Inspectors try to keep up

Portland BDS will ask the city council for $3.7 million to restore laid-off employees.

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Portland’s Bureau of Development Services is running low on reserves, with only $114,000 left in its fund.

While the Portland City Council approved a $1.5 million loan for the BDS, the bureau will soon ask the council for $3.7 million in general fund support to restore $20.5 full-time positions.

In the meantime, the BDS’ 36 remaining building inspectors continue to struggle to stay on top of their workload. Senior building mechanical inspector Jim Zarr said he has heard rumors that the construction industry could see a turnaround later this year, but he isn’t betting on it.

“It’s like fortune-telling,” Zarr said. “We hear rumors that people have plans to build, but it comes down to funding. And my understanding is the banks are requiring more collateral. The work is doable, but if someone is sick or goes on vacation, we don’t have anyone to fill in.”

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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