The city's proposed retrofit mandate has NO plan.

Save Portland Buildings is a grassroots, volunteer group made up of individuals and families. We’re asking city leaders to both listen and work with community housing and business owners, commercial and residential tenants and citizens for equitable, feasible and tenant-focused solutions.

Specifically, the concern is that an unfunded and infeasible retrofit mandate without a plan or funding that will result in fire sales, demolitions of homes, main streets with vast displacements and loss of affordable rent.

These buildings, affectionately called “Brickers,” are in full code compliance. They’ve lined our city’s historic main streets for decades. Their owners act as stewards to the city and have lovingly maintained them, often for generations, caring for neighbors with historically lower rents and preserving the character of our neighborhoods.

Brickers are part of what make our city unique and desirable. This unfunded and regressive mandate targets our favorite “Mom and Pop” restaurants and shops, nonprofits, music venues, churches, arts studio spaces, and iconic apartment buildings

The targeted 1,640 buildings are overwhelmingly small in stature (over 93% are 1-3 stories), are primarily locally owned by individuals and families and not large corporate investors and developers.  A mandate will only hurt the small “Mom and Pop” owners, It will also help those who are financially poised to thrive on forced sales of our city’s historic buildings and the resulting demolitions. This gross transfer of wealth is not the “Portland Way” and we demand Portland to do better.

Main Street Buildings - Apartments - Churches - Schools - Non-Profits

  • 7,000 Residential Units (1,800 City Funded Low-Income)

  • 1,415 Commercial Main Street Buildings (1,000's of Small Businesses)

  • 43 Portland Public Schools

  • 38 Churches

The Mandate History

In 2016, the City of Portland published a list of what they determined were URM’s (unreinforced masonry buildings) by using google maps, past permits, and “drive by” inspections by PSU students. By the City’s own admission, the resulting list is highly inaccurate.

Three committees over nearly 4 years were formed by ex-commissioner, Steve Novick and composed of city staff, engineers, architects, developers, large building owner organizations, Portland Public Schools and one church representative.

Missing from this process were small individual and “Mom and Pop” building owners, owner-operator businesses, small business tenants, residential tenants, churches, artist studio tenants, music venues,condo owners and owners and tenants of color. The disenfranchised have had NO voice.



With ZERO transparency, no notice, no amendments published, no handouts, no oral reading, a two hour delayed time-certain city council meeting that was advertised with NO testimony allowed, the city plans to ram through an ordinance to placard buildings without any process, notification to thousands of businesses and credible verification of the city's list. Placards, if passed cannot be removed if a building complies with proposed retrofit requirement. We find this outrageous.



With ZERO verified or guaranteed funding, financing or tax credits, the city plans to pass a mandate on small building owners throughout the city, while blatantly practicing in favoritism by special deals, cut-outs and exemptions for:

  • City owned buildings

  • Large residential buildings

  • Non-Profits

  • Churches

The city also shows favoritism in that Prosper Portland has earmarked $5 million for Old Town/China Town. This favoritism and inequity picks "winners and losers" based on geography.


Council voted to form two work groups to further study the mandate for mom and pop building owners and non-profits, including churches. Mom and Pop building owners are currently the only group fast tracked to retrofit, regardless of ability to finance or without regard to the feasibility of the costs.

An application process will be set up by the city. We will provide that link when it is available.

THE LIST - Click Here:    


Thank you to all who testified at the June 13th Council Meeting and gave compelling testimonies.

We are proud to stand together in this fight to preserve the very heart of our communities, our churches of worship, our meeting places, our community centers, our start-ups, our music venues, our restaurants/pubs and our “Main Streets.” This is an assault on the very soul of Portland.
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