LONGVIEW, Wash. -- Scientists and emergency managers say they fear the public is still woefully unprepared for disaster that is certain to happen in the Northwest.

Research indicates that major subduction earthquakes such as the 2011 temblor in Japan have shaken western Oregon and Washington once every 300 to 600 years on average. The last Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake occurred 312 years ago.

University of Washington's Bill Steele tells the Longview Daily News there's a 15 percent chance the next one will occur in 50 to 60 years. He says more evacuation routes, wide road and vertical tsunami shelters are needed.

Oregon researcher Chris Goldfinger says Northwest communities have place a priority on warning and alert system but not enough on evacuation facilities and caring for people once a quake hits.

Related: Japan Quake, Then and Now (Photos)

A TsunamiWarning was issued for areas of the Oregon Coast in the wake of the devastating quake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011. Many low-lying areas had to be evacuated, and several coastal communities sustained damage from the 1-2 meter tsunami wave that eventually reached the Oregon coast.

More: Coastal communities damaged by tsunami wave from Japan quake

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