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 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 »
DOGAMI has just released an amazing series of tsunami maps for the entire Oregon coast. They include the latest tsunami evacuation maps that show the inundation area of the largest tsunami generated from a distant event (in this case a tsunami generated by a subduction zone earthquake generated in Alaska), and a worst case Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. This latest generation tsunami inundation mapping started with the Cannon Beach map, shifted down to southern Oregon and is now completed for the coast and mouth of the Columbia River. These maps build on the previous generation maps and, by incorporating the best current science and modeling, can help prevent the significant loss of life such as experienced in Tohoku. The proviso is that Oregon and the coastal communities must maintain effective tsunami evacuation planning and education.
The other set of maps in … 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 »
The State of Washington has released its final report for the Washington Resilience Plan. This plan also drew its inspiration from SPUR’s Resilient City report for San Francisco. Since they started their effort before Oregon did, we also drew on the work Washington was doing. These two state reports are complementary and provide a basis for future collaboration between the states on becoming resilient. To touch on one area, almost all of Oregon’s liquid fuels comes from refineries in Washington in the Puget Sound area. These refineries, the pipelines that bring the fuel to Oregon, and the fuel storage tanks located in Portland are all at risk during an Cascadia earthquake. Solving this problem needs both States working together along with the other stakeholders to solve.
This collaboration needs to be extended for almost all sectors. Cascadia is regional event and … Read More »
The Portland Mercury has a good article, Quaking Communications, talking about the vulnerabilities that telecommunication companies in Oregon have in the face of a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. While the Oregon Resilience Plan lays out the impacts on telecommunications and makes recommendations for strengthening the systems, the article does point out the difficulty of bringing the telecom’s on board during the process. Their input is needed going forward, so hopefully they will play a more active role. Again, while the report shows the rather poor state of affairs now, the point is that it can be improved upon in smart, cost effective, ways.
Note: While the seismic impact on telecommunications was mentioned, it should be noted that fiberoptic cables come ashore along the coast and will be impacted by the tsunami.
The Oregon Resilience Plan was presented to the Joint Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee today. It is a significant achievement and the start of a new era in Oregon’s efforts to prepare for the Cascadia Earthquake/Tsunami. Sen. Boquist, the chair of the committee, told OSSPAC, that this the initial overview meeting and the first of many, in which they would examine each chapter of the plan in detail with the goal of finding which recommendations could be implemented this session.
Kent Yu and Jay Wilson, the chair and vice-chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), did the presenation. They reviewed the origin of the plan, which began with an op-ed in the Oregonian written by Yumei Wang, Edward Wolf and myself which suggested a 10 year resilience plan to prepare for Cascadia. This was taken up Rep. Deborah … Read More »