Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Readiness. Response. Recovery.

Phone: 503-823-4375

Fax: 503-823-3903

TDD: 503-823-3947

Earthquakes - are you ready?

Letter from Mayor Sam Adams to the community on earthquake preparedness:

Dear Portlander,

Do you know what to do in case of an earthquake? Most Portlanders don’t think about earthquakes, so we bring attention to this threat every April during Earthquake Preparedness Month in the city. This April, the City sponsored events and exercises to make the public more informed. We also put a focus on policy changes to help make the city safer. I even huddled under my council desk during an earthquake practice drill.

Last year’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan was a tragic reminder that all Pacific Rim cities, including Portland, are at risk for such major events. The last catastrophic quake in Oregon was geologically similar to the one in Japan, striking off the West Coast in 1700. Scientists say it’s only a matter of time before the next big earthquake occurs. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) is working hard to help us become resilient to such a challenging, potentially destructive event.

On April 18, I joined a group of county and state engineers and earthquake experts on a tour of some of downtown’s most vulnerable areas. There were four key stops along the tour: Mercy Corps headquarters, the Burnside Bridge, the Willamette River harbor wall and the seismically sturdy Fire Station #1. We learned about the challenges and successes involved in bracing downtown’s key facilities against a massive earthquake in Portland. It was both eye-opening and reassuring. [more]