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Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Readiness. Response. Recovery.

Phone: 503-823-4375

Fax: 503-823-3903

TDD: 503-823-3947

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Portland releases new data on unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs) vulnerable during an earthquake

Press release issued May 26, 2016.

URM mapThe City of Portland recently released a map and database showing the locations of around 1,800 unreinforced masonry buildings – or URMs – vulnerable from shaking during an earthquake if not structurally retrofitted ( URMs are buildings generally constructed before the 1960s using brick with little to no steel reinforcement in the walls. The new building data was collected as part of the Portland URM Seismic Retrofit Project, a collaborative effort sponsored by Commissioner Steve Novick between the Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS), Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM), Portland Development Commission (PDC), and community members, to reduce the risk posed by URMs to the city.

The URM map and database are now available online for building owners, business owners, and residents to find out where URMs are located, and learn basic information about the structures – Since the last time Portland collected URM data in the 1990s, only 13 percent of the approximately 1,800 URM buildings have been fully or partially upgraded with another 8 percent demolished.

The URM Seismic Retrofit Project is currently working on a mandatory URM retrofit policy – along with incentives for building owners – for City Council to consider later this year. Other cities on the West Coast, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, already have similar policies in place. The public will be able to comment on the proposed policy later this year. Information on the project can be found at

Questions about URMs? Please email or call the Bureau of Development Services Main Reception Desk at 503-823-7300.

Portland to train 300 Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) volunteers starting May 14th

Spots are still available in the class. Sign up today to register for the free training.

NET trainingDo you know how to help your family, friends, and neighbors when an earthquake or other disaster strikes? The City of Portland is offering a free, four-part training starting May 14th to residents interested in becoming Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) volunteers. NETs are Portland residents trained by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance.

The training will show NETs how to:

  • Prepare to be self-sufficient during any emergency.

  • Provide emergency assistance to their family and immediate neighbors.

  • Work within an emergency response team to save lives and property.

  • Guide untrained volunteers who want to help others during a disaster.

The training includes a final field exercise led by Portland firefighters to provide students with a hands-on experience to use fire extinguishers and apply newly-acquired search and rescue and medical triage skills.

To sign up, visit Although the training is free, there are several steps you must complete to register.

For more info, visit or contact NET Coordinator Jeremy Van Keuren at

Upcoming Trainings:

In the classroom: (must attend all three dates)

  • May 14th and May 21st – Madison High School (2735 NE 82nd Ave)
  • June 4th – Portland Fire & Rescue Training (4800 NE 122nd Ave)

Final field exercise: (choose one date)

  • June 5th, June 11th or June 12th – Portland Fire & Rescue Training (4800 NE 122nd Ave)