2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 332-8
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM


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

In four years, Oregon has gone from a series of ad hoc, unfunded committees to enacted legislation that sets the state on a path toward greater resilience. This was a big step for a state that still struggles with seismic hazard awareness; marking the active intersection of geoscience, policy, and communication. The region has few major disasters and a < 1% annual recurrence rate for damaging earthquakes, making awareness – much less resilience – challenging. Although it is not the only credible scenario, 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 susceptible, interdependent infrastructure and poorly-performing building stock generates critical vulnerability for millions of people, along with the specter of a permanently impaired economy.

From a legislative directive to “make recommendations on policy direction to protect lives and keep commerce flowing during and after a Cascadia (megathrust) earthquake and tsunami,” to contextual scenarios, to pending and existing policy, recent progress and Oregon’s resilience process as a whole has been driven not just by science, but by science communication. Geoscientists and engineers with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as in academe, led committees and workgroups, helped craft legislation, provided extensive legislative testimony, and interacted directly with local and national media. With the process still in its early stages, there are numerous examples of, and opportunities for, geoscientists’ engagement in policy development.

  • Rubin-GSA_T92_OR_Sci-Policy-Comm_110415.pdf (1.8 MB)