Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info


When an alteration for which a building permit is required has a value (not including costs of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, permanent equipment, painting, fire extinguishing systems, site improvements, eco-roofs and finish works) of more than $219,694 (adjusted annually) a seismic evaluation is required.

Unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs) have some unique requirements under the city's seismic ordinance. Seismic triggers for URMS consider the work done to the building over time, and not just the current proposed work. Repair or replacement of more than 50% of the roof area over a five year period may result in the requirement to improve the structural roof system, roof anchorage, and parapets. Another seismic trigger for URMs is based on the combined market value of repair and alterations done to the building as a whole over any two year period. That means that the city will look at the value of your proposed work and add it to the value of other work done on the building in the past two years.

When the combined value of that work is over 40 dollars per square foot for a single story building, or $30 per square foot for a multistory building, the entire building must be seismically upgraded. The value of required accessibility improvements, required elevator improvements and improvements to nonconforming development on the site can be subtracted from the total for the purposes of that determining that combined value.

For more information on the seismic triggers and/or requirements speak to one of the Structural Reviewers at (503) 823-1302