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City's skyrocketing number of building permits creates need for more personnel.

COURTESY GRAPHIC: CITY OF WOODBURN - Graphic depicts the number of dwelling permits issued in Woodburn dating back to 2008. The permits skyrocketed in 2021, and that number already has been surpassed in 2022.During what proved to be a busy session for Woodburn city planners, the Woodburn City Council approved a request to add an additional member to the planning staff.

The April 25 meeting saw the council update the Woodburn Development Ordinance related to the Transportation System Plan at the behest of planners, who delivered a full report prior to the update.PMG FILE PHOTO - Chris Kerr

City Planner Chris Kerr reminded the council that the surge in construction in town has kept his staff immensely busy, then he requested the council add another full-time equivalent planner, which was approved unanimously.

Kerr furnished a graphic dating back 14 calendar years displaying the number of dwelling unit permits issued to underscore the need. In 2008 there were 29 permits issued and only 24 total in the ensuing three years. Over the next decade permits remained mostly steady, hitting a then-high 100 in 2018, eclipsed by 102 in 2020.

Then in 2021 the number of dwelling permits issued in Woodburn skyrocketed to 547, and Kerr said the number of permits issued this year already has surpassed the 2021 total.

Kerr hopes to recruit, hire, train and have a new planner working before the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1, siphoning off some of the heavy load from current staff.

"When the new planner is hired, we will have three planners working under my direction," Kerr said. "We currently have two.

"The city continues to see sustained growth in residential, commercial, as well as, industrial activity," he added. "For the upcoming fiscal year, I expect the planning department to review requests for an additional 500 new dwelling units and over 1 million new square feet of Industrial space."


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