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Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Readiness. Response. Recovery.

Phone: 503-823-4375

Fax: 503-823-3903

TDD: 503-823-3947

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Portland Mitigation Action Plan (MAP)?

Portland’s mitigation action plan (MAP) is the city’s strategy for better understanding our risks from natural hazards and taking steps to reduce our risk over time. It takes a detailed look at hazards in Portland and where the riskiest areas are to help city offices choose and prioritize projects, programs, and policies that build our overall resilience to natural hazards. When the plan is complete, it will include a list of specific actions city offices have prioritized for the next five years.


Why should I care about this?

In addition to laying out a strategy for city offices to increase resilience, the MAP also includes information that the public can use to prepare themselves for natural hazards. Understanding your natural hazard risks can help you know how to prepare your family and your neighborhood. Readiness is a partnership, and you play an important role in making sure natural hazards don’t become natural disasters. With the information in the mitigation action plan, you’ll be able to understand where the riskiest areas are in your neighborhood and which of your neighbors might need a little extra help during an earthquake, flood, or severe weather. By increasing our resilience at the community level, we make it easier for the whole city to bounce back faster.

The plan also makes the City of Portland eligible for federal grants to help us implement mitigation projects and recover after a disaster.


What are examples of mitigation projects?

There are lots of different types of mitigation projects. In general, a mitigation project does one of three things: it modifies or prevents the hazard, reduces exposure to the hazard, or reduces vulnerability to the hazard. Mitigation actions can be divided into six different categories:

Prevention - avoid building homes in floodplains and landslide risk zones; relocating critical infrastructure outside of risk zones

Property Protection - elevating buildings that are at risk of flooding; reinforcing or retrofitting buildings at risk of earthquake damage

Public Awareness - providing hazard maps to the public; having an up-to-date website with hazard information and how to prepare

Natural Resource Protection - restoring natural floodplains to absorb storm water; maintaining forests in good health to prevent landslides

Emergency Services - ensuring fire access roads are in place for wildfire response; building emergency personnel capacity through improved technology, training and exercises

Structural Projects - building and maintaining levees; channelizing streams away from developed areas

Community Capacity Building – investing in food independence projects (ex. community gardens), promoting and supporting rain water collection systems, alternative energy sources (ex. solar power, wind power, micro-level hydro power), culturally appropriate community-level training for emergency and trauma response


How do I get involved?

You can get involved with the mitigation action plan in a couple of ways. You can follow our progress online and review the draft plan when it is posted the first week of August. 

Another way you can get involved is by attending the MAP summer socials, which are being held in parks in each quadrant in Portland. At these events, you’ll learn about how natural hazards like floods, landslides, and earthquakes might affect Portland, and what city offices are doing to reduce those impacts. You can find more information about the workshops on the main page of the website here:


When will the plan be finished?

A draft of the plan will be released for public comment in August, 2016 through September, 2016.  It will be presented to City Council for adoption and submitted to FEMA and the State to review in October.


How is this planning process different than previous plans?

This update is different in a couple of really important ways. First, this plan update is focused on equity and ensuring that the plan has the most benefit for people who are most vulnerable. People whose life circumstances make it hard to thrive in daily life have an even harder time during natural hazard events, and we want to make sure that this plan helps them quickly respond to and recover from a disaster. That’s why we’re choosing actions that build capacity for these groups, by promoting things like community-level training, food and water independence, and alternative sources of energy.  This plan also provides an equity lens for implementation of the action items, aligned with the city’s efforts to embrace equity in all city services and activities.

Secondly, this plan is taking a sharper look at our critical energy infrastructure in Northwest Portland. We’re looking at how natural hazard risks in this area where our petroleum, electricity, and natural gas infrastructure is concentrated might impact the city as a whole. As an annex to the hazard mitigation plan, we are producing a report that lists recommendations for building resilience in this important infrastructure hub.


What is being done to ensure feedback from all of Portland’s diverse communities is included in the plan?

One of the key ways that we are ensuring that the needs of Portland’s diverse communities are represented in the plan is through a steering committee with broad representation not only from city offices but also from neighborhoods, community groups, industry, and healthcare and disability communities. This steering committee, with 33 members, has been involved with the plan from the very beginning and has helped guide the process by advocating for the communities they represent. The steering committee connects us with community groups and organizations throughout Portland, and they bring with them a diversity of opinions and perspectives.

The planning team has asked for help from an equity consultant to guide the development of the community engagement strategy for the plan. The com­munity engagement plan, developed in partnership between the steering committee and the equity consultant includes ways to meaningfully engage communities during public workshops and lists specific opportunities to partner with community groups and other city offices on outreach efforts and existing programs that support Portland’s many diverse communities.

We’re taking a look at the communities in Portland that are most likely to suffer disproportionately in a natural hazard event, and intentionally reach out to community organizations that represent them. We think it’s important to connect with existing social and cultural networks to reach as many people as we can.  That's why we held public workshops in 9 locations throughout Portland, connecting with all of Portland's neighborhood coalitions, community groups like Coalition of Communities of Color, Portland Voz, APANO, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), and Latino Network of Portland.  We are connecting with immigrant and refugee populations in Portland through Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs).  The CELs are leaders in their communities and are helping to share information about natural hazards and preparedness in the languages spoken in their communities.