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 have 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.
Questions? Contact 503-823-7300 or BDS.URMBuildings@portlandoregon.gov.
Per Ordinance 189747 passed by City Council on October 23, 2019, Placarding and Tenant Notification Requirements for unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings have been repealed. All documentation of compliance and its associated timeline (Ordinances 189201, 189309, 189399, and 189479) are repealed, and Code Chapter 24.85 has been amended to reflect the repeal.
The City of Portland has chartered a stakeholder work group to make recommendations for a voluntary seismic retrofit program. Click on the link above for more information.
The City of Portland’s Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Building List contains information on buildings located in the City which are known or presumed to be of unreinforced masonry construction.
Current requirements for seismic design requirements for existing buildings