Panel moving forward with demolition regulations
A Monday meeting to discuss efforts to limit dangerous dust from Portland demolition sites offered plenty of congeniality but lots of unanswered questions.
The Bureau of Development Services Demolition Subcommittee is seeking more definitive language for City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly's proposal to reduce public exposure to lead paint by revamping housing demolition regulations.
The Oct. 11 meeting brought together builders and government experts with decades of experience and broad agreement that something needs to be done, including the designation of a "dust control manager" at each demolition site. But key questions remained unresolved, including:
• Whether all lead-based paint, including interior walls, should be manually removed prior to demolishing what's left.
• Or, whether removal of exterior siding and trim is sufficient.
• What training is needed for dust-control managers.
• What constitutes an appropriate lead test.
• Which neighbors need to be notified of an impending demolition.
Then there's the issue of enforcement. The proposed language drafted by BDS code and policy analyst Nancy Thorington calls for a "pre-demolition site assessment" to check out the Dust Control Plan, a day-of-demolition inspection, plus a post-demolition inspection.
Justin Wood, co-owner of Fish Construction NW, said that making a building permit contingent on adherence to demolition rules would go a long way towards effective enforcement.
Thorington plans to reconvene the subcommittee in a few weeks and then present the revised proposal to the full Development Review Advisory Committee.
Despite the uncertainties, Eudaly's chief of staff Marshall Runkel is still pushing for a City Council vote before the end of the year.