By Don MacGillivray

Many people in Portland are concerned about the building boom currently underway within the inner city neighborhoods.

Recently Portland’s Bureau of Development Services (BDS) has made it easier for citizens to find out about the new developments and related issues going on in their area.

It is a customized search tool connected with Portland Maps (portlandmaps.com). There are records concerning: Land Use Reviews Early Assistance, Public Registry, and Final Plats that will give the user a “heads up” regarding development changes in Portland.

The City has given many presentations to community and business organizations on how to use these new tools. City staff continues to be available to meet with those wishing to learn more about these new features.

The basic instructions on how to use these new features are as follows. Go to PortlandMaps and then to “Advanced” at the top of the page. This is a pull down menu and pick “Land Use.” Then pick either a specific area or the “Review Milestone Status” and select “All.”

This gives you a list of all the Land Use Reviews in progress.

By clicking the number in the circle on the map above you can drill down and find the any specific application number in progress. By clicking on “View in PortlandMaps” you will find the application as submitted.

Portland Maps is a rather complex and large data base and the lay person might need some directions about how to find what they are looking for.

Go to portlandoregon.gov/bds/article/649215. This link gives instructions for using it. The contact person at BDS is Ross Caron at 503.823.4268 or email Ross.Caron@portlandoregon.gov.

Another useful feature has recently been added to Portland’s Map App. While public responses and testimonies are available for citizens to read, it has often been difficult to find and access.

The City Tech Service Team has created this new version of the Map App with an improved system of finding the testimony of others regarding land use issues.

Now there is a way to see the testimony in real time and the user is able to search and sort this information. This is called the Testimony Reader and currently it has all the comments and testimony about the recommended draft of the Central City Plan 2035.

Any and all testimony entered electronically will be available in the reader immediately, however the testimony submitted by e-mail, regular mail, or in-person will be entered manually and this could take up to ten days to appear in the reader.

Your selections can be starred and/or organized into personal lists. Additional features are available by signing into your portlandoregon.gov account.

These tools are especially valuable to neighborhood association advocates that wish to follow the land use developments and changes within their communities.

Being able to see what others are saying with their testimony can be important as it allows everyone to see and learn about different issues and the complexity of initiatives that are reviewed by Portland’s city leaders.