Date Set for New URM Placarding and Tenant Notification DiscussionSep 25 2018 · 0 comments · NISHKIAN DEAN, Seismic ·0
Our Nishkian Dean team has been following the efforts of the URM Building Policy Committee and Portland City Council to develop a mandatory seismic retrofit policy for unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings. This post is intended as an update to these previous posts, and to cover recent news.
We recently reported on a few outcomes from the Portland City Council meeting on June 13, 2018: a new proposal for the placement of warning placards on URM buildings, and one to require landlords (URM building owners) to notify their tenants that they reside in a URM structure. Read more here: https://www.nishkian.com/portlands-urm-seismic-retrofit-requirements-on-hold-for-now/
The resolution that passed at the June 13th Portland City Council meeting states that, starting in March 1, 2019, URM buildings that have not been retrofitted must post placards that “state clearly in a conspicuous place at the entrance of the building printed in not less than 30-point bold type: ‘This is an unreinforced masonry building. Unreinforced masonry buildings may be unsafe in the event of a major earthquake.’” 
Since that meeting, the Portland Bureau of Development Services has been working to write an official ordinance that would require signs and tenant notifications for URM buildings, among other items.
Placarding and Tenant Notification Requirements
In summary, the ordinance requires a placard on all URM buildings that have not been retrofitted to prevent collapse in the event of a “major earthquake.” The durable placard needs to be sized 8”x10” with lettering in a 50-point bold font, placed in a conspicuous location on the exterior at the main entrance with the following message in capital letters: “This Building is an Unreinforced Masonry Building. Unreinforced Masonry Buildings may be unsafe in an event of a Major Earthquake.” 
Additionally, the ordinance requires that URM building owners directly notify tenants/renters through rental agreements that their building is an unreinforced masonry building, which may be unsafe in an event of a major earthquake. 
From the City of Portland website, the ordinance requires URM owners to post a placard according to the following timeline:
• Publicly-owned buildings: On or before May 1, 2019
• Non-profit buildings: On or before November 1, 2020
• All other buildings: On or before November 1, 2019 
Strengthening Existing Seismic Triggers for URM Buildings in Title 24.85
Another part of the ordinance is that URM building owners are required to strengthen existing seismic triggers for their buildings. This may include:
1. Roof replacement. (Removal of greater than 50% of total roof area within a 15-year period requires wall anchorage for both in plane and out of plane forces and parapet bracing.) 
2. Costs of alterations or repair. (When costs associated with building alterations or repair in a five-year time period or fifteen-year time period exceeds the square-foot costs outlined in the ordinance, entire building must be improved to resist seismic forces to meet ASCE 31 41 criteria.) 
Nishkian Dean will continue to monitor the development of this important issue that affects many of our clients. Please contact us if you have questions on how these policies may affect your projects.
1. Proposed URM Placarding and Tenant Notification Ordinance:
2. Portland City Council Resolution No. 37364: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/689174