Welcome to Community Development

The Mission of the Community Development Department

“Excellence in customer service by providing courteous, timely and professional service to the citizens of Polk County through innovation in administration of planning, building and environmental health regulations and policies in order to protect the health and safety of the citizens of the County.”

The Community Development Department is divided into the following three divisions and two programs.

The Planning Division is responsible for managing the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and administering the County’s zoning regulations and long range land use planning. The Planning Director is Austin McGuigan. He is assisted by Senior Planner Mark Bernard, Assistant Planner Sidney Mulder, Office Specialist Cole Steckley, and Office Manager Autumn Hillebrand.

  • Land use permits – conditional uses, zone changes, variances, etc.
  • Site development plan review
  • Long range planning
  • Flood plain administration (non-structural such as fill and removal)
  • Hazard mitigation planning
  • Nuisance complaint and code compliance investigation and enforcement
  • Road naming and addressing

The Building Division is responsible for administering the building permit and inspection program in accordance with State building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical and manufactured dwelling setup codes. The Building Official is Mark Burrows. The electrical inspector is Gary Noble. Other Building Division staff includes Permits Specialist Coren Paris, Office Specialist Cole Steckley , Office Specialist Jessie Trowbridge, and Office Manager Autumn Hillebrand.

The Environmental Health Division is responsible for the review and approval of permits for the installation of septic tanks and drain fields, licensing and inspecting restaurants, swimming pools and tourist facilities, monitoring drinking water systems for compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act, administering the solid waste collection franchise ordinance and coordinating recycling efforts, and conducting food handlers classes. The Environmental Health Supervisor/Sanitarian is Jim Solvedt. Click for information on Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events.

Food Handler Permits
Restaurant licensing and inspection
Temporary restaurant licensing and inspection
School food service inspection
Day care inspections (upon request only)
Public swimming pool and spa pool licensing and inspection
Motel and RV park licensing and inspection
Camp licensing and inspection
Safe drinking water monitoring and compliance
Solid waste administration (County garbage collector franchising)
Dead deer pickup on County roads
Recycling coordination
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
Animal bite investigation (rabies)
Ambulance service ordinance administration
Vector borne disease investigation (rats and mosquitoes)
Food, animal and waterborne disease investigation (concurrently with the Public Health Dept.)

The Code Compliance program is responsible for investigating complaints and obtaining compliance with the County’s regulations.

  • Provides investigation of complaints and code violations for the three divisions listed above.
  • Coordinates formal enforcement actions with law enforcement agencies, other regulatory agencies and County attorney.

The Economic Development program is responsible for coordinating economic development and infrastructure development activities throughout the County and administrating grant programs that support these kinds of activities.

Polk County’s video lottery receipts
Coordination of Federal grant programs ranking process
Rural Investment Fund
Regional Investment Fund
Other grant programs
Long range planning

Unusually heavy rainfall in Polk County in January 2012 led to flooding which resulted in damage to homes and businesses.

We are currently receiving reports that some homes are experiencing flooding in their basements.

If you are a licensed contractor, you are now able to purchase limited Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing Permits that do not require a plan review through the State of Oregon's online ePermitting website. For more information, please visit the Polk County ePermitting Information webpage or contact Community Development at (503) 623-9237.  

Polk and Lincoln Counties are facing increasing water demand and increasingly scarce water supplies. Both counties have been working collaboratively to explore whether a storage reservoir on the South Fork Siletz River at the site of the historic town of Valsetz could meet water demands projected for 2050 for water providers and agricultural users. This potential storage facility would be located near the coastal mountain divide. Impounded water would be diverted to the west to serve Lincoln County and to the east to serve Polk County. There also is the potential to serve the greater regional area including Benton, Marion and Yamhill County citizens. The South Fork Siletz River and the Luckiamute River would be used to convey water to withdrawal points located lower in each basin.

The purpose of this study is to conduct an appraisal level assessment of potential environmental effects and benefits of the Valsetz water storage project. The assessment focuses on three storage concept alternatives determined by dam height and reservoir storage. This analysis serves as a preliminary, concept-level review of the resources that may be affected if a project were developed. This initial investigation relies on existing information, an extremely limited amount of field data and some preliminary modeling and analysis. This is a first step in understanding potential effects in the area that would be inundated by a project and the Siletz and Luckiamute Rivers. Further investigation and technical studies will be required to definitively evaluate the magnitude and type of impacts and feasibility of project development.

Getting to Know Your Septic System

Septic systems dispose of household sewage, or wastewater, generated from several sources, including sinks, toilet use, bathing, washing machines, and other cleaning activities.

View the new code change in the 2008 Oregon Residential Specialty Code and the new