PSB Seismic Retrofit Dedication

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Sponsored by: Support Services Department, Facilities and Parks Services Division

PSB seismic retrofitOn Friday, September 13, at 3 p.m., Washington County officials will host a brief program and ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the completion of critical seismic upgrades to the Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building (PSB), located at 155 N. First Avenue in Hillsboro. As part of an overall strategy to prepare for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, the PSB follows the Law Enforcement Center as the first of a handful of county buildings to receive critical seismic retrofits over several years.


Built in 1990, the PSB was compliant with existing building codes of the day. Engineering studies later concluded that the building's structural frame and internal systems were at risk in light of scientific predictions of a major earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Seismic upgrades were required to strengthen the building to a higher level of resilience.


Although no structure can be completely "earthquake-proof," the retrofit project was designed to limit damage to structural components and internal systems while substantially reducing the risk of life-threatening injuries to those inside. To achieve these goals, Washington County contracted with Portland-based SERA Architects and JE Dunn Construction to assist with the design and management of this challenging project. Through their efforts and the expertise of dozens of trade partners, seismic stabilization was accomplished through construction of new concrete sheer walls at each corner of the building. These sheer walls are structurally connected to numerous steel collector beams and interior column reinforcements, along with new massive concrete footings which anchor the seismic reinforcements to the foundation of the building.


In addition to the seismic retrofit, the project included significant water mitigation work to eliminate years of water intrusion problems in the building’s basement. Soil was removed from around the basement walls, creating daylight work spaces for staff. A complex drain and pump system was installed around the building’s north wing to reduce the water table and divert filtered run-off to the existing stormwater system.


The project also provided the opportunity to make efficiency upgrades to critical building systems including mechanical, lighting and security. These investments are designed to ensure a safe and energy-efficient structure for decades to come.


The seismic retrofit of the Washington County Public Services Building began with preliminary design work in early 2015. Construction took place in two phases over approximately four years. The project was substantially complete in May of 2019 at a cost of $35 million and funded in part through revenue obtained from the State’s Gain Share program.

Media Contact:

Julie McCloud, Public Affairs & Communications Coordinator