City of Portland Website

Transparency:  They have videos of city council meetings but navigating to them isn’t easy.  From the home page there is a link to city council agendas but they don’t include the video.  I had to pull down the tab for “services” and pick council and then find the videos.  This is a major problem with most municipal sites.  They allow where the resource is generated, in the case of video by public access television or the like, to determine how someone accesses it.  Even if there are limitations in where the videos are housed, there is no reason that a visible and prominent link can’t be made on the main page for city council resources.  “B”

Feedback: From the home page you mouse over “Services Request” and there are a list of services which you can request online including reporting an abandoned car, noise, construction permit, graffiti and the like.  What isn’t explained from this page is that you need to fill-out an online log-in account.  That would be useful.  “B-“

Richness of information: The City of Portland makes it very easy to find information about zoning and permits.  There is a clear link under “Business” for zoning and permits.  Once you click on that it takes you to the Bureau of Development Services which has done a really good job of laying out various types of permits and how to obtain them with a reassuring and sensible internal consistency.  “A-“

Transacting business:The City of Portland provides lots of business information under “start a Portland Business” but it places information about “new business” at the bottom of the page forcing you to scroll to get there.  The word “start” suggests “new” so resources relating to first time start up should be at the top of the page.  Also, you can’t fill-out forms online or submit them.  “C+”

Overall: This isn’t a bad website.  The materials regarding permits and zoning are quite good.  There appears to be lots of useful information but its not very interactive or easy to navigate.  For a city with such a progressive reputation I was expecting a website to reflect that and this one doesn’t. “B”

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