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Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Readiness. Response. Recovery.

Phone: 503-823-4375

Fax: 503-823-3903

TDD: 503-823-3947

Portland offers free workshops to test emergency alerts, increase neighborhood resilience

PBEM workshopsThe Portland Bureau of Emergency Management is offering two opportunities to improve personal and neighborhood emergency preparedness. Your involvement is critical to the success of each event. All activities are free of charge. For the events on the 28th, registration is encouraged.

"Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?" A Community Evacuation and Alert Exercise, Feb. 21 or Feb. 28:

Imagine a toxic chemical has spilled and you’ve received a message to leave the area. What would you do? Learn how the City of Portland issues emergency alerts and tell writers of Portland’s Citywide Evacuation Plan how to make the messages better for you and your family during the workshop, offered twice in February. The workshop is free and participants have a chance to win a $75 emergency “Go Kit.” Early arrival is recommended.

Workshop Option 1 (En Español)

12 to 1 p.m., this Saturday, Feb. 21 at Fix-It Fair                                                         

David Douglas High School

1001 SE 135th Ave.           

 Workshop Option 2 (includes ASL interpretation)

*Event takes place during Portland's "In It Together" Community Summit. Space is limited and priority seating is given to summit participants. Registration is encouraged. See below.

1 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28

“In It Together” Community Summit

Ambridge Event Center – Sellwood Room

1333 N.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

“Your Resilient Neighborhood”

*Event takes place during Portland's "In It Together" Community Summit. Space is limited and priority seating is given to summit participants. Registration is encouraged. See below.

This isn’t Preparedness 101 – no building emergency kits or talk of plate tectonics. Instead, we’ll examine how community gardens, schools, parks, fuel stations, bike shops and food carts play into your neighborhood’s ability to withstand a disaster and recover more quickly. Join a lively exercise designed to demonstrate how to identify hazards specific to your neighborhood and use community resources (People power!) to make your neighborhood more resilient when bad things happen. Presenters include Carmen Merlo, PBEM Director; John Warner, Pearl District Neighborhood Emergency Team leader.

10 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 during the Portland “In It Together” Community Summit

Ambridge Event Center – Sellwood Room

1333 N.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

IMPORTANT SCHEDULING NOTE: ”Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?” Workshop 2 and “Your Resilient Neighborhood” take place during the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement “In It Together” Community Summit. You are encouraged, but not required, to participate in the entire summit. The summit is free. Space is limited due to maximum capacity of the event space. Summit participants will receive priority seating. Other participants will be welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis. Lunch, child care and other accommodations are provided to participants who register for the summit here:

Questions? Comments? Email or call: or 503-823-4375.

New regional organization launched to prepare Portland-Vancouver area for earthquakes, other disasters

Media advisory issued February 10, 2015.

RDPOSeveral local and regional governments in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region formally launched a new public-private-non-profit organization devoted to creating a secure and disaster-resilient region. Known as the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization, or “RDPO” for short, participants include the City of Portland, Clackamas, Clark, Columbia, Multnomah, and Washington counties, Metro, Port of Portland, and TriMet along with other cities and special districts in the region.

The RDPO offers a venue to bring together elected leaders, public safety officials, emergency responders, planners, and the wider community to work toward a shared goal of making the region more prepared for a disaster, including a major Cascadia earthquake. Initially formed in 2012, the RDPO became official this January when TriMet, the group’s eighth and final core funding partner, voted to ratify the agreement.  More than a dozen other local jurisdictions, along with several private and non-profit sector organizations, are also expected to formally join the RDPO in 2015.

“We live in a region with many interdependencies, including our hospitals, telecommunications and transportation systems. As was evidenced during the 1996 Oregon floods and the 2007 Vernonia flood, disaster response and recovery requires coordination of many partners,” said Tony Hyde, RDPO Policy Committee Chair and Columbia County Commissioner. 

“A few years ago, local governments and private and non-profit sector partners saw a critical need to unify existing preparedness efforts,” said Hyde. “The formal adoption of the RDPO demonstrates our shared commitment to work as a region to make this happen.”

RDPO members coordinate by participating on committees, work groups, and task forces established to discuss broad policy topics and specific preparedness issues, setting funding priorities for the regional use of federal homeland security grant funds, developing plans, offering trainings, and conducting emergency drills.

“The work isn’t flashy, but it’s vitally important toward getting us ready for the hazards we know will affect us in the future,” said Denise Barrett, RDPO Manager. “The RDPO has already achieved several major successes, including bringing together fire, law enforcement and other public safety agencies throughout the region to agree on a plan on how they would coordinate in the event of a major disaster.”

More information on the RDPO can be found at