20 PPS buildings need retrofitting to withstand quake

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At least 20 Portland Public Schools buildings need retrofitting to ensure they stay standing in the event of a major earthquake.

Benson High School is one of the spots that would crumble if a big quake were to hit the Pacific Northwest.

Dealing with the buildings, known as unreinforced masonry buildings, has been a big task for the district. In 2012, PPS helped pass a bond measure that would allow for seismic safety constructions at local schools.

Bond money helped Cleveland High School, but there’s still more work that needs to be done. Now the district is writing another bond measure for the November ballot.

“We need to update these buildings and it’s time for the seismic bond,” Portland Bureau of Emergency Management Director Carmen Merlo said. “We want to make sure that, in addition to remediation work — whether it’s radon or lead — that they keep in mind the seismic risks posed by these buildings as well.”

PPS released the following statement about retrofitting school buildings:

“PPS started seismically strengthening schools in as a result of the 1995 school construction bond. The 2012 bond included modernizing 3 historic high schools with Unreinforced Masonry (URM) and poor seismic expected performance ratings. The bond work completed to date includes incremental seismic strengthening and full retrofits at over 20 schools. Whether the city council implements its URM policy or not, our hope is that the seismic strengthening that has been ongoing as a result of the 2012 bond will continue by addressing the worst facility seismic conditions first.” – Rose Fiallo, Portland Public Schools Communication Manager

The following map shows which Portland schools need retrofitting:

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