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Board Accomplishments and Thank You

Tri-County Building Industry Service Board Sunset Recognition Event
December 17
Jones Farm, Intel Campus


Tri-County Board


The board's work embodies the essence of the governor's regulatory streamlining initiative. They've improved processes, procedures, and customer service, consolidated a thousand details into simple application forms, and made government more predictable, more open and more user-friendly. The board is responsible for the improved relationships among industry and local jurisdictions in the area, and their work provided a foundation for future streamlining and cooperation in the tri-county region.




Oregon has a rich history of citizen activism, from environmental enthusiasts to labor lobbyists to business boosters.


The Tri-County Building Industry Service Board is a product of an active and energetic business lobby that refused to believe that the state and local governments should continue to conduct "business as usual." In fact, they believed this for a long time, but it took a few sessions of the legislature to compel others to think similarly.


In 1997, the lobby, specifically NECA, supported HB 3290, instructing industry, the state and local government to start talking and created the Metropolitan Building Codes Consolidation Task Force that met during the interim.


The task force discussed concepts. They discussed coordination. They discussed roles and responsibilities and they discussed intergovernmental agreements.


The discussions went on for quite some time, but actions did not immediately follow.


Then they discussed legislation.


The product: SB 512 that created the Tri-County Building Industry Service Board and gave the group a long list of mandates, the essence of which was to improve customer service to area industry.




The Tri-County Board was given about seven months to write rules to standardize permit application forms, permitting processes, code application, fee methodology, training for inspectors, to create a regional permitting system, and while they were at it, a process for dispute resolution.


No tasks for slouches!


But the board's combined energy, creativity, dedication, flexibility and willingness to find solutions, not fault, resulted in the completion of the rule-writing tasks ahead of schedule.


The Board starting meeting in December 1999. By July 1, the Tri-County Service Center was up and running, selling electrical and plumbing minor labels. Within weeks of completing the rules, board committees were designing forms, checklists, and fee methodologies and considering dispute resolution processes.


Within a year, the permit application forms were standardized, the fee methodologies in place, 17,000 minor labels had been sold, code forums were held around the region, and checklists were available on the web. The training program was so well done, and so practical, the division adopted it as a statewide program.


Shortly thereafter, OBOA asked the board and the division to consider expanding the minor label program statewide. By June 2002, the center opened the minor labor program for statewide business.


The board has been an incubator for great programs and great pilots. For example, the success of the minor label program led industry at the 2003 session to propose expanding the concept to include other disciplines in addition to plumbing and electrical. As a result one can anticipate more minor label programs and applications in the years to come. In another area, the division is working on a concept to expand its code forum and code consistency program statewide program based on the board's code forum concept. When the division considers piloting programs requiring established relationships, and a track record of creativity and energy, such as the e-permitting pilot suggested by SB 713, it can turn to the tri-county community of industry and local jurisdictions to solve the problems and to pilot the program.


When the board's mandated tasks were accomplished, it channeled its brains, experience and creativity into a public outreach campaign, complete with a web site, radio and television ads and a complete line of brochures. The board also met for several sessions to discuss and weigh several concepts concerning the delivery of building department services in the future.


But the best part of the whole arrangement, aside from the stunning successes along the way, is that everyone started talking. Relationships improved. Industry got to know the challenges faced by local jurisdictions. Jurisdictions began to understand what industry needed to do its job. And building officials became better acquainted with industry and each other, finding in these partners new resources to help them develop programs and to solve code problems.




The board actually accomplished much more that it was mandated to accomplish. It created partnerships, provided new resources, generated new ideas and changed the way industry and jurisdictions viewed their relationships.


Thank you, current board members. The Department's and BCD's thanks also go to previous board members including Sue Blatner, who represented the plumbing industry, Mike Cliburn, who represented a county building official, Judy Bauman who was the public member, and John Lape who represented architects and engineers.