Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED

Governor Kate Brown
ShakeAlert Event
January 27, 2020

Good morning everyone!

I want to take a moment to recognize legislators in the room:
Senator Riley
Representative Nathanson
Representative Nearon
Representative Meek

Also
Treasurer Read
Professor Toomey

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. 

The last major earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault occurred on January 26, 1700, with an estimated 9.0 magnitude. It caused the coastline to drop several feet and generated a large tsunami that inundated coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest. 

If this same event were to occur today, we anticipate that Oregonians would be without essential services for weeks and possibly months.

So, one of my top priorities has been to improve the resilience of Oregon’s built infrastructure. 
That means buildings, bridges and roads.

To help achieve this, I appointed Oregon’s first State Resilience Officer to:
Build capacity for emergency preparedness.  
Connect core sectors to meet resilience goals statewide. 
Work with the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Committee to address seismic, building codes, land use, and resilience issues.  

This legislative session I have proposed an investment of $12.7 million to enhance public safety and disaster preparedness.

I have four major recommendations: 
1. 2-Week Ready Oregon - a campaign through OEM to prepare families for a Cascadia event
2. Dam Safety - resilience updates 
3. A data-based report card for the reliability of resources
4. ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System

The United States Geological Survey and its university and state ShakeAlert partners are working to implement earthquake early warning across the West Coast. 

This tool will complement existing tools to reduce risk and improve resiliency.

ShakeAlert will give us time to mitigate the damage to these important systems, such as drinking water, energy, medical, and waste-water systems.
 
But most importantly ShakeAlert will save lives. It is invaluable in mitigating our supply chain system so that they can quickly reestablish flows of water, food, medical supplies, fuel, and other critical resources for both short- and long-term recovery.
 
Over time we will build a culture of resiliency based on science and supported with education and training exercises.

Thank you for the support on this package. It is imperative that our state be resilient enough to face anything that comes our way, including and especially natural disasters like Cascadia.

And now let’s read and sign the proclamation:

WHEREAS: Geologists have determined that major earthquakes of magnitudes 8 or 9 have occurred many times in the past in the Pacific Northwest, including most recently on January 26, 1700, and another could occur at any moment; and

WHEREAS: Given our current lack of preparedness, such a quake could create the worst natural disaster in North American history; and

WHEREAS: As a society, we are increasingly recognizing this earthquake threat, but such recognition has not yet translated into a rapid increase in our earthquake resilience; and

WHEREAS: Much more can be done to increase resilience by individuals, families, community groups, businesses, government agencies, and operators of our lifeline infrastructure; and

WHEREAS: Greater recognition of the earthquake threat is key to motivating action by such individuals and groups.

NOW, THEREFORE: I, Kate Brown, Governor of the State of Oregon, hereby proclaim January 26 – February 1, 2020 to be CASCADIA EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS WEEK.