1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
The Bureau of Development Services Structural Engineering Team is responsible for the implementation of the City and State Building Code regulations for the seismic evaluation and retrofitting of new and existing buildings as part of the building permit process. One subset of existing buildings are Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings. URM buildings exist throughout the City and were generally built before the 1960’s. These types of buildings were commonly constructed of brick with little to no steel reinforcement in the walls. In addition, URMs often had little or no structural attachment between the exterior walls and the roof and floor. Due to these factors and the age of these buildings, URM’s are more prone to sustain significant damage, which may include partial or total collapse, during seismic events and are subject to special seismic upgrade requirements within State and City Code.
There are over 1,700 of these structure throughout the city. In order to ensure the safety of resident before the next quake, the City of Portland is working on a mandatory policy to require owners to retrofit these buildings.
The Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Building database is a list containing information on buildings located in the City of Portland which are believed to be of unreinforced masonry construction.
Current requirements for seismic design requirements for existing buildings
A short video about the City's concerns about unreinforced masonry buildings.