Media Room


Governor Kate Brown
SB 1537 Resilience Testimony
February 5, 2020

Good morning Chair Riley, Vice Chair Girod, and honorable members of the committee. For the record, I am Governor Kate Brown. I am here to voice my support for SB 1537. Thank you for hearing this bill. 

For our communities and economy to continue to thrive, Oregon must be resilient and ready to recover from natural disasters. This, of course, includes an eventual Cascadia event — also known as “The Big One.” 

The last major earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault occurred January 26, 1700, just a couple of years before I was born. We’re long overdue, and if this same event were to occur today, the result would be devastating. 

We anticipate that Oregonians would be without essential services for weeks, and possibly months. 

It’s imperative that we pass SB 1537 in order to ensure Oregon is more prepared and ready for disasters. 

We have identified four major tasks that are critical to making Oregon more resilient in the event of a natural disaster: 

1. Taking steps to ensure that every Oregonian is Two-Weeks Ready , meaning that each family has a gallon of water per person and non-perishable items like peanut butter and spam. This requires intensive educational and outreach efforts, as well as identifying staging bases across Oregon to distribute critical resources. 

2. ShakeAlert, an Earthquake Early Warning System that will give Oregonians precious seconds to duck, cover, and hold. We’re the only state on the west coast without it. Every extra second of warning can save lives. 

3. Conduct safety assessments on high-risk dams to prioritize critical seismic investments and upgrades.

4. Update Oregon’s Resiliency Plan to strengthen coordination and response with state, local, tribal and underserved communities. The current plan is over ten years old, and we must update it. 

This package is about saving lives, protecting Oregon’s critical infrastructure, and preparing our communities across the state before a catastrophic event occurs. 

SB 1537’s $12.7 million investment is an opportunity to enhance public safety and disaster preparedness. Our coastal communities and those that are downstream from dams cannot wait. 

These in​vestments will complement existing tools to reduce risk and improve Oregon’s resilience. 

They will help us manage our supply chain so that we can quickly re-establish flows of water, food, medical supplies, transportation routes, fuel, and other critical resources for both short and long-term recovery. 

But most importantly, these investments will save lives. 

Thank you. I’d be happy to answer questions. ​