Support Portland Musicians and Music Venues 

MusicPortland, in coordination with NAACP, Portland Tenants United, Save Portland Buildings, Restore Oregon, Architectural Heritage, the Council of Churches and others  has been working for more than a year to oppose the ill-conceived URM Placarding Law passed by City Council in October 2018.  While all of us support sensible and fair efforts to make our brick buildings and citizens safer, this law does not support that goal and, if left unchanged, will have a dire impact on our city and music culture.  The Ordinance was poorly crafted (in direct opposition to the City's own policy advisory group input), poorly communicated (thousands of impacted owners STILL, as of March 2019 have never received a single notice).  There are a number of testimonial discrepancies and procedural flaws in how the law was effected and now, a Federal judge has filed a restraining order against the program.  How many ways does a law have to be wrong to be repealed? 

Here is a (somewhat) short timeline:

  • In 2016, 1600+ buildings (all in full compliance of current codes) were added to the city’s URM list based on PSU student drive-by assessments, many have already been partially or completely upgraded to maximum seismic levels but were added (and remain) on the list regardless
  • For two years, this list was made public and Developers used it to pressure building owners to sell while the policy committee reviewed the situation
  • The city received less than 12% response from building owners, and less than 1% of notified tenants.
  • The policy committee presented a policy that addressed seismic risks of URMS, all buildings in the liquefaction zones of downtown and the Pearl and unreinforced concrete buildings, but city staff (not City Council as previously stated) removed the latter two 48 hours prior to the hearing because they would present a political “hassle”. 
  • The Level 1 seismic upgrades proposed by the Policy committee are expensive, but attainable and provide 80% of the safety enhancement to URMs
  • City Council ignored key elements of the policy committee’s advice, specifically “Do Not Placard” because they stigmatize the buildings and dis-intent the safety upgrades. Seattle has never required placards or any mandate. Evicted tenants due to seismic upgrades are excluded from relocation protections.
  • City Council dismissed financial impact of placarding requirement to the owners and business tenants as insignificant
  • The law passed on October 10, despite vocal opposition
  • On December 14, the City Attorney codified the worst case financial impact by sending a contract that all building owners are required to sign that renders every URM mortgage as “distressed”
  • Failure to sign the contract will allow the city to take the building through enforcement leading to by eminent domain
  • The contract places an encumbrance on the title, with the pending cost of upgrades often exceeding the value of the building.
  • Banks have legal authority to recall any “distressed" loan at will from the moment that the contract is signed
  • The contract legally commits every building owner to a Level 4 safety upgrade that is 3 levels above that suggested by the policy committee to improve seismic safety, increases the cost 4x, requires vacating all tenants and cuts off access to financing to fund the required work.
  • The only option remaining to owners is to sell to buyers who can pay cash and who plan to demolish the building - Developers.
  • There has still been no notice given to a large majority of the owners of this “taking” of their properties

Every music venue on the list is in clear and imminent danger of closure in the face of this law.  Here is the list of venues.  While some believe they are not at risk, the contract is required to sign and the placards will be applied on March 1 unless the building owner pays for complete structural assessment by a professional at an estimated cost of $15,000, out of pocket.

Bossanova Ballroom

Cork County Publi House
Dig A Pony
Dixie Tavern
Keller Auditorium
Kells Irish Pub
Kelly's Olympian
LaurelThirst Public House
Linton Community Center
Liquor Store
Los Prados Event Hall
Low Brow Lounge
Marathon Tavern
Moon and Sixpence
Norse Hall
Polaris Hall
Sound Roots
Sweet Home Bar and Grill
The Sandy Hut
The Ship
The Tube
The Waypost
The World Famous Kenton Club
Vino Veritas
White Eagle Saloon
Widmer Brothers Gasthaus Pub
Let your city officials know that you are paying attention and demand a better approach to support music and the character of our city. 


[email protected] - Did NOT vote for placarding (hooray!)
[email protected] - New and responsible for Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM)
[email protected] - Did NOT vote for placarding (hooray!)


Ted Wheeler: 503-823-4120

Nick Fish: 503-823-3589 - Thank him for not supporting the placarding approach
Amanda Fritz: 503-823-3008
Jo Ann Hardesty: 580-888-4568
Chloe Eudaly: 503-823-4682 -  Thank her for not supporting the placarding approach


Independent Together!!!!!!