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Resilience Ratings are here

Posted on September 25th, by raskin in Blog, Cascadia Earthquake, Oregon, Resilience, Seismic. Comments Off on Resilience Ratings are here

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 »

Making resilience a Priority in School District

Posted on September 18th, by raskin in Blog, Cascadia Earthquake, Oregon, Resilience, Seismic. Comments Off on Making resilience a Priority in School District

Project architects, community members and children join a ground-breaking for Beaverton’s new resilient schools. PHOTO: Scott Johnson/Beaverton Project Manager-Facilities Development

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 … Read More »

OPB “Unprepared” Documentary

Posted on September 17th, by raskin in Blog, Cascadia Earthquake, Oregon, Resilience, Seismic. Comments Off on OPB “Unprepared” Documentary

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 »

Big Story and small stories that add up

Posted on July 27th, by raskin in Blog, Cascadia Earthquake, Resilience, Seismic. Comments Off on Big Story and small stories that add up

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 »

The Future of Cars and Cities 2

Posted on May 4th, by raskin in Blog. Comments Off on The Future of Cars and Cities 2

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about the Future of Cars and Cities where I talked about the potential impact of driverless cars.  Development is speeding up, especially with the rise of Uber.  A recent article by Zack Kanter called How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 million jobs and Reshape the Economy by 2025 shows how far this might go.  He quotes Elon Musk of Tesla Motors that driverless cars will be available to the public by 2020.  Rather than being sold to individuals, the more likely market are companies like Uber and ZipCar.  He sees the transformation of not only the auto industry but public transport as well.

The potential of loss of established jobs is sobering, even if it balanced by the increase in jobs in other areas as the money that once went into cars goes … Read More »

OPB’s What’s my Risk?

Posted on February 5th, by raskin in Blog, Cascadia Earthquake, Oregon, Resilience, Seismic. Comments Off on OPB’s What’s my Risk?

Photo Courtesy of US Navy

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 … Read More »

Oregon Design Professionals Day at the Capitol

Posted on January 29th, by raskin in Blog, Cascadia Earthquake, Oregon, Resilience, Seismic. Comments Off on Oregon Design Professionals Day at the Capitol

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 »

The Oregon Resilience Plan: A call to expand the sustainability conversation

Posted on April 8th, by raskin in Blog, Seismic. Comments Off on The Oregon Resilience Plan: A call to expand the sustainability conversation

Edward Wolf, a Portland writer whose books include Salmon Nation (1999, 2003) and Klamath Heartlands (2004), served as a citizen member of the Advisory Panel of The Oregon Resilience Plan.

Edward Wolf has laid down a challenge to the sustainability community to include resilience as part of sustainability in an article in Sustainable Business Oregon.  Ted,  a writer on environmental issues, was drawn into seismic and resiliency when he discovered how seismically suspect the schools his child was attending in Portland were.  He has become an advocate for improving seismic safety in Portland Public Schools and lent his writing talents to the call of creating an resilient Oregon in an op-ed piece in the Oregonian along with Yumei Wang (DOGAMI) and I.  He also was a citizen member of the Advisory Panel of The Oregon Resilience Plan, where he also … Read More »

Washington Resilience Plan

Posted on March 27th, by raskin in Blog, Seismic. Comments Off on Washington Resilience Plan


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 »

AIA and Resilience

Posted on March 7th, by raskin in Blog. Comments Off on AIA and Resilience

I have been trying to get the architectural community more involved in the preparing for the Cascadia earthquake/tsunami and resiliency.  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) was at one time very involved in emergency preparedness and in the 1970’s help come up with the response-relief-mitigation cycle.  In recent years, the AIA had lost interest in the topic and even been cutting back institutional support for the topic.  This is finally turning around, both locally and nationally.  The Portland AIA has taken an strong interest in the seismic upgrade of schools.  The New York AIA has become aware of resilience following Hurricane Sandy and created a program called Post Sandy: Creating a Resilient New York.

The national AIA is now taking a more active interest and starting the shift to resilience, led by Cooper Martin.  I had worked with Cooper on an … Read More »

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