Yes, shoving one's head in the sand is the ideal solution to the problems that science and physical reality present. Way to fucking go; you could be republicans.


"Because who is going to go into a building if there’s a plaque on it that says, ‘Oh, by the way this is going to fall down if there’s an earthquake'?"

This reasoning is so fucking ridiculous. It is literally equivalent to "ignorance is bliss."

The building will still fall down regardless of the plaque.

What you're against then is letting people make informed decisions.


While I respect the track record of the NAACP, the local chapter is on the wrong side of this one. In effect, they are arguing that they should be allowed to keep the inherent dangers of the URM buildings a secret from their parishioners, tenants, workers, and visitors. These kinds of buildings are in a category of their own in terms of risk. Everyone deserves to know where they are, more so those who frequent these venues.


This placard nonsense is not about saving lives as the earth shakes, rattles and rolls, it's designed to squelch loans to building owners operating on the margins right now who want provide the very upgrades the city claims all these buildings need. Once the blacks and the music friendly owners are run out of town, then the latte-sipping developers who now have our city government in their pockets and who are ruining pretty much anything still cool about "Portlandia" can swoop in and take over those properties. And here's the saddest joke of all -- it's not like all these upgrades are worth it anyway. Few people die from falling building debris in earthquakes, it's the AFTERMATH that gets people -- the downed power lines, the fires, the contaminated water. If we have an earthquake, there will be so much destruction, even of "safe" areas that it won't matter if one building is upgraded and another is not -- people living in "safe" high-rises are going to deal with lots of suffering anyway. This is nothing more than a naked land grab, and if you don't believe me, I have a seismically upgraded bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in purchasing.


And as for the laughable "informed consent" argument, if you actually think you're going to survive an earthquake because 5 seconds beforehand you read a sign which will be on more than 1,000 buildings in our city you're the one in denial far more so than anyone who poo poohs climate change. Here's a hint IF YOU LIVE IN PORTLAND YOU LIVE IN AN EARTHQUAKE ZONE AND YOU MAY DIE. BUT THEN YOU MIGHT NOT. SO DO OR DON'T GO INSIDE OR OUTSIDE.


Yeeeahhh nah. This is some climate denier/anti vaxxer level bullshit.

I DGAF what a politican says about this. I do GAF what engineers say about this.

If there is a problem affording the neccesary work, the progressive position should be to make govt subsidize the work.

Unless the intention is for the partitioners to meet god sooner than later.


I'm from Christchurch, New Zealand, where there used to be many unreinforced masonry buildings...until the 2011 earthquake brought them down. To 'The Wizard' above who said "Few people die from falling building debris in earthquakes" - that is not true for these buildings. Just down the road from me, a guy was sitting in his car reading the paper outside a store when the quake hit. The entire front wall of the brick building fell on his car, killing him. Most of these buildings were reduced to a pile of bricks.

Listen: People in these buildings will die, unless they are strengthened. Avoiding the issue is the worst thing to do. The more people are informed, the more quickly this issue will be addressed. If it's an equity issue, then there need to be tax incentives, subsidies, or whatever it takes to collectively make people safe.


Here's the point that the article misses: No one is saying that buildings shouldn't be safe. They should all be retrofitted—that is a major concern. But this ordinance will effectively prevent tenants from getting the necessary funding to do the retrofits and will ultimately lead to the buildings being sold to cash buyers who must demolish the buildings—aka the developers who are already taking over town. The 1,600 buildings on this list are currently in full compliance of code but were added to the list based on PSU student drive-by assessments. That's right: driving by in a car!

In the end, the city would loose approximately one-third of its music venues, which would be a huge blow to many individuals (musicians, industry folks, sound engineers, fans, etc.) in this city as well as our culture. And the even greater potential impact here is on communities of color and low-wage earners in Portland, who have been historically and systematically displaced. Enforcement is what's broken, not the final outcome. We all want the final outcome but in a manageable, equitable way that supports small businesses and citizens—not in a way that jeopardizes their existence.


Simpy1: I did say people die in earthquakes, but much of the misery we associate with them happens AFTER the quake, particularly fires. I'm all for retrofitting all these buildings -- but Portland right now is being assaulted by developers who are literally destroying the city's nightlife, and this is the latest example of how they, and not the people who actually make this an interesting place to live, are being served by city government. I also think it's nonsense to think you can build a city in an earthquake zone and not eventually suffer some loss of life in an earthquake. People die from lots of things -- I'm not saying be reckless, let's retrofit these buildings in a responsible manner that doesn't destroy the music and arts communities, loses people jobs and also negatively impacts the African American community. What all the posters arguing don't realize is the world is run by rich people who simply don't care about culture and marginalized people, and this is just yet another example of how they go about their business. It's just another example of how naive so many people are in Portland -- if you had had to deal with crooks and shady in the real estate and political fields, as I have, you can spot a land grab from a mile away, and that is all this is, an attempt to grab prime real estate all over Portland by people who, I guarantee, will abandon this city the moment things go south, say, for example, after an earthquake happens ...


"Because who is going to go into a building if there’s a plaque on it that says, ‘Oh, by the way this is going to fall down if there’s an earthquake'?"

That's kind of the fucking point, Jo Ann. Same reason people won't go to a restaurant with an F grade from the health inspector pasted in their window.

Fact of the matter is, this is an extremely generous timeline for these retrofits to be made, and there is financial assistance available in the form of tax credits and property tax exemptions. Tack on some additional subsidy, but as people always claim about landlords who can't afford to do massive repairs without raising the rents, "maybe you should get out of the business if you can't afford it"... What's good for the goose, as they say...


@Flavio -- You're seriously comparing the health dept. warning people about an unsanitary restaurant to a mandate no voting group ever called for that will detrimentally affect 1,300 buildings, many of them historic, that MIGHT collapse in an earthquake no one actually can say will happen precisely when? No upgrades can completely protect any building and even if they all survive, we're not even talking about all the major infrastructure problems that would attend an earthquake and that would make living even in "safe" building impossible for months, possibly even years, after a major disaster. This is a poorly disguised attempt to drive the working class out of Portland, and what's sad is it will work because of the shallow reasoning employed by you and many other posters on this thread.




This is, flat out, overreach. First off, if an earthquake of the magnitude that hits Christchurch ever comes, it's going to create more damage than placards can alleviate. You may as well post them at the state's borders. Secondly, when a government agency issues a mandate but does nothing to help current homeowners meet that mandate -- as local governments did in the wake of Superstorm Sandy back east, for example -- it, itself, is walking citizens to the gallows. And as for the "make an informed decision" crowd in this comments field, go fuck yourselves. This is the same bullshit that you heard thrown around about the Lower Ninth in New Orleans and that you year about Puerto Rico to this day. You blame a population that not only made an educated decision without your fucking babysitter placards, but that had the same government that imposes these mandates abandon their responsibilities to that population. The Army Corps of Engineers failed the Lower Ninth, not their decision-making abilities. Bureaucracy failed the New York Metro area during Sandy, not people who bought retirement homes.

If you're in the Crystal or the Hawthorne or any other unreinforced masonry building during a hurricane, you're still in a better position for survival than, say, those who were at the Station Nightclub, the Bataclan, or anyplace else where mandated failsafes failed. Portland's racism comes into full view in this discussion, and that NZ sob story about possible outcomes doesn't assuage the very real effects on homeowners and venue owners already being pushed out by overzealous developers.


And No. 3, turning a deaf ear to the NAACP, fuck you, too. Why am I not surprised that a fair-weather ally has the handle Moonbeam?


The Wizard - you can go be in whatever old building you want. If you've ever seen footage of the aftermath of an earthquake on unreinforced buildings that collapse, it's horrific. You're playing politics with people's lives and safety. Want to protect the building owners? That's fine, let's subsidize the reinforcements, not bury our heads in the sand because the idea of some people having to sell valuable property and cash out for a bunch of money makes you sad.


@FlavioSuave -- Okay, if we're "playing politics with people's lives and safety," why not post signs everywhere warning of various dangers? "If you enter this MAX train, you may die." "If you enter this mall, you may die." Etc. and so on. The placards are not intended to help the population, they're used to stigmatize the buildings so rich developers can buy them and keep the city government in its pockets. That's it. You can spin it all the ways you want, but if you were truly serious about saving people's lives in earthquakes, you'd support banning all construction in earthquake prone areas. And you know and I know that's not going to happen. Life is risky -- we who live on the West Coast all know we could die in an earthquake, just as people in Florida know they can die in hurricanes and people who live near volcanoes can get destroyed in an eruption. Good grief, do you seriously think one person will be saved by these placards, or that the 1,000 plus buildings they affect are all going to get seismically upgraded in time for the Big One?

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