps plan review should be contracted out on an as needed basis. Thus eliminating the need for public employees to sit around and do nothing for the bulk of the time. A lot of smaller muncipalities have these arrangements.

Realizing that they have already cut a lot of positions; in this climate not a lot are needed. If you look on line with OCCB (contractor's board); it is amazing that so many contractors/specialty subs are NO LONGER IN BUSINESS. Most of the specialty permits (plumbing, mechanical, etc..) can be handled on line. So one has to question why this extravagent increase is necessary.

Recently we decided to create
an apartment in a storage area of a small 4 unit apartment building. This would be all interior work , that we figured would cost 5k and create a unit of modest 'workforce housing' on a bus line [something the COP says it wants].
We got drawings and filed for a permit. After the intake staff decided we needed to be reviewed by seven [yes 7] agencies [which allowed each of them to nail us for $$$ ] ,we got to 13k in proposed fees!
Then the last reviewer said he needed a separate permit that would cost an unknown amount more. Well we walked away from the 1,000 + in $$$ down payment. This is absurd
and frankly , I will never build or recommend to my customers that they build or improve ANY property in the City of Portland.
The rub is that the more you raise fees to this disgusting level , the fewer people will improve their properties , and thus buy permits , so then you have to raise fees , and then fewer people buy permits ....
A progressive way to get the Portland economy going and create jobs , Mr Mayor and Councilors is to have a Free Permit Year. Instead of buying 'park land' which no one can build on , why not help actual Portlanders improve their property , create jobs and make the city economy jump to life !

Ok, sigh. When Randy took over the Building Bureau the first thing he did was promise the builders that they would have no fee increases for 5 years. (Yes this was just before the National Home builders named Randy elected official of the year and took him down to Vegas for a good time.) The green eye shade folks at the Bureau said "But costs are going up and the fees won't cover our costs." Randy said take it out of reserves and shut up.

The reserve fund then had $30 million in it to cover things like if the home market collapsed. Five years later all $30 million was gone. Then the market collapsed. So without money Randy went to Council and asked for General Fund money. Council said no. So Randy laid off a bunch of employees and then said to his bud Sammy, "I think it's time to give the Building Bureau to Saltzman". SO this is Saltzman knowing Council won't give him any money, rebuilding the Bureau.

Put this down as the least surprising news item today. They'll kill all development yet.

Wasn't Sam just bragging how much extra they have in the budget for projects next year?

I am losing total respect for the collective IQ that is Portland.

Reminds me of events at my previous house: we had a creek running through the back yard. I left that bit at the end of the property to itself. It was excellent wildlife habitat; beavers even moved in and built a small pond down there.

Enter CoPo: their BES slapped an "environmental overlay" on the entire property, and told me I could plant no non-native plants within 50 feet of this ecosystem. A vegetable garden, it happens, is not a permitted use.

The back deck was rotting away from the house, so I decided to replace it - but CoPo wanted a complete set of drawings and $1200 to review them, after which they would decide whether or not I could replace the deck.

Everybody has a limit, and they hit mine.

I replaced the deck anyway, then sold the place.

In Portland, it's rare to actually own property, although you do get to pay the mortgage.

I’ll try that line on the wife, “Due to significant historical funding issues,” we cannot repaint the dining room, nor can we repair that leaky faucet and reseal the toilet, however, we can afford to buy a new toilet brush!

My guess: Portland's MAIN STREAM MEDIA will cover this issue in a light favorable to the elected officials and their hired help.

A jurisidiction puts forward outsize fee increases for regulation/licensing of development and land use activities? Proper solution is to downsize the staffing and consolidate the bureaucracy that was built during the real estate bubble.

Re: "In Portland, it's rare to actually own property, although you do get to pay the mortgage."

Max, Forbes suggests it's not just Portland but the entire West Coast that is currently undesirable for home buying:

"The best places to purchase a home in America are mostly in the heartland, reflecting the coastal nature of the housing boom and bust. None of the best places to purchase a home are located on the West Coast in states like California, Oregon and Washington, not to mention Nevada and Arizona."

"In order to figure out the best places to purchase a home in the country, Zillow looked at four statistical measures in 125 metro areas as of the end of February. These factors included affordability, as measured by home price to income ratios; the unemployment picture (both the absolute figure and how it's trending over time); the foreclosure situation; and year-over-year housing price trends."

City government is not a primary factor in the Zillow survey, although it would seem to influence the measures employed. Perhaps its effect should be made statistically explicit.

How about city staff, downsize to 3/4 or part time at least? Why does Mayor Adams have so many on staff? Saw their salaries recently and do not see why they could not "make do" with less!

List of staff and salaries:

It is not that I am advocating to make life miserable for others, but take a look. When people throughout our city are having to downsize, or worse yet hanging on with a thread and wondering what next - why this staff, and where is there a list of their education and experience to warrant these positions and salaries?

One of the previous comments hit the issue right on the head, raise the permit fees to outrageous levels and people ignore getting permits and do the work anyway.
In some cases this won't be a problem since people want their home to be sound and safe. But you can end up with unsafe or substandard construction.

...or the city coming around and a huge fine!

Can't be independent anymore, we can't have the spirit of that as we are now to be under the thumb of "control!"

Huge money grabs, one way or another. $$ for permits, or $$ for fines!!

Without these fee increases we won't have a planning department, etc? I say let them go away.

Most people will be pleasantly surprised just how little these "departments" are needed as currently structured.

Britt Storkson,
I say we need a relief from this constant planning and involvement to be up on what is next regarding our livability?

It is this plan and that plan and this meeting and that meeting until just plain crazy making. If there isn't enough to do for now, then they have a series of meetings to plan for 2040. I am all for planning for a future, but not at the expense of taking our attention away from our current critical matters. The world we live in, how can we know what to plan for 2040, or to know that what is "planned for us" is the way to go. I don't see what we have here as a moderate kind of planning, I see that planning has turned into a "control" bureau with way more control than actual needed planning.

You can be sure that those with vested interests go to all of these meetings, the general public could not possibly attend them all and yet critical directions are made.

We just need a moratorium, STOP already with the bombardment. A citizen cannot keep up with all of this. A full time job it would be and even with staff could not keep up with all of this!!


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

Clicky Web Analytics