Portland considers ways to ease financial burden of seismic upgrades on businesses

The city of Portland wants businesses to make their buildings earthquake safe, but the improvements aren't cheap. KATU photo

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland City Council is hoping to make buildings in the city safer for when the Cascadia Earthquake hits.

The city says there are 1,600 buildings that would crumble if the earthquake were to hit today.

The city’s bureau of emergency management has been studying the issue for the past three and a half years.

Through a report, it has recommended ways to help businesses reinforce their buildings.

But, it could cost some businesses millions of dollars.

“We’re looking at a tax exemption. We’re looking at a revolving loan fund and there are a few other options that may help some building owners, but there isn’t any one solution that helps everyone,” said Dan Douthit, public information officer for Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.

Mayor Ted Wheeler also suggests extending the timeline for businesses to make the changes.

Wednesday, the city council will weigh in on what they think about the report.

Some business owners aren’t happy and plan to share their opinions with the council.

It will be at least another year until city code is adopted and businesses must make the changes.

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