The following is a repost of a Facebook post done Tom Horning, a geologist and city councilor, who lives in Seaside, Oregon and has been a long time advocate for preparing for a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. He granted me permission to get it out to a wider audience:
The GREAT AMERICAN SHAKEOUT occurred in Seaside at 10:18 AM. A few seconds of modest seismic shaking was followed by 3 to 5 minutes of violent wracking that knocked the terracotta roofing off of City Hall and collapsed the brick bell tower of the fire station onto the fire trucks in their parking bays.
Seven of eleven bridges in Seaside collapsed when the soils liquefied during the shaking, preventing panicked crowds of tourists and locals alike seeking safe evacuation routes. A few young people swam the rivers or picked their way over the … Read More »
A major recommendation of the Oregon Resilience Plan was the establishment of resilience ratings for building and communities. The idea was to let people and communities know how well a particular building, structure or community would perform in the Cascadia Earthquake. The goal was to help people make informed decisions about the acceptable level of risk. These rating systems are now being to appear. The United States Resiliency Council (USRC) is releasing its Building Resilience Rating System this fall. The rating system is completed and the USRC are now in the process of recruiting structural engineers to become certified to perform the rating system. Their rating system has three components: Safety, Cost of Repairs, and Time to Regain Function. Depending on performance, a building will get ratings from one star to five star. Similar to a LEED Rating, this information will be shown … Read More »
The Oregon Chapter the Association of Civil Engineers was just mentioned in an article on making resilience a priority for school districts. The article from ASCE News, focuses on the efforts of the Beaverton School District to adopt the findings of the Oregon Resilience Plan (ORP) for schools. The ORP’s goals were to ensure that schools can be reopened thirty days after a Cascadia earthquake, and recommended that they be used for community shelters following the earthquake.
Although it focuses on the three ASCE members involved in the effort, I was also worked on the project as a sub-consultant for SEFT, Inc., Kent Yu’s firm. Kent led the the Oregon Resilience Plan effort when he was chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Committee (which I also worked on). Chris Poland helped create the Resilient City study done by SPUR for the City of San Fransisco, which the … Read More »
OPB has been doing an incredible integrated radio, TV, and online effort, called “Unprepared”, looking at the vulnerability of the region to a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and resulting tsunami. The finale will be an airing of the Oregon Field Guide Special Unprepared Documentary. The premier showing will be October 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm. For those wanting a sneak peak and to participate in a question and answer session, the local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is putting on an event at Mercy Corps at 6:00 pm, Thursday, September 24th, at Mercy Corps.
The recent subduction zone earthquake in Chile was an 8.3 magnitude which puts it in the “Small Size” Cascadia earthquake category. Since the ruptures start from the south, the rupture would stretch up northern California to Oregon. While not as powerful as a full rupture that would continue … Read More »
The big story was the recent New Yorker article, “The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle” that caused quite a stir both here in the Northwest and the rest of the country by providing a very well written summary of what the Cascadia earthquake and resulting tsunami will do to the region. The smaller stories are the passage of a number resilience bills in the Oregon Legislative and other efforts. These made barely a ripple in the press but they are historic and show that resilience planning for the Cascadia earthquake is here to stay. The Legislature created a State Resilience Officer attached to the Governor’s Office who will have the responsibility of tracking the 50-year effort outlined in the Oregon Resilience Plan (ORP). They significantly increased funding for the Seismic Retrofit Grant Program (SRGP) to the tune of $176 million bond grants for schools and … Read More »
On the anniversary of the last Cascadia earthquake and tsunami 315 years ago, OPB has done an excellent series of stories called “Unprepared: Will We Be Ready for the Megaquake?” As the articles points out, a large Cascadia earthquake and tsunami can occur anytime, and it reviews how prepared we are and compares it to the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. They also have a nice little app called “What’s My Risk“. You can put in your address to see where critical buildings are located nearby and what their risk of collapse are. At the bottom of the page, you can find out if your local school has been retrofitted. The information was available online, but the app shows it in an interactive and friendly way, making this information more transparent. This is an exciting development.
It … Read More »
On Tuesday, February 17th, Oregon’s design professional community will be coming together to meet with the Oregon Legislature. Typically these types of events are a chance for design professionals to talk to legislators about professional concerns. This year is a bit different. The design community is focussing on the passage of the Oregon Resilience Task Force (ORTF) recommendations. These recommendations range from establishing a Resilience Policy Advisor to the Governor, land uses changes related to tsunami’s, additional revenue for seismic upgrades for transportation, the schools, essential facilities, seismic resilience research, and seismic assessments of Oregon’s energy infrastructure. The ORTF recommendations were requested by the Legislature as a first step to to implementing the Oregon Resilience Plan (ORP), a fifty year plan to prepare Oregon for a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.
Also unusual, is the extent of the collaboration of the design professional community. The professional associations of … Read More »
It has been a while since I posted, but it has been a significant year for preparing for a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. The Oregon Resilience Task Force finished their work in September and made their recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. Heading up their recommendations is the establishment of a Resilience Policy Advisor post in the Governor’s office, which was the primary recommendation of the Oregon Resilience Plan. The Task Force made their initial presentation of their recommendations to the Joint Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee, so the legislative process begins.
The Task Force also recommended $100 million for Seismic Upgrade Grants, which was trumped by Senator Courtney (a long time supporter of such grants) who is calling for a $200 million investment. In any case, the program should see a significant increase in funding.
The American Institute of Architects of … Read More »
Oregon voter’s showed their concern about making children safe in their schools by approving $500 millions of bonding for seismic upgrades of schools a few years back. The Legislature has been slow to allocate funding for the project, but some projects are being funded. Recently, one such project was completed for the Central Elementary School in Albany, Oregon. A masonry building almost a hundred years old, it is a well loved school with 160 students from kindergarten to fifth grade. The $1.5 million dollar grant from Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) helped tie the roof and floors to the masonry walls. Selective walls were made into shear walls to resist the earthquake and new stairs were built to evacuate from the school. The building is considered an historic building and the work was approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.
To … Read More »
I had the pleasure of touring the Trinity Place Apartments the other day with members of HPLO who had worked on the Resilient Masonry Buildings Roundtable. The owner of the Trinity Apartments is both an aficionado of Portland’s masonry apartment buildings and very committed to seismically upgrading them. Motivated not only to protect his tenants, he also wants to give the buildings a fighting chance to survive an earthquake.
The Trinity Apartments were built in 1910 and are the work of Knighton and Root. Knighton was the architect of such buildings as the Oregon Supreme Court, the Governor Hotel, and Johnson Hall at UO, to name a few. The apartments are well built, with much of their historic detail intact. A courtyard building, it actually two buildings joined in the middle with separate stairs and elevators on each side. The fact … Read More »