On Monday, Governor Kate Brown will speak about her vision for the state's earthquake resiliency and preparedness. As part of her 2020 short session legislative priorities, she will be introducing a bill to improve Oregon's readiness for an eventual Cascadia earthquake, also commonly referred to as "The Big One."
Geologists have determined that major earthquakes of magnitudes 8 or 9 have occurred many times in the past in the Pacific Northwest, and that another could occur at any moment. Given current levels of preparedness, such a quake could create the worst natural disaster in modern North American history, but added preparedness could mitigate some of the toll. As part of Governor Brown's Resiliency 2025 vision, the proposed legislation includes funding to support the development of an early warning system, such as ShakeAlert early-detection sensors, that could save thousands of lives during a high-magnitude earthquake. It also dedicates resources towards the state's goal of 250,000 homes being 2-Week Ready.
“When the next large-scale Cascadia earthquake and tsunami strike the Pacific Northwest, Oregon will face the greatest challenge of our lifetimes,” said Governor Kate Brown. “To be ready to recover, we must be aware and prepared. In the aftermath of a large-scale natural disaster, Oregonians will have to count on each other in the community, in the workplace, and at home until first responders are able to reach them. I urge everyone to start conversations this week with their families, friends, and loved ones about how to be safe and as ready as possible, especially by having two weeks of ready supplies.”
At the event, Governor Brown will proclaim January 26 - February 1 as Cascadia Earthquake Preparedness Week in Oregon. She will be joined by policymakers and subject matter experts including Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, State Representative Nancy Nathanson (District 13 - Eugene), and researchers from the University of Oregon. “The investments Governor Brown is proposing through her resiliency package, including funds for ShakeAlert, are essential to the long-run safety of Oregonians,” said Treasurer Read.
"Early warning can save lives. Utilities, hospitals, transportation systems, and educational environments could power down equipment and protect people and critical operations," said Representative Nathanson. "This is an opportunity to take a significant step forward in our readiness.”
“Governor Brown’s resiliency package will improve public safety by supporting the ShakeAlert system in Oregon. Because Oregon lies in the center of the Cascadia subduction zone, our alerting performance impacts the entire west coast," said Professor Douglas Toomey of the University of Oregon. "Completing the ShakeAlert system in Oregon will reduce earthquake risks to Oregonians and improve resiliency of Washington, California, and British Columbia.”