Portland officials look for state to tighten home demolition pro - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland officials look for state to tighten home demolition protocols

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Over the past two years, the City of Portland has approved permits to demolish close to 700 homes, raising concerns among residents about the character of their neighborhoods and potential exposure to asbestos.

The city requires developers to remove asbestos in the home before demolition, but the work itself is not monitored by city staff or the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Probably half the homes being torn down do not have proper asbestos removal protocol," President of Renaissance Homes Randy Sebastian said.

Sebastian said his contractors perform a thorough asbestos mitigation before starting demolition on a home, but that he's heard numerous complaints about improper mitigation around the city.

Nancy Thorington, a code and policy analyst with the Bureau of Development Services, said the city receives regular complaints from residents with concerns about asbestos during demolition.

The city, however, has no regulatory authority over asbestos mitigation. Thorington said city staff would like the DEQ to tighten its existing regulations.

"We're concerned. We want to make sure, obviously, that the citizens are protected," Thorington said.

The DEQ currently requires developers to do an asbestos survey on properties scheduled for demolition and submit the results to the state, but Thorington said the agency allows developers to operate on what she describes as an "honor system."

Over a three month period, from April to June of 2016, the City of Portland approved 60 new demolition permits.

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