• A new committee of 24 have been named - See below.

  • The new committee has to be approved by City Council.

  • Meetings (days, times, location) need to be announced.


  • 4 Building Owners (16%)

  • 2 Churches (8%)

  • 18 Non-Stakeholders.

  • Engineers, Architects, Contractors, Ex-City Employees, PBEM Board Member, Non-Profit and Community Representatives.


  • Ex-City Employees.

  • Private Contractors who have worked for the City.

  • Engineers, Architects, Contractors who stand to make millions.

  • PBEM Board Member - PBEM is in charge of the project.


  • City staff claims there was no recruiting.

  • This claim is untrue.

  • 6 Stakeholders < 18 Non-Stakeholders = Stacked Committee.


  • Email Mayor Wheeler and City Council.

  • Attend Committee meetings once scheduled.

  • Volunteer to take notes, record and meet between meetings.

  • We will be fact-checking and researching in real-time.


Full retrofits outweigh most building values. The risk of any mandate passing will put most of us underwater and complicate financing and sales.

A mandate will take your in-code building and put it out-of-code for the duration of the time until the building is retrofitted or demolished.


It's with great sadness, I need to let you know that Jim Wilson, who many of you met at our meetings, passed away on August 21st. He passed less than one month after receiving a devastating diagnosis of a late-stage brain tumor.

Jim loved Portland and many of you will remember him for his humor, candor and willingness to share his roof retrofit knowledge as well as his concern for building owners, tenants and the erasure of Portland's history.

Rest In Peace, Jim ~




Two Community Representatives:

  • Felicia Wells-Thomas (MESO)
    Business Development Consulting

  • Annette Stanhope (Historic Parkrose)
    Community Outreach Coordinator

One URM Condominium Owner:

  • Dave Beh
    HOA Board of Tudor Arms Condominiums
    Engineer - Volunteer on concrete seismic committee.

Two "Design" Representatives:

  • Shirley Chalupa
    Principle, DPI Engineers
    Past KPFF

  • Robert Jepsen
    Lease Crutcher Lewis
    Contractor / Project Manager

Two Finance Representatives:

  • Peter Angel
    URM Building Owner

  • Abe Farkas
    Former PDC Development Director (1998 - 2004)

One Historic Representative:

  • Maya Foty
    City of Portland Historic Landmarks Commission.

  • Architect, Principal - Architectural Resource Group - Seismic Work.

  • Contract with City - Union Station, Pittock Mansion, City Hall.

  • Key Speaker at URM Symposium this summer at PSU to promote retrofits.

Two Investor-Developer Representatives:

  • David Chown
    Portland Business Alliance
    Chown Hardware

  • Thomas Sjostrom
    Building Owners & Managers Association
    Was on last Policy Committee

Three URM Building Owners:

  • Pippa Arend - Small Residential Owner

  • Vikram Savara - Small Residential Owner

  • Bart Yanoch - Laurelthirst Co-Owner

One Tenant Advocate Representative:

  • Deborah Otenburg

  • PBEM Budget Advisory Committee - Bureau in charge of committee.
    Co-Director (NET) in 4 SE Neighborhoods.


One Community Representative:

  • Thomas A. Debpuur

Two "Design" Representatives:

  • Don Eggleston

  • Don Eggleston led the City of Portland’s Seismic Task Force (1995-1997) (2003-2006)

  • Participated in publishing new building safety codes in Portland and State of Oregon.

  • SERA Architects, Retired.

  • Jennifer Eggers

  • KPFF until 2019.

  • Principle, Holmes Structures.

  • Contract with City - Union Station and Pittock Mansion

  • Key Speaker at URM Symposium this summer at PSU to promote retrofits.

One Finance Representative:

  • Mark Stevenson
    CFO, Craft 3

One Historic Representative:

  • Andrew Smith

  • City of Portland Historic Landmarks Commissioner.

  • Associate Principal, Hennebery Eddy Architects

Two Non-Profit Multifamily Representatives:

  • Carolina Abdalah (Home Forward)
    Low Income Housing

  • Mary-Rain O’Meara (Central City Concern)
    Low Income Housing

Two Places of Worship Representatives:

  • Mark Jackson, Assistant Pastor
    (Oasis of Praise International Ministries)
    1821 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd.

  • Sue Levine, Church Member
    (St. James Lutheran Church)
    1315 SW Park

One Tenant Advocate Representative:

  • Nicolas Petersen


The City Attorney reports that the new committee and charter will be presented to City Council on the same dates as the ordinance repeal.


We take no pleasure in reporting the staggering conflicts of interest of the proposed committee and the recruiting tactics that City Staff used while denying that they recruited. We have documented proof.

While we expect our city officials and public servants to be fair and transparent, our city continues to disappoint.

Building owner attorney(s) discussed in a meeting held yesterday afternoon, the conflicts of interest of some committee members, their financial gain by passing the retrofit mandate agenda and what recourse building owners have.


With the Placard Lawsuit behind us, we're waiting for the City to repeal the ordinance and to respond to the legal fees that they owe the attorneys and all of you who contributed toward the suit.

The City is not happy to pay the legal fees. Hopefully they'll learn and start to listen to the owners and avoid another lawsuit. We will see.


The new committee remains:

  • Stacked with engineers and contractors.

  • Filled with past city employees, city contractors, a board member, many retrofit proponents and other city affiliates.

Owners are underrepresented:

  • 16% building owner representation.

  • 8% church representation.

The City refuses to:

  • Disclose the names of who chose the committee.

  • Disclose which committee members that were recruited.

The conflicts of interest by companies who've made money from city contracts, past employees, past and current board or advisory members is astounding.


We know there are fair and good people on the committee. There are also many with conflicts of interest. What is most apparent is the lack of building owners and churches.

The committee has to be approved by City Council. Email your concerns.



Below are meeting notes of City Staff planning the conditions for new committee members and the outcome of that committee:

These notes, along with other documents we've received through public records requests, suggest that City Staff has not acted in good faith.


The new committee was supposed to have a main goal of including fair representation of building owners and churches who had been disenfranchised from the first committee.


U.S. District Court
District of Oregon

Notice of Electronic Filing
The following transaction was entered on 4/3/2019 at 4:14 PM PDT and filed on 4/3/2019Case Name:Masonry Building Owners of Oregon et al v. Wheeler et alCase Number:3:18-cv-02194-ACFiler: Document Number:54  

Docket Text:
MINUTES of Proceedings for Telephone Status Conference before Judge Acosta: Hearing held on 4/3/2019. The court finds the City's letter and notices to URM building owners violates the court's temporary injunction (ECF No. [34]). Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the City shall prepare and send a correction letter, the content of which shall be consistent with the court's directive stated at the hearing, to all recipients of the March 21, 2019 letter, or other similar letters or communications to URM building owners. Counsel for the parties shall confer on the appropriate language for the correction letter, and submit it to the court for Judge Acosta's approval prior to its distribution. It is FURTHER ORDERED that counsel for the parties shall confer on the language of any future communications with URM building owners concerning the ordinance that is the subject of the Temporary Injunction (ECF No. [34]) or this action. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall confer on the need for and language of a script to be given to City employees receiving phone calls regarding the status of the Ordinance or compliance with said Ordinance. Additionally, the language of the correction letter shall serve as the basis for the approved script and shall be posted in the banner on the City's website concerning URM buildings.The court will hold the City in contempt for any future violations of the court's Temporary Injunction.Christopher J.K. Swift and Aaron K. Stuckey present as counsel for plaintiffs. Karen Locha Moynahan and Tony N. Garcia present as counsel for defendants. Court Reporter: Dennis Apodaca. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta presiding. (Attachments: # (1) Plaintiffs' Exhibits, (2) Defendants' Exhibit) (gw) 



  • The Placard Ordinance is mute.

  • The City cannot enforce placards.

  • The City cannot enforce tenant application disclosures.

  • The City cannot enforce signing a contract.


  • We keep fighting.

  • We prepare for our day in court.

  • If we win, we will be one step closer to a permanent injunction.

On Wednesday, Feb 27th, the Council made changes to the City’s URM rules. An ordinance, sponsored by Commissioner Hardesty, passed 3-1. This action extends the timeline for complying with the placarding requirement on all buildings (other than City-owned buildings) to November 1, 2020 and removes the requirement to record compliance with a deed encumbrance. It delays, but does not repeal the placarding requirement. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 8.37.35 PM.png

In a Federal Courtroom on Thursday, Feb 14th, a Federal Judge issued an injunction (June 1, 2019) against the City of Portland prohibiting the City from any communication or enforcement of the Placard Ordinance.

Update: Judge Acosta ruled on May 30, 2019 that the City of Portland cannot communicate or enforce any part of the placard ordinance.

We are awaiting the city’s response. If they appeal, we continue to fight.


The Placard Ordinance:

The proposed mandate was expected to be informed by the final policy draft. As it turns out, the city has defended its committees and their expertise, but are not following the unanimous recommendation to not negatively placard the buildings.

On June 13th, without notice, published documentation or even orally being read into the record, City Council unanimously passed a resolution to negatively placard buildings that are in full code compliance.

This, after committee members studied the negative the impacts of stigmatizing buildings, businesses, affordable housing, schools and houses of worship and the affects it will  have on obtaining financing, insurance and income needed to afford proposed retrofits.

These placards, if passed, will be permanent even if the building is retrofitted to the standard proposed in the retrofit mandate. Small businesses have not been notified and children will have to pass a warning sign when entering their school. Is this a stress we want to put on small businesses or our children?

The Proposed Mandate:

On June 13th, City Council voted to delay the vote and form two committees to further study the feasibility of the mandate through funding. These committees will be formed in early fall 2018. We’ll publish the link on our home page when the city posts it’s application link.

The two committees are divided into for profit and non profit buildings. The city lacks the clear view of nonprofits as many non profits do not own their buildings, but rather, rely on for profit building owners.
Save Portland Buildings supports one committee. No one group has a seat at the table unless there is one table. This is one of many divisive decisions made by the Mayor’s office that will undoubtedly leave one group behind.

What is the difference between for profit and nonprofit?

  • When considering the feasibility, financing, insurance and retrofit costs - NOTHING.

  • When considering the ability to finance up front costs - NOTHING.

  • When considering a tax-abatement that defunds schools - NOTHING.

  • When considering a tax-abatement that defunds social programs - NOTHING.

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.


Building owners and observers have been trying to answer that question. In a city full of small main street buildings that identify the diverse neighborhood centers, we continually scratch our heads trying to figure out why just these buildings and why now?

Why with 93% of the buildings being 1-3 story, small in stature and low-occupancy, would the city focus on these buildings when the City of Portland owns dozens of buildings, including these:

  • 30+ Apartment Buildings

  • Keller Auditorium

  • The Firehouse Theater

  • The Children’s Museum

  • Interstate Cultural Center

  • Pittock Mansion

  • Union Station

  • Picnic Shelters

  • Mt. Scott Community Center

  • Dishman Community Center

  • Multnomah Arts Center

With cranes on every corner and a construction boom, the timing of this mandate threat on main streets is interesting. Why not the over 100,000 homes that PBEM identified as needing retrofits? Why not the high rises built along the river and in the liquefaction zones? Why not the gas lines, fuel tanks, bridges and over passes? Why not the “other risky buildings” deleted form the final report to:

Purposely PUSH an agenda for a YES vote for just URMs? Why?

What about schools?

We fully support prioritizing Schools and Critical Buildings. Today, only 4% of Portland Public Schools are fully retrofitted.

On Nov. 8, 2017, a Portland Public Schools representative warned the City that mandating private buildings will work against goals to retrofit schools by making it more difficult and costly.

The State of Oregon voted against $337 million in retrofits for the State Capitol in order to prioritize Oregon's Schools.

In contrast, the City of Portland is proposing a tax abatement (SB-311) for private building owners. That abatement would take revenue from Portland Schools and the State School Fund at a time when school funds are depleted. We believe public funds should be prioritized to update and fund the schools.

 Ken Rust, Chief Financial Officer, Portland, Oregon email 11/9/17:
"If SB 311 is enacted, public schools would experience property tax revenue loss."




  • No “Scarlet Letter” (on individual buildings)

  • Fix the City list of URMs (city admits it is not accurate)

  • Educate the community on earthquake readiness (liquefaction zones, schools, gas lines and safety plans)

We, along with the groups below, oppose approval for placarding.

• MusicPortland
• Restore Oregon
• Architectural Heritage Center
• Portland Tenants United
• Oregon Chinese Benevolent Association