"One Forced Demolition Is One Too Many"

 The purpose of this website is to inform the public.  We encourage individuals to do their own due-diligence.


The City of Portland claims that only building owners care about a mandate that will cause:

  • Tenant Displacements

  • Increased Rent

  • Demolitions

  • Loss of Historical Buildings

These buildings are the cornerstones of Portland's Main Streets.  They make up the character of our neighborhoods. The loss of these historic place-makers will forever change the physical and cultural landscape of our city. 

There are 1,640 URM buildings identified.  These include commercial, multi-family, church, theaters, schools, and non-profit buildings. The city has also prioritized adding all soft-story and non-ductile concrete buildings if this passes. That will demolish more of Portland's old and historic buildings.

This mandate will trigger the need for buildings to be emptied an estimated 12 months. The proposed policy has no plan in place for displacement of residents and small businesses.

  • 1,800 of 7,000 residential units are public-financed affordable housing.

  • Thousands of small businesses

  • Displaced residents and businesses may face higher rents.

City Council - Budget Work Session

What if building owners cannot afford it?

The last known enforcement proposed:

  • Annual fines: $6K, 12K, 24K, 1% RMV (Step 1 - 4)

  • Placarding

  • Occupancy permit can be revoked

  • Demolition



The community is listening!

The only viable financing solution that has been proposed thus far is SB 311, which would give URM owners a 15 year partial abatement on their property taxes, but this would scarcely cover the cost.

Unless a better solution is found soon a sizeable chunk of old Portland will be gone 50 years from now – either by quake or by the wrecking ball.

To check out the full article by click here



seismic-image2.jpg

Top-heavy seismic retrofit program may crush small owners

by: Allan Classen, NW Examiner Editor & Publisher

The city’s seismic upgrade program is losing steam as it nears the finish line: a City Council hearing May 10 on proposed mandates on owners of unreinforced masonry buildings.

The URM Seismic Retrofit Project Policy Committee, a stakeholder advisory group administered by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, issued a “consensus” report last November, but now members of that body say there never was a universal acceptance of its recommendations.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE


My View: Unreinforced masonry - What price safety?

by: Stan Penkin, Portland Tribune, OpEd,
January 30, 2018

Mandating that owners retrofit their buildings at unaffordable costs without provisions for adequate and reliable sources of funding can only lead to forcible building sales, demolition of Portland's character and important structures, and the displacement of businesses and residents.

Discussions about mandating retrofits for 1,640 unreinforced masonry buildings in Portland raises concerns about the direction in which the proposed policy appears to be moving.

While we agree with an attempt to make our unreinforced masonry buildings safer, we cannot support the burden placed on private property owners and the businesses and residents that reside in those buildings.

Mandating that owners retrofit their buildings at unaffordable costs without provisions for adequate and reliable sources of funding can only lead to forcible building sales, demolition of Portland's character and important structures, and the displacement of businesses and residents.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE


 Pippa Arend loves her historic landmark apartment building on Northwest 23rd Avenue and wants to spend the rest of her life there. But if the city adopts proposed seismic upgrade requirements, she fears the building will have to be demolished.

Pippa Arend loves her historic landmark apartment building on Northwest 23rd Avenue and wants to spend the rest of her life there. But if the city adopts proposed seismic upgrade requirements, she fears the building will have to be demolished.

CRASH COURSE

by: Allan Classen, NW Examiner Editor & Publisher

Old brick buildings may not hold up to city’s seismic upgrade program

Portland’s 1,731 unreinforced masonry buildings may be coming down in the foreseeable future. The culprit probably won’t be the dreaded magnitude 9.0 earthquake but rather a seismic retrofit program designed to prepare for it.

No neighborhood has more of these old brick buildings than the Northwest District, and Old Town Chinatown is not far behind. Their 254 URM buildings give these areas much of their architectural character and charm. For now, at least.
Proposed mandates on building owners are expected to go to the City Council by the end of March.

Cost predictions for compliance range from substantial to staggering, and many close to the issue predict that owners will be driven to sell at discounted prices to developers, who will find it far more profitable to replace rather than save the buildings. “Building owners who rely on their buildings for their income and retirement are going to lose that livelihood,” said Steve Rose.
As CEO of Bristol Equities, a company at 2078 NW Everett St. that owns 37 apartment buildings, Rose doesn’t put himself in that category. But he has talked to many people who own a single building, the typical pattern among Portland’s URM properties, and their situations are bleak.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE


Fairness Demands that Mandatory Seismic Upgrades Be Tied to Financial Aid

by: Peggy Moretti

With proposed upgrade deadlines, will we see demolition of historic buildings on a massive scale?  

Many historic buildings across Oregon – schools, theaters, churches, apartments, and commercial storefronts up and down our Main Streets – were constructed of unreinforced masonry.  Known as URMs, they were built in an era when the threat of a major earthquake in the Northwest was unknown and the primary safety concern was fire. The vast majority have not been seismically upgraded.

Seismic retrofitting for URMs is mandated in earthquake-prone cities from San Francisco to Tokyo.  In Oregon, it is not – but that may change.  The Portland City Council will soon consider a recommendation from a Seismic Advisory Committee to enact a set of mandatory seismic upgrade standards and deadlines. The standards are tiered based on the use of the building, and the deadlines range from 10 to 20 years.  Other cities in the Cascadia Subduction Zone (roughly the western third of the state) may follow suit.  Seattle is also poised to mandate retrofitting.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE

Articles on the URM Mandate

"City stumbles over first step of seismic program"

The NW Examiner 
[Read more]


"Bricks, Mortars
and Memories
OpEd August 2018"

The South East Examiner 
[Read more]


"Compromise on seismic program turns sour after gavel falls"

The NW Examiner 
[Read more]


"Portland ponders seismic upgrade mandate; building-owners fear financial burden"

KPTV
[Read more]


"Councilors eye code change for portland buildings likely to collapse in big earthquake"

KATU
[Read more]


"Portland plans for unreinforced masonry earthquake threat"

KOIN
[Read more]


"Portland pushes to retrofit brick buildings for earthquakes"

KGW
[Read more]


"When the 'Big One' hits, Portland faces mass casualties, widespread destruction: Study"

Oregon Live 
[Read more]


"Top-heavy seismic retrofit program may crush small owners"

The NW Examiner 
[Read more]


"Steve Duin: The harder they fall"

Oregon Live 
[Read more]


"Earthquakes not as scary as affordability"

The Portland Tribune
[Read more]


"Seismic mandates built on ethically vacuous foundation"

The NW Examiner 
[Read more]


"Portland bureaus with all good intentions often become enamored of their own proposed mandates without considering the full impact or unintended consequences"

Portland Tribune
[Read more]


"The big one will certainly be very bad.  Our actions beforehand could be worse."

Livable Portland
[Read more]


"...Individuals owning historic buildings will be the least able to handle this requirement..."

The NW Examiner 
[Read more]


"Unless a better solution is found soon a sizeable chunk of old Portland will be gone 50 years from now – either by quake or by the wrecking ball."

The SE Examiner 
[Read more]


"This new city policy could cost you all your local merchants...AND your neighborhood!"

The Sellwood BEE Editorial today
[Read more]


"Fairness Demands that Mandatory Seismic Upgrades Be Tied to Financial Aid"

Restore Oregon
[Read more
]


"In rental buildings, costs may ultimately be borne partly or mostly by tenants in the form of higher rents."

Source:  July 2017 Policy Report (Page 29)


CITY-WIDE COST ESTIMATE:
$1.4 BILLION

$4.6 Billion According to Engineer [Source]