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March is Oregon Earthquake Awareness month. There are many reasons, many reminders why it’s important for Portlanders to prepare for a major earthquake.
Three years ago this week, a deadly 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile. In a few weeks, Japan’s recovery from a 9.0 magnitude quake will reach the two-year mark. Scientists believe Oregon is due for a subduction zone earthquake similar in nature and size to Japan’s. In fact, Gov. Kitzhaber’s Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission is now reporting an eye-opening estimate of statewide damage from such an event, totaling in the tens of billions of dollars.
Throughout March, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) will highlight this vulnerability and help Portlanders ready themselves. At the top of the priority list: educating homeowners about seismically upgrading their homes. On March 21st, PBEM and the Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) will continue a series of classes on this topic. This class is geared toward Southwest neighbors, taking place at the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway at 7:30 p.m.
Later in the month, PBEM director Carmen Merlo and Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick will appear on KBOO Community Radio discussing earthquake vulnerability and the need for new policy geared toward structural seismic upgrades.
Yesterday PBEM unveiled a video tour of the city’s new 30,000-square foot emergency coordination center (ECC) now under construction near Portland’s 911 center. Click here to watch the video. The ECC is scheduled for completion later this year.
PBEM is pleased to announce the newly revamped, ever-growing PublicAlerts.org emergency notification site is now hosted in the cloud making it much more likely to remain online after a regional earthquake.
Ongoing PBEM projects include: preparing the Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node (BEECN) system for it’s inaugural test later this year and updating PBEM’s Basic Emergency Operations Plan for City Council consideration.
To view the ECC tour video, learn how to become a Neighborhood Emergency Team volunteer, sign up for real-time alerts and access one of the best collections of the earthquake preparedness resources online, visit PBEM at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/.