The Oregon Resilience Plan

Published in 2013, the ORP resulted from a massive volunteer effort spearheaded by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), headed by Kent Yu, PhD.  It was an ambitious effort to “surround the problem” of earthquake preparedness, resulting from a legislative mandate (HR 3) in 2011 sponsored by Rep. Debbie Boone (D-Cannon Beach).  The Executive Summary stated:

The Oregon Resilience Plan maps a path of policy and investment priorities for the next fifty years. The recommendations offer Oregon’s Legislative Assembly and Governor immediate steps to begin a journey along that path. The plan and its recommendations build on the solid foundation laid over the past quarter century by some of Oregon’s top scientists, engineers, and policymakers.

The plan’s 243 pages (plus numerous appendices) contain dozens of recommendations in these seven areas:

  • business and workforce continuity
  • coastal communities (which are in especial danger from a tsunami)
  • critical/essential buildings
  • transportation
  • energy
  • information/communications
  • water/wastewater systems.

The ORP is a good beginning, but it is over four years old, and does not touch on critical social and economic factors.  To be an effective tool it needs to be continually updated, given greater detail and substance, and regularly placed in front of policymakers.  It lacks a means of communicating both vulnerabilities and progress continually to the public to build support for action.  Developed by volunteers during the recession, there is little funding for implementing its myriad of recommendations for future action, and little in the way of time frames, budget estimates, performance metrics, identification of responsibility or accountability.

Cascadia Prepared intends to work with partners to update and improve the ORP over time.  We believe regular updates are critical to increasing public awareness and support of public resilience programs, as well as to motivating individuals and companies to step up their own preparations.

Resilient Washington State

was published in 2012.  It was prepared by the Washington State Emergency Management Council’s Seismic Safety Committee with support from FEMA.  It highlights the following optimistic statement:

A resilient state is one that maintains services and livelihoods after an earthquake. In the event that services and livelihoods are disrupted, recovery occurs rapidly, with minimal social disruption, and results in a new and better condition.

This report is much briefer than Oregon’s, running 26 pages plus appendices, and contains 33 recommendations in 10 categories.

In November 2016, after several years of relatively little official coordination, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a directive to 12 Washington state agencies to convene a Resilient Washington Subcabinet.  Its first meeting was held January 17, 2017, kicking off a process that is scheduled to present a report in June 2017.  Here are the slides from that meeting.  Cascadia Prepared sent a letter to the subcabinet convener suggesting that a far greater degree of coordination between state officials in Washington and Oregon would create synergies, accelerate the learning curve and improve the development of resilience throughout the region.

 “Big Steps Before the Big One: How the Portland area can bounce back after a major earthquake,”

The Portland City Club issued this report in February 2017 and subsequently adopted it an overwhelming majority of club members.  The City Club report focused on several areas including:

  • energy
  • buildings
  • transportation
  • social resilience

The report concluded:

Unless citizens and public policymakers act now to strengthen the region’s resilience, the economic and social fabric of communities will be devastated by a CSZ earthquake. At the current level of preparedness, recovery from a major quake would take many years

Oregon Highways Seismic PLUS Report

This report was developed by ODOT’s Bridge Section and was published in October 2014.  According to the introduction,

This report lays out a comprehensive program that will address seismic vulnerability, as well as mitigate structural deficiencies. The Seismic Plus Program presents the most economical option for mitigating several bridge deficiencies at once, including seismic vulnerability. This program will deliver longer lasting bridges and a seismically resilient transportation network and economy for Oregon.