"We are not usually in the scary movie business", Oregon Field Guide Producer Ed Jahn was heard to say during an on-air interview with KATU's Your Voice, Your Vote, just a few weeks before the October 1st premiere of Unprepared, the Oregon Field Guide's special on a possible mega quake and it's impact on Oregon.
Oregon Field Guide typically features inspiring stories of outdoor recreation, adventure and in-depth looks at environmental and ecological issues. And there are the much loved Nature Breaks on Facebook and photo essays of the state's extraordinary scenic beauty.
But looking at Jahn’s past work, you wouldn't exactly say he's been playing it safe.
Ed's past stories for Oregon Field Guide have included an expedition deep inside glacier caves on Mt. Hood, filming kayakers plunging over towering waterfalls and up close looks at exotic cats and invasive species.
And that's also true for the rest of the production team for Field Guide. Similar stories like plunging inside the Mt. St. Helens volcanic crater, tracking the plight of Oregons' wild horse population and diving below the icy surfaces at Lake of the Woods in Klamath County.
That’s why the show has been a ratings success since it began in 1990.
When Jahn embarked on this earthquake special, he, along with Senior Videographer, Todd Sonfleith, first traveled to Japan to research and gather valuable information first hand on the lessons learnt from their magnitude 9 quake and tsunami in 2011. This first story, Japan's Earthquake: Lessons For Oregon, laid the ground work for this year and a half project exploring the impact of the possibility of a magnitude earthquake of this kind in our own state.
As Jahn says, “You can’t be totally prepared. There’s the randomness of when it happens, and where you are at that period in time, and immediate risks of… you know, if you happen to be in a brick building or on a bridge, but I think the important part to think about as a state, and why we got into this, is what happens after”.
To further explore that question, OPB's news teams launched "Unprepared," earlier this year online, on OPB Radio and on social media at #UnpreparedNW. This in-depth reporting features a rich collection of video and online resources about the Cascadia megaquake and how we can prepare for it.
"You can't predict exactly when it will happen", adds Jahn, " but what does it take to get up and running after it hits…..and that’s where Oregon is unprepared.”