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Oregon is Prepping for Earthquakes and Tsunamis


While millions of Americans prepare to visit Oregon for the solar eclipse Aug. 21, concerns over the Pacific Northwest’s tsunami and earthquake preparedness have never been more relevant. Even if you don’t plan on visiting Oregon this summer or ever, preventing Fukushima 2.0 will be relevant to you, no matter where you live.  

A 4.6 magnitude earthquake just hit off the coast of Oregon, Aug. 10, 2017, in the very area Oregonians are fighting against a proposed LNG export terminal in the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

While Northern California and Southern Oregon’s coastal areas are prone to ‘mini’ quakes, landslides, and flooding; everyone should be aware Oregon’s Department of Transportation, Oregon Emergency Management, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, and other agencies are preparing for an event in what Sierra Club of Oregon describes as “the most dangerous earthquake and tsunami zone in North America.”

We are guaranteed to suffer a catastrophic break, the mirror image of the 2011 Tohoku-Fukushima fracture, at a minimum of Magnitude 8, and an eventual Magnitude 9. The odds of that massive earthquake, and the huge tsunami that will result, happening during the planned lifespan of the proposed LNG export projects are well over 50%.” –Sierra Club of Oregon

I spoke with Larry Masterman, emergency management coordinator, regarding Tsunami and Earthquake threats facing Oregon:

After our interview, Masterman cautioned that citizens should be concerned; any project (Jordan Cove or otherwise) must be built to withstand an earthquake exceeding 9.0, he explained that the difference between 9.0 and 9.1 is exponential and we only have to look to Japan for a glimpse of our future if warnings are not heeded.

This is where you come in.

First, be prepared and inform others. (It’s not all doom and gloom.) The sooner we can accept this tsunami is coming, the sooner we can start getting serious about the threats an LNG terminal poses in a tsunami zone.

Oregon Emergency Management’s “Living on Shaky Ground- How to survive earthquakes and tsunamis in Oregon” is a valuable tool and available here.

Graphic by Colin Tooley
Graphic by Colin Tooley

Second, raise a ruckus and make a difference. Call Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown (503) 378-4582 and voice your concerns. Based on Oregon SB 378, passed in 1995, DOGAMI Open File Report: OFR-03-05: Development in Oregon’s Tsunami Inundation Zones. It prohibits construction of “hazardous facilities” in the Tsunami Inundation Zone.

If Gov. Brown has the political will, backing from DOGAMI, and large enough outcry from the public, she can use this law to stop the Jordan Cove project.

Third, stay tuned. There’s a lot to get to know about the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector pipeline project, and I’ll do my best to break it down in future articles and interviews.

“You don’t have to have a catastrophe to learn how to deal with a catastrophe.”

Sage advice from Masterman, here’s hoping.

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