PORTLAND -- Portland's many buildings are simply not ready for a major earthquake, city's structural engineer told KGW.
A structural engineer in charge of monitoring the city’s buildings said due to their ages, any of the nearly 20,0000 non-residential buildings in Portland were made in such a way that they would most likely crumble in a sustained, violent earthquake.
About eight- to ten percent of them are similar to the the Multnomah County Courthouse - made of what's called unreinforced masonry, bricks and mortar with no steel to brace them.
The city's structural engineer told KGW those would be first to go in an especially long, powerful earthquake.
“The brick would probably just crumble,” said Amit Krumer, Senior Structural Engineer with the City of Portland. “And the building would collapse and the walls are not tied back to the roofs or the floors and so they will separate, causing the floors to fall.”
Among the masonry buildings, about ten percent are much like City Hall, reinforced with braces or shock absorbers to withstand violent shaking.
As for the taller buildings, most of them were designed to sway back and forth in a quake to let that energy dissipate.