Media Room

Cascadia Playbook Roll-out
September 15, 2015

Good morning. Thank you, Director Phelps, for your kind introduction.

In 2013, our state had the good fortune to swear in Adjutant General Dan Hokanson.  He brought to Oregon his vision for this Cascadia Playbook.  

There is no doubt that a natural disaster like a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and ensuing tsunami would be devastating. Our reliance on first responders like the National Guard would be unprecedented in such an event.  

When the first version of this playbook rolled out in 2014, it was very well-received by state leaders and the public.  I was grateful to learn earlier this year that an update was in the works, which we’re rolling out today.

The Cascadia Playbook accomplishes three essential functions for state agencies:
First, it lays out assignments for the different players who have a role in emergency response. This will help keep our efforts organized in a time of chaos.
Second, it provides a checklist of immediate actions required by our Emergency Support Function team experts.
Finally, it provides organizational clarity for existing plans developed by local emergency management partners.

It is critical that the State is ready to respond to a major natural disaster like the one contemplated here in this book. 

But even more critical is that individual citizens and communities also prepare for disaster themselves.  Oregonians should have emergency plans for their families, and their homes should be stocked with food, water, and all critical items to help them sustain extended periods of time without electricity or plumbing.  

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management’s website has a lot of information to help citizens prepare.

In addition, our communities need to embark on resilience planning.  During the 2015 legislative session, we approved funding for a Resiliency Officer in the Governor’s Office.  I am looking forward to welcoming this new member to my team whose sole focus will be resilience planning.  

We are also pursuing federal dollars through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development National Disaster Resilience Competition. While the award is limited to a few communities, the concept being developed is an exciting one.  The grant monies would be used in part to create a “Resilience Incubator” so we could track successful resilience projects and assist local communities to adapt such projects based on their communities’ unique needs.  

We know that many of our rural communities are struggling, and paying for consultants on projects can be a real challenge.  The hope is to allow local communities to benefit from projects that have proven to be successful and not have to duplicate effort. 

We cannot predict when the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami will occur, or if it will in our lifetimes.  Planning for such an unknown is hard, but it is critical.  
Each of us has a role to play – individual citizens, communities, and the state and federal governments.  

While the Cascadia Playbook can’t keep the worst natural disaster from happening, it will help ensure that if and when it does, Oregon is as prepared as possible.