June 2017 Land Use Minutes

CEIC Land Use, June 6, 2017

Present: Denise Ecker, Tim Holmes, Melissa Hayden, Peter Stark, Linda Nettekoven
Peter Fry, Julie Benner, Kevin Schneider, Jason Tand, Scott Kessler, Jonna Papaefthimiou, Brad Malsin, Bob Wentworth, Amit Kumar

Peter Fry talked about the Transportation and Parking Advisory (TPAC) Committee’s Open House in open house in the district. Over 45 showed up, including a surprising number of residents. A series of boards were on display asking the public questions about priorities in these areas. #1 issue was a clean and safe district in relationship to the homeless camping issues. There is support in our effort to clean up district. #2 was the desire for structured parking. There was also support for a bus loop and bicycle path improvements. During TPAC mtg tomorrow, TPAC will budget for 2017-18 with that info. $1.2 million in funds, $900K from current permit year and $300K from last year. Peter Fry mentioned the crime commission mtg homeless issue approach of tiny villages: ex. include Dignity village, oak grove, Kenton, r2d2

Jonna Papaefthimiou Planning & Preparedness Mgr at Portland Bureau of Emergency Services and Amit Kumar from Portland BDS presented on the Seismic Project for Unreinforced Masonry (URM)

They are predicting that due to the Pacific plate diving under North American quake, our region would have Magnitude 9 earthquake with 5mn of shaking, a 9 mag at the coast would feel like a 6-6.5 mag here. There are local earthquake faults too, and an epicenter being under City of PDX is a risk. FEMA has assessed that URMs perform the most poorly in earthquakes. The walls are brittle and heavy and the ceiling and roof are not bolted. Floors are light in comparison, and so as floors flex, walls crumble. Parapets break off and fall down on the outside. Most injuries happen when people run out, so there is a danger to the occupant AND surrounding bldgs. Another city with similar architecture and terrain is Christchurch, New Zealand, 1910-40 architecture and river goes through city. Liquefaction : soil types with high water table. Water forces way up through the soil, ruins building. Uneven and can fill floors with this cement like stuff. Underground pipes float up. They had a Mag 6.3 earthquake in 2011, 42 died. 70% from facades collapsing on them. Only 20% died inside building.

In 2013, City Council was directed to go through public process to develop standards give recommendations, based on building science and best practices. They started with committee of engineers for 1 year. They realize that there are different risks based on occupants and uses.

Voluntary requirements have been in place since 1994. Only 15% of URM did seismic upgrades. They are proposing mandatory seismic upgrades, and giving the URM’s 5 classes: 1 category shelters (will require full upgrade)
2 high occupancy, public assembly
3/4 apt buildings 2-4 stories life safety standard. People can exit safely.
5 low occupancy (bracing parapets, tying to roof). Different seismic standard.
What will be mandatory is still being discussed.

Standards: the building should last through whatever ground motion comes, absorb energy of earthquake

They have set up different committees to look at this project: tech standard committee – Financial Support Committee (incentives to owners, case studies from other communities) – Policy Committee

Timeframe for execution of upgrades- Most buildings fall into the categories 3/4/5 and would follow this timeline. 1st step evaluate bldg ASC checklist (3-5 yr ); 2nd brace parapets, attach walls, floor and roof (yr 10) ; 3rd (yr 20) rest of attachment to floor and brace
(yr 25 years) other upgrades. Flexibility to grant extra five years. This timeframe may be changing too. Policy comm will be making recommendations for BDS and Bureau of Emergency Mgmt. There will be a public meeting of the policy meeting on June 16th for policy recommendations, and there may be a final proposal to present to City Council as early as September of this year. July 25th public presentation to Planning & Sustainability Commission, and a member of the Historic Commission is on one of their committees. The only public hearing will be in front of City Council

FEMA study (20 yo) plus cost inflation and case studies of recent upgrades.
estimating that these would be the costs for upgrades: parapet/bracing $20 sq ft minimal, bolt plus $38 sq ft- total costs $67 sq ft (includes soft costs of moving, etc), class 2 bldgs $81 sq ft total costs. 80% URM buildings in Portland are class 3 and 4 class

Peter Stark used the example of the seismic upgrade of River East. 40,000 sq ft bldg, class 3, cost $2.6 million per floor.

Suite of recommendations for subsidies: There is no appetite for bond and legal restrictions around that. They do like the historical tax credit option, and they want to bring forward eventually. Property tax exemption for URM retrofitting: up to 15 year property tax exempt on property taxes on the building (not the land) for costs of URM retrofit. Simplify the permit process for retrofitting, have an ombudsman simplify path through BDS and Prosper Portland. They are considering the idea of Transferral Development Rights, allowing all URMs with excess FAR on property to sell development rights on extra property

Peter Fry passed out a memo, an approach to deal with the situation. He outlined an approach to create a safe place within building and safe place in public areas. Rather than making bldg protected, create safe spots in case of earthquake that fire bureau and emergency responders would know about. In some cases, cross bracing ruins whole character of bldg. Other issue, some districts don’t have strong enough rents to do these kinds of upgrades. Amit Kumar responded that safe havens have been studied. FEMA studies show there is no sense to have them when, in the case of an earthquake, there is no warning.

IG1 zoned buildings are a problem with this regulation, as the owners can’t charge commercial rent. This affects the Central Eastside.

Unreinforced Masonry Building List and Class https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/70766

Submitted by Kate Merrill
CEIC Community Engagement Director