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Proposed City Rules Could Change Demolition Of Old Portland Homes


Demolition of some older homes in Portland, Oregon, could change under a proposed ordinance being circulated by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. 

Demolition of some older homes in Portland, Oregon, could change under a proposed ordinance being circulated by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. 

Pamplin Media Group

Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is considering sweeping new regulations on demolitions of old Portland homes to curb clouds of lead dust that fly onto tens of thousands of residential lots each year.

Eudaly’s draft ordinance, which surfaced early this week and could go to the council later this year, is still being finalized. Her chief of staff, Marshall Runkel, and two top officials with the Portland Bureau of Development Services told the Portland Tribune that the proposal needs a full public airing. Portland’s builders and developers have yet to weigh in on a measure likely to increase their costs.

The proposed ordinance could dramatically change the way demolitions are done in Portland, where it’s common for contractors to use excavators to whack a house to bits, sending clouds of dust laden with lead flying. According to numerous studies, ingesting lead (which doesn’t degrade) causes cognitive impairment, particularly among children. Two years ago, Portland Public Schools shut off drinking fountains in its buildings when it discovered lead leaching into the water supply.

Balancing Needs

Eudaly’s draft ordinance was crafted with technical input from Perry Cabot, a program specialist with the Multnomah County Health Department, in consultation with Tony Green, deputy ombudsman with the city auditor’s office. Should it be approved, it would require a series of new steps before any home built before 1960 could be demolished.

Read more at the Portland Tribune.

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