Due to the COVID-19 driven economic downturn and sustained violence and vandalism in the downtown core, Portland has seen a precipitous decline in large scale construction. Since these projects provide an outsized portion of the fees that the Bureau of Development Services collects, BDS is facing a corresponding decline in revenue. At the same time that BDS is grappling with a rapid decline in fees, City Hall dramatically increased rent on the Bureau’s 1900 Building. The twin pressure of fee reduction and rent increase has blown a multi-million dollar hole in the BDS budget. Most distressing is the fact that - as HBA explained in a recent letter to the Portland City Council - BDS is now forced to consider a dramatic reduction in staffing (up to 60 FTEs!) in order to address the shortfall. Such an outcome would devastate the city and the homebuilding industry for years to come. As the recent Willamette Week article highlighted, a significant reduction in staffing would inhibit BDS’ ability to timely process permits and inspections, leading to delays in development and construction timelines and increases in housing cost. To learn about how HBA is fighting to maintain BDS staffing levels during these challenging times, contact Ezra Hammer at firstname.lastname@example.org.