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What do you mean by lower third? If you do that, you have no room upstairs, correct?

There was a post in the very center of this room, and removed before I got here. Would this have alleviated the situation?

I thought collar ties held everything together to keep this situation from happening.
It is a common misconception that collar ties help hold the walls together.
"Collar ties" are installed in the upper third to hold the rafters against the ridge board.
"Rafter ties" are installed below the lower third of the rafter, to tie the walls together and resist the thrust loads that are bowing your wall outward.

https://www.finehomebuilding.com/2013/11/07/how-it-works-collar-and-rafter-ties
 
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