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 »
For someone who has lamented the negative impacts that cars have had on cities, a fundamental change appears in the offing, with implications as large as those when cars first appeared. This change is made up of different elements. One element is the changing relationship people have with cars, from being a reflection of who we are, to merely being a tool. This change was discussed the other day on NPR, which had a story, What Drives Us? Car Sharing Reflects Cultural Shift, that talked about the rise of car sharing, such as Zipcar as well as peer to peer sharing. Another element is the move for autonomous cars which drive themselves, such as the cars being developed by Google. These cars are now legal in California and the State of California passed a law last year that requires the … Read More »
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 contributed both his critical thinking and his writing talents.
The discussions about resilience and sustainability have been taking place on parallel tracks. The argument, taken to its most basic, is whether can … Read More »
A recent article in the New York Times, “The Generator is the Machine of the Moment” talks about changes to building projects to make them more resilient to Hurricane Sandy type storms. The changes are straight forward changes to the building systems, such as moving mechanical systems out of the basement, flood proofing the basements and lower floors, installing generators and pumping systems. Other changes are at the level of developments which look at ways of storing storm water on site in the lower floors and open areas to reduce the impact. This is now the “new normal” because the people using the buildings don’t want to endure the loss of power and disruptions to their lives. They recognize that these types of storms are becoming a fact of life, rather than the “storm of the century”.
Being resilient in terms of … Read More »
I often make the point that sustainability and resiliency are intimately linked. Part of being sustainable for Oregon is learning to live in an environment that includes large earthquakes and tsunami’s on a regular basis. We tend to discount the “regular” for subduction zone earthquakes. After all, one hasn’t happened here since Americans and Europeans settlement began. However, scientists have been very good at reminding us that one is imminent. At the same time the local sustainability community has been attempting to reduce our dependence on carbon to head off the man made disaster of global warming. Bill Lascher’s piece “How low car life will save Portland when the Big One strikes” in the December issue of Portland Afoot, talks about bridges, fuel, and bikes and shows that these efforts can work together.
This is not the only area. When the sustainability … Read More »
The citizens of Portland voted overwhelmingly to pass a bond measure that upgrades a number of Portland schools. It pays for some basic seismic upgrades on a 26 schools and completely modernizes three high schools and one grade school. It is a first step to the modernization of all Portland’s schools, which at the end will be safer, will meet the education needs of today, and will cost less money to operate and maintain. The energy savings alone will help make these schools more sustainable. The school district has also balanced out the safety and energy needs with maintaining the historic fabric that makes many of these schools beloved landmarks.
Out at the coast, the Seaside School District is embarking on a program to rebuild all of the schools to meet the highest seismic standards to insure they will not only … Read More »