Natural hazards that have and will continue to disrupt the lives of Oregonians include coastal erosion, drought, dust storms, earthquakes, fire, flood, landslide and debris flows, sea level rise, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, windstorms, and winter storms. In addition, climate change may influence the frequency and severity of some of these natural hazards.
Disasters occur as a predictable interaction among three broad systems: natural systems, the built environment, and social systems. It is impossible to predict exactly when natural hazards will occur, or the extent to which they will affect communities within the state. However, with careful planning and collaboration, it is possible to minimize the losses that can occur from natural hazards.
Natural hazard mitigation is the combination of short- and long-term actions taken to reduce or eliminate risk of damage to life, property, and resources from natural hazards. Mitigation is the responsibility of individuals, private businesses and industries, state and local governments, and the federal government. Engaging in mitigation activities provides the state with a number of benefits, including reduced loss of life, property, essential services, critical facilities, and economic hardship, and reduced short-term and long-term recovery and reconstruction costs.
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) was signed into law on November 23, 1988 and provides the legal authority for most federal disaster response activities, particularly Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activities and programs. The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) amended the Stafford Act, emphasizing the need for state, local, and Indian Tribal entities to coordinate hazard mitigation efforts. It made the existing requirement for states to have hazard mitigation plans a prerequisite for disaster assistance, and provided an incentive in the form of additional funding for states that enhance coordination and integration of mitigation planning and activities. DMA 2000 also established a requirement that local governments have mitigation plans as a condition of receiving certain mitigation grant funds.
To implement DMA 2000, FEMA published Interim Final Rule 44 CFR Part 201 on February 26, 2002. The Rule contains the requirements for developing state and local natural hazard mitigation plans (NHMPs) and requires them to be updated every three years and five years, respectively. The first Oregon NHMP was completed in 1992; it was updated in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2012. This project will update the 2012 Oregon NHMP by March 5, 2015.
The Oregon NHMP is a document within Volume I, Preparedness and Mitigation, of the State Emergency Management Plan, administered by the Oregon Military Department, Office of Emergency Management.