Report: Big Ore. quake would cost $30 billion

Report: Big Ore. quake would cost $30 billion

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 10:15 AM

SALEM -- A long-awaited overview of the effects of a tsunami on the order of the Fukushima quake in Japan was released Monday, estimating the cost of such a temblor upwards of $30 billion in Oregon, with repairs to basic utilities taking a month to years to fix.

The report was compiled by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission and outlines a series of recommendations to improve buildings, utilities and safety procedures for the next several decades.

The study suggests the outcome of a magnitude 9 quake generated from the Cascadia subduction zone off the Northwest Coast.  Among the findings: Anywhere from 1,250 to more than 10,000 people would die. The major quake would also flood Seaside, including the buildings and communications facilities of first responders.

In Portland and the Willamette Valley, water and sewer would be out for a month to a year and electricity a month to three months. Most businesses would shutter after two weeks to a month because of the outage. On the coast, those utilities could be out for a year or several years, the study found.

More: Read the report summary

Throughout Western Oregon, there are a number of key public safety and government buildings built to lax earthquake standards. The study concluded that the on-ramp to the Astoria-Megler bridge would likely collapse, along with a number of other bridges throughout Western Oregon.

Virtually all of the state's natural gas and liquid fuel plants lie along the Willamette River in Portland. Even if they survived a quake and floods, getting fuel moved to sustain homes and businesses would be disrupted, the study indicated.

Thursday KGW asked several homeowners if they thought they were prepared, should a powerful earthquake hit the area. Most shared the same reaction.

“I don’t think we're prepared at all," said Mark Lawson, a Southeast Portland resident. "We have some general first aid kits, but we don’t have anything special. We don’t keep water in our basement or extra rations of food.”

(KGW reporter Keely Chalmers also contributed to this report.)

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