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The Writing is on the Wall: Unsafe Buildings Alert Program



Beginning December 1, 2009, you may notice bright orange signs with the letter “U” posted on some buildings.  The signs are intended to provide Portland firefighters with an extra measure of safety when responding to an emergency at one of these buildings.  Approximately 24 buildings around town will have these signs posted above their entrances to supplement information that firefighters already carry with them on the apparatus en route to a scene.

The designation indicates to firefighters that the building, or a portion thereof, has unsafe conditions.  This allows incident commanders to assess the structure when formulating an action plan and to reconsider standard firefighting tactics when operating on-scene at a structure identified as an unsafe building. 

These signs do not necessarily mean that a building cannot be entered or occupied.  For example, in an 8-story building floors 1 and 2 may be safe and legal for public occupancy while floors 3 through 8 must remain vacant due to structural issues identified by fire inspectors during routine building inspections.  If you have questions or concerns about unsafe buildings, contact the Public Information Team at (503) 823-3700.

December 16, 2009


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Fredrick Zal

September 30, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Thank you for keeping the Citizens of Portland and the City's Fire Fighters safe.

I look forward to the many lovely historic buildings that this has affected to be restored to a safe condition with either private funding, or private / public partnerships.

Fredrick H. Zal



June 13, 2011 at 6:14 PM

And I look forward to these buildings being restored through any finding mechanism including a larger tax burden on those with the ability and resources to pay.


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