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Politicians Agree More Money Needed For Earthquake Preparedness - But How Much?

Most Oregon politicians agree something needs to be done this legislative session to prepare for a big earthquake. But the question is: How much money is being discussed?

Scientists say there’s a 37 percent chance of an earthquake along the Oregon coast in the next 50 years. 

Past quakes have registered about the same size as the one that hit Japan in 2011 — a magnitude nine.

Gov. John Kitzhaber says being ready takes time and money. “We do have $600,000 in the budget for seismometers that would create an early warning system for us, that would give us a little bit more time,” he said.

“That’s not to say that we should not prioritize schools and hospitals and do what we can to do those retrofits. But a quake of that magnitude, we don’t have the resources to retrofit everything that needs to be retrofitted.”

Voters gave the state permission to float up to $1 billion in bonds to retrofit essential buildings. But 13 years later, the legislature has given the go-ahead on less than 8 percent of that money.

There is a move to possibly retrofit the capitol building.

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