City updates permit software
Inactive mechanical, electrical and plumbing permits will now be marked expired or void
In the City's files, numerous properties with expired or void permits for mechanical, electrical and plumbing projects are listed as simply inactive.
It's been confusing for customers, the public and city employees, unsure whose permit is actually inactive, expired or void. It's also not in accordance with state law.
Beginning Feb. 1, the City's Bureau of Development Services (BDS) is updating its permitting software program, expiring and voiding inactive trade permits in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing fields.
"Outside of that, you move into structural permits, building permits, so it's just those three trades — electrical, plumbing and mechanical," Ross Caron, public information officer with the BDS, told the Business Tribune. "The ones that it doesn't apply to that are already being more actively managed are building permits for a new homes or industrial buildings."
Currently, the city's permitting software program doesn't actively expire or void trade permits, instead showing them in "issued" or "under inspection" status, indefinitely.
"Let's say there's a new owner of the property and through the purchasing process they realize there's a permit that's been expired," Caron said. "How they would resolve it would be apply for another permit."
"The permit is associated with the property," Caron said. "There are oftentimes a contractor that's been identified in that permit, but they don't necessarily own that permit."
State and city code require that issued trade permits without an approved inspection within 180 days are expired. Expired permits can be reactivated within 180 days of expiration.
After 180 days in expired status, the permit will be voided. Voided permits cannot be reactivated, so a new permit is required in order to complete work and for the city to inspect it.
To transition the inactive permit holders into the new policy, the permits will be changed to expired and voided statuses in three groups: older permits, recent permits and future permits.
"It's been going on for … we've had the system since 2000," Caron said. "It's potentially a large amount of permits that have been inactive. This change will change them to the correct status."
Afterward, the new system will be in accordance with state law.
"Us changing the status in our permit system doesn't in and of itself create a violation or possible issue (with the state code)," Caron said.
"In effect, they're really already there for the state code, but the permitting system is being updated," Caron said. "Ultimately, if people have something they've never called for a final inspection, we want to work with them to make sure we can inspect that work."
"Our goal here is compliance as well as making this as clear as possible for people who come and look at our permit system," Caron said. "We're not doing anything like communicating with the state about this or actively investigating or filing complaints associated with that."
To keep a permit active under the new policy, there are three tiers. If it expired before July 1, 2014, obtain an approved inspection or request a permit extension before Feb. 1, 2017.
If the expiration date falls between July 1, 2014 and Feb. 1, 2017, the same deadlines apply with an option to request reactivation of the permit within 180 days after Feb. 1.
If the expiration date is after Feb. 1 of this year, just get organized before it expires.
To check out the expiration date of a permit, visit: PortlandMaps.com
Type in the property address. Scroll down on the right to the "Permits and Zoning" heading and select "Permits."
To request an inspection, call 503-823-7000. For permit extensions or permit reactivations, call 503-823-7303 for commercial inspections or 503-823-7388 for residential. Some requests for extensions and reactivations should be submitted in writing, by city staff requirement.
Extend your permit online at: PortlandOregon.gov/bds/tpe
Reactivate your permit online at: PortlandOregon.gov/bds/tpr