Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Vancouver Washington Beats Portland With Implementation of Efficient, Electronic Permit System

The City of Vancouver, Washington has one-upped Portland in its implementation of an electronic permit application system. In early 2016 -- about five years after the project began -- Vancouver launched its system that allows businesses to submit digital copies of plans online, rather than physically bringing them to City offices -- where plans have to be physically filed away and can be misplaced. Vancouver's new system was developed by software company Avolve of Scottsdale, Arizona. The city says it is also in the process of an update to the software that will make it even easier. Total cost: about $500,000. The City will make use of the new electronic permit system mandatory by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, five years into a similar project, the City of Portland has spent $12 million and it is expected to spend at least $1.6 million more. Portland fired its original vendor -- Sierra Systems of Vancouver, B.C. -- last fall. Local news reports indicate costs are expected to climb even higher. Officials hope to implement the Portland system by the end of 2018. 

Note: This story was updated July 27 to include information contained in a July 26th report by the Daily Journal of Commerce which appeared following this posting.