Earthquake warning sign fight resumes Tuesday
The legal fight over Portland's unreinforced masonry building earthquake warning signs is scheduled to resume Tuesday, May 14.
The City Council has delayed its requirement that URM owners post signs warning their building are unsafe in earthquakes until 2020. But some owners are still asking the Oregon U.S. District Court to rule the requirement unconstitutional.
A hearing on the preliminary injunction request is scheduled for May 14 and 15 before U.S. District Magistrate Judge John Acosta. Lawyers for the building owners have deposed former Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who was the most vocal advocate for the requirement on the council. They are quoting him as saying the requirement was intended to pressure the owners to either pay for expensive earthquake retrofits or redevelop their buildings.
The Council "possessed the legal authority but lacked the political will to address retrofitting of URM buildings directly. As a consequence, the Council turned to the placarding Ordinance, which employs compelled speech in an attempt to do
indirectly what the Council was unwilling to do directly," building owner lawyers wrote in their most recent filing.
The City Attorney's Office argues the requirement is legal and warranted by the known risk that URM building will fail in earthquakes.
You can read the most recent filing here.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story here.