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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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Meet Director Esau

Interim Director Rebecca Esau

Rebecca Esau was appointed Director of the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), effective October 25, 2017. Ms. Esau has exceptional leadership and problem-solving skills, and a long history of managing within a complex regulatory environment experiencing organizational, political, and economic change. She has 16 years of management experience with the City of Portland, 14 as the division manager of the Land Use Services Division of BDS. 

As manager of the Land Use Services Division, she was responsible for the administration of the City’s zoning code as it applies to development proposals. Her leadership style is collaborative, inclusive, innovative, and resourceful. Despite the conflicts often inherent in development review and land use, Ms. Esau has successfully maintained positive and effective working relationships with stakeholders on all sides, including neighborhood representatives, the development community, and other City bureaus. She has developed a reputation for listening, fairness, practicality, and finding solutions. 

Ms. Esau served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in their Urban Planning Program in Nepal from 1990 to 1993. She worked as a planner for a local city government in a city located west of Kathmandu. She also led a project with a local non-profit community organization, securing a grant and establishing a public library, which is still in operation.  

Ms. Esau holds a BS degree in Landscape Architecture from California Polytechnic State University. She is originally from California, but has lived in Oregon since returning from Nepal, and Portland is her home. She has two step-children with her husband Tom, and enjoys traveling, gardening, photography, and watching Portland Timbers and Thorns soccer games. She has dedicated her career to serving the public, addressing inequity, and helping the community collectively shape their living environment.