Thursday, January 17, 2019

City of Portland Plans Enormous Fines for URM Placard Violations

In response to an inquiry by unreinforced masonry owners, the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services said it would use building code enforcement against owners who fail to place an encumbrance on their titles and deeds or hang a sign. According to Angie Even of Save Portland Buildings, that equates to $12,860 per month for a 20-unit apartment building.

In December, Save Portland Buildings filed a lawsuit in federal court for a preliminary injunction against the city, in hopes of holding off the current enforcement deadline of March 1, 2019. Depositions in that lawsuit are being scheduled, and the plan is to have a preliminary injunction in place before March 1st.

The City's response to a request for enforcement information by Save Portland Buildings contained the following details:

BDS plans to post “Admin. Rules” clarifying the enforcement portion of the ordinance. It indicated these rules were still in the process of being developed and would hopefully be ready by the end of January. Tentatively these rules were explained as follows:

  • If placards are not posted and the agreement form not recorded within 30 days after they were due, a reminder letter will be sent out, and the Fire Marshall’s office will be informed.
  • The Fire inspector will put these non-compliant buildings on their list for inspections.
  • When the Fire inspector inspects these buildings and the placards and tenant notification is not complete, they will inform the owners of the requirements and ask that they comply. The owner has 40 days after that to comply or the Fire inspectors will charge a re-inspection fee and then turn the case over to BDS compliance section.
  • BDS compliance will then send out another violation letter detailing the fines and process for compliance. The city's compliance division would work with property owners to comply.

Code Enforcement Fees
  • 1-2 Units $257 per month, per unit
  • 3-10 Units $386 per month, per unit
  • 11-19 Units $515 per month, per unit
  • 20 or more Units $643 per month, per unit
  • Properties With Only Non-Residential Use $643 per month
  • Properties in violation for 3 months Twice the amount stated above.
  • Enforcement Re-inspection Fee $159
Owners may obtain additional information on this issue and the lawsuit by visiting or emailing

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