It is impossible to predict exactly when an earthquake will strike, but the Pacific Northwest is due for a 9.0 magnitude quake along the Cascadia subduction zone — as early as the next 50 years. According to a recent resiliency report by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), also known as the Earthquake Commission, such an earthquake would devastate much of western Oregon. Buildings would crumble; bridges would fall; and thousands of people would die. Oregon would be looking at $32 billion in economic losses.
The Earthquake Commission’s Resiliency Plan contains a series of recommendations for the legislature’s consideration, including statewide renovations to schools, highways and emergency response facilities in preparation for the quake and subsequent tsunami. (You can see a pdf draft summary here.)
Are you prepared for a major earthquake where you live or work? What are your concerns for Oregon when the earthquake hits?
- Althea Rizzo: Geologic hazards program coordinator at the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and OSSPAC panel member