City council considers unreinforced masonry mandate



City council considers unreinforced masonry mandate

On May 10, Portland City Council considered a resolution directing staff to develop a mandatory retrofit program for unreinforced masonry buildings. Numerous amendments were made to the underlying resolution, including a proposal by Mayor Wheeler to extend the timeline for compliance from 15 to 20 years and to remove the requirement for floor-to-wall attachments for certain classes of buildings that pose less of a life safety risk due to lower building height or less occupancy. Commissioner Fish proposed eliminating the retrofit mandate for buildings not considered critical community gathering places. The Alliance has long been engaged on this issue, recently sending a letter urging council to balance safety with the financial burden of retrofits on private property owners, particularly smaller property owners in neighborhood districts. The resolution also directs staff to develop financial incentives and includes a requirement to placard buildings not in compliance, which the Alliance is on record as opposing. City council did not reach a consensus and will take up the issue again in June.