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Legislature passes bill to require disclosure of house's seismic risk

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Houses built before 1974 are at particular risk in the event of a major earthquake.

PARIS ACHEN/CAPITAL BUREAU - Carpet inside the Oregon Capitol.SALEM — The Senate has passed a bill 24-to-5 that requires property owners to disclose seismic risk when selling a house.

"Currently, a house that was constructed before 1974 may not, in fact, be bolted to its foundation," said Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland. "Now if the big one comes, if your house is not bolted to its foundation, it'll slide one way or the other, break the natural gas lines, electric cut off, cause fires. It's a real danger."

The bill, passed by the House of Representatives in late March, would require property owners who are selling their house to disclose to the buyer whether the house was built before 1974 and whether the house has been secured to its foundation.

"There is no remedy required. It's a matter of answering those two questions," Monroe said.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Kate Brown for a signature.

The bill is one of several showing the Legislature's increasing focus on preparation for a major earthquake. Geologists and seismic experts expect major seismic activity along the Cascadia faultline could devastate communities throughout Oregon, especially along the state's coastline. Much of Oregon's infrastructure, such as hospitals, roads and bridges, remain vulnerable to collapse, according to the 2013 Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission. Lawmakers also continue to approve record amounts of grant money to reinforce the state's schools against collapse.


Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
503-385-4899
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