Council delays mandatory quake fixes for old buildings
Portland may become the first city in the Pacific Northwest to require all owners of old brick buildings to make earthquake safety upgrades. But being on the leading edge is not a comfortable place.
The City Council Wednesday night postponed an expected vote on mandatory retrofits. The same issue is sidetracked in Seattle as officials scrounge for financial incentives to sweeten a mandate.
Portland city planners identified more than 1,600 old brick or unreinforced concrete buildings that could crumble in an earthquake. Seattle is close behind with an estimated 1,150 vulnerable old buildings. You can find others in pretty much every historic city core from Bellingham, Washington, to Medford, Oregon.
These structures are mainly commercial buildings, apartments, churches and schools constructed before 1950 or so.
"I'm proud to say my buildings are occupied by happy residents and small businesses paying below-market rents," said Jim Atwood, who owns a portfolio of rental properties, mostly in Portland's Old Town.
OPB is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read their complete story here.