February 21, 2014 | Portland Mercury-- Commissioner Steve Novick took a definitive step this week toward tackling our coming earthquake disaster.
At a press conference Thursday, Novick and US Representative Earl Blumenauer (signature bow-tie and all) announced a $100,000 pilot project that will let homeowners tap Federal Emergency Management Agency money so they can finance seismic retrofits of their homes.
As we reported in October, Novick and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) have been quietly playing with the idea of acquiring federal dollars to help homeowners pay for seismic retrofits. Today’s announcement was an official recognition of the work they’ve been doing.
“I was alarmed to learn in the summer of 2012 that one of our biggest vulnerabilities when we have a big quake is homes built before 1974 are unlikely to be bolted to their foundations and so are unlikely to survive an earthquake,” Novick told the crowd of gathered reporters.
That’s right. As things sit now—in a major earthquake like the killer magnitude 9.0 shaker scientists warn is coming—many Portland homes will shimmy off their foundations. How many?
Well, the city estimates roughly 100,000 Portland homes aren’t bolted to their foundations. But like other “windshield surveys” of Portland’s vulnerable infrastructure, this is just an educated guess. Dan Douthit, PBEM’s public information officer, told me the margin of error on this figure could be fairly large, either plus or minus tens of thousands. Novick says he’d be surprised if there aren’t at least 50,000 unattached homes in the city.
But regardless of the exact number, Thursday's announcement is a READ FULL ARTICLE