Businesses still barred from downtown building

Photo credit: Portland Fire & Rescue

Occupants of a 10-story building on SW Fifth Avenue that was evacuated on Tuesday have not been allowed to return. 

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The building was evacuated when cracks began appearing on the façade. 

Tenants include Oregon Health & Science University, eBay and KinderCare.

Between 200 and 300 OHSU employees work in the building.

OHSU media specialist Tracey Brawley says employees are either working remotely or occupying temporary workspaces at the Marquam Hill campus or their Market Square Building.

Brawley says they cannot re-occupy the space until an external scaffolding has been erected and inspected by the City of Portland.

“To our knowledge, this process has not yet been completed by the building’s owner,” she says.

KinderCare’s downtown space is also closed, awaiting cue from the city.

A spokesperson, Colleen Moran, says the child care company relocated all impacted families to one of the other 30 centers in the Metro area.

eBay occupies about half of the building.

Company officials did not respond to requests for comment, but an employee says they too are awaiting word and working remotely. eBay is looking to open a temporary office for its several hundred employees if the building does not reopen soon, the employee said.

Ross Caron, a public information officer with the Bureau of Development Services, says the city is working with the scaffolding company hired by the property owner to review plans and approve the temporary structure.

Once those plans are approved, the city will review the plans to ensure pedestrians can walk under the scaffolding safely. The first meeting between the city and the company is scheduled for this afternoon.

Caron says it’s his understanding that the company intends to work over the weekend to get the scaffolding in place once approval is given.

Earlier this week, Portland Fire & Rescue determined the large cracks — and bulge — that appeared on the building’s exterior were not the result of a structural problem.