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  • Portland State University, Lincoln Hall 1620 Southwest Park Avenue Portland, OR, 97201 United States (map)

July 18-20, 2019
Portland State University, Lincoln Hall
Portland, Oregon


Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings present a challenge for earthquake-prone communities. There are over 1,650 URM buildings in Portland and millions around the world. These structures are important historic, architectural, cultural, and economic landmarks, but their vulnerability to earthquakes imperils these buildings and the people in them.

The URM Seismic Resilience Symposium, July 18-20, 2019, is a three-day event for architects, engineers, owners, property managers, and anyone that might deal with URM buildings. AIA HSW and Engineering continuing education credits will be available.

This symposium is organized in collaboration with the International Masonry Institute (IMI), American Institute of Architects (AIA) Oregon, Structural Engineering Association of Oregon (SEAO), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Association of Preservation Technology Northwest (APT-NW).

The symposium will include two days of lectures focusing on topics and concerns related to URM buildings, including:

  • Earthquake Background

  • URM Construction and Seismic Engineering Technology Options

  • Building Codes and Historic Preservation Requirements

  • Seismic Upgrade Project Considerations and Costs

  • Public Policy, Finance, and Resiliency

Speakers include prominent engineers and architects from Oregon, Washington, California as well as leading experts from Canada, New Zealand, and Italy.

URM Seismic Upgrade Project Awards
The URM Seismic Resilience Symposium includes awards for URM Seismic Upgrade Projects. Learn more here.

A jury will present Honor, Merit, and Citation awards for URM seismic upgrade projects and research in these categories:

  • Innovative Seismic Upgrades

  • Cost Effective Seismic Upgrades

  • Historic Preservation

  • Small Project

  • Unbuilt Project

  • Research

URM Seismic Upgrade Walking Tour
An optional one-day walking tour of URM buildings in Portland on Saturday, July 20. This tour will allow attendees to experience some of the seismic upgrade projects in person. Space will be limited to 100 attendees. AIA HSW and Engineering continuing education credits will be available.

World Perspective Discussion on Equity, Risk, and Cost: URM Policy in Context
This special panel will take place on Saturday morning, July 20th. It is composed of local and international speakers and will focus on equity and URM buildings. Low-income communities and communities of color are consistently hardest hit in disasters. Yet seismic retrofits often seem financially out of reach for these same communities. Learn about Portland’s experience trying to mandate placarding and retrofits for URM buildings, and hear local and international perspectives on the balance of risk, cost, and displacement concerns. Join the discussion: How are past inequities relevant to current policy discussions? What strategies are making seismic safety affordable? What does experience in other earthquakes teach us? Space limited to 60 attendees. AIA HSW and Engineering continuing education credits will be available.

URM Brewery Crawl
An optional tour of home grown bars and breweries that are housed within URM buildings will be planned for Thursday evening, July 18th. It will be a great opportunity for attendees to enjoy some of Portland’s local flavor! Entry price gets you a one-way ticket to ride Portland’s streetcar to the start of the crawl and coupons for food or drink at a few stops. Space will be limited to 60 attendees.

Sponsorship Opportunities
Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event. Your support with sponsorship allows us to include international speakers and make this event possible. If your organization is interested in sponsorship opportunities, sign up here using Eventbrite and email your logo to Adrienne Morris at

Earlier Event: June 25
Seattle Chapter Spring Social
Later Event: August 15
SEA NW Conference 2019