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Portland to pay $350K linked to earthquake warning sign lawsuit

The policy, since repealed, that prompted the lawsuit mandated warning signs on brittle brick buildings saying they are seismically unsafe.
Credit: Lindsay Nadrich, KGW
The Portland City Council votes on amendments to a policy increasing renter protections on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland has agreed to pay $350,000 in attorneys’ fees related to a now-repealed policy that mandated warning signs on brittle brick buildings saying they are seismically unsafe.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Portland City Council voted 4-0 Wednesday to pay the fees for a nonprofit coalition of brick building owners who sued.

They argued that being required to post placards on their front doors violated their First and 14th Amendment Rights because they were forced to promote the city's message and were denied opportunities to appeal.

The council voted in October to end the warning sign rule. That reversal was spurred by a federal judge who ordered the policy be put on hold to prevent possible constitutional rights violations.

The policy affected more than 1,600 buildings in the city that were deemed likely to partially or fully collapse in a big earthquake. The buildings on average are 90 years old.

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