2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 16-11
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


RUBIN, Jeffrey, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, 11945 SW 70th Ave, Tigard, OR 97223, jeff.rubin@tvfr.com

Despite containing one of the greatest seismic hazards in the US, the threat to the Pacific Northwest was “discovered” < 40 years ago and the region – particularly Oregon – still struggles with seismic awareness, much less resilience. The region has few major disasters and a < 1% annual occurrence rate for damaging earthquakes, making resilience a challenge. Oregon’s seismic focus is on a great earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, with prolonged and intense shaking, extensive liquefaction, and catastrophic tsunamis. The combination of interdependent and largely susceptible infrastructure and poorly-performing building stock generates critical vulnerability for millions of people.

Oregon has turned to geoscience for guidance on seismic hazards and mitigation over the years, even specifying science-based policy in statute, but this decade has seen an intentional solicitation of geoscience and engineering input for policy decisions on seismic resilience. The Oregon Legislature established the Oregon Resilience Plan (ORP), completed in February 2013, to “make recommendations on policy direction to protect lives and keep commerce flowing during and after a Cascadia (megathrust) earthquake and tsunami.” The legislature established another ad hoc group, the Oregon Resilience Task Force, charged with recommending a focused list of priorities to implement the ORP, with a final report in October 2014 and actions starting by early 2015. Recommendations are based on the best available science, but science and ad hoc advisory groups are in themselves insufficient to establish meaningful processes toward resilience. Maintaining engagement is critical; the next few years should indicate how sustainable the results are likely to be.

  • Rubin-GSA-T143_OR_resilience_101914.pdf (3.1 MB)
  • OR_Resilience_Plan_Impl_Recs_100114.pdf (347.9 kB)
  • Oregon_Resilience_Plan_Executive_Summary_Final_0213.pdf (1.2 MB)