Oregon Resiliency Report

Because the coast will suffer the worst consequences of this inevitable Pacific Northwest catastrophe, we emphasize the following main actions during the next 50 years:

  • Protecting lives requires consistent and relentless education and outreach based on up-to-date physical and social science.
  • Investing in hazard mitigation is necessary to reduce, relocate, and avoid exposure of vital community assets to tsunami devastation.
  • Strengthening of critical facilities in the earthquake-only zone must occur so they will be available when communities need them most.
  • Planning for reconstruction and recovery must be done now to provide a strategic vision for restoring the economy and livability of the Oregon coast.

Recommendation: Provide information about Cascadia earthquakes and tsunami in all hotels, motels, and short-term rentals. This should include information about tsunami evacuation routes.

Status: In progress. The Office of Emergency Management will hold "Hospitality Begins with Safety" and "2-Week Ready" campaigns.

Recommendation: Create tsunami evacuation modeling for each coastal community as a base level to estimate the likely fatality level. Models can be used to test improvements in evacuation measures and determine whether the improvements will reduce fatality levels.

Status: In progress. The Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Oregon State University, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have modeling and are educating the coastal communities.

Recommendation: Improve tsunami evacuation measures by further developing existing evacuation routes, creating new evacuation routes, bettering education and signage about evacuation routes, and creating vertical evacuation structures or buildings.

Status: In progress. Local efforts are funding dependent and are being done on a community-by-community basis.
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Recommendation: Develop plans to provide shelter, water, and food for residents and visitors.

Status: In progress. SB 850 (2017) Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) was tasked with creating two working groups, one of which will provide recommendations relating to mass care and mass displacement. Public meetings are being held to examine the following four areas of the legislation: provision of temporary shelters and semi-permanent and permanent housing; supplying adequate food and water; supplying emergency health services; and providing transition services and recovery assistance. A final report is due by Sept. 30, 2018.

Recommendation: Ensure that critical transportation links to the valley and along the coast survive the earthquake so that coastal communities are not cut off from relief and recovery efforts.

Status: Complete. The Oregon Department of Transportation identified critical transportation links and addressed this in their 2014 Seismic Plus Report​.
Recommendation: Use tsunami-resistant buildings as vertical evacuation structures to ensure the safety of people in the inundation zone where other options are limited, and use tsunami-resistant infrastructure for critical transportation, port facilities, and utilities.

Status: In progress. Oregon State University is building a new marine science center in Newport that will meet or exceed the standards set by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Recommendation: Make all government buildings, schools, and essential facilities located within tsunami zones more resilient by either:
  • having them relocate the facility outside of the tsunami zone,
  • building the facility with reinforced concrete to resist tsunami loads. (If such a strategy is adopted, consider using the facility as a Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Refuge (TVER), or
  • upgrading facilities to meet seismic life-safety standards, and create a backup facility outside of the tsunami zone.​
Statu​s: In progress. Moving a facility is a local decision. Two school districts either have moved or are planning to move out of the tsunami zone. Two hospitals are planning to move further away from the tsunami zone as well. Pending American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 17-6 new building codes standards, effective October 2019, new tsunami building standards will be part of this new code. The current Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program requires life-safety standards to be used when applying for grant funding. In 2018, the standard will be 'immediate occupancy' for schools and emergency facilities​.

Recommendation: Relocate the facility outside of the tsunami zone.

Status: In progress. Two school districts (Seaside and Waldport) either have moved or are planning to move out of the tsunami zone. Two hospitals within the Samaritan Health System (Newport and Lincoln City) are planning to move further away from the tsunami zone as well.
Recommendation: Encourage coastal communities to adopt the latest version of tsunami maps and analysis and to include these within local comprehensive plans.

Status: In progress. Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) Tsunami Interactive Maps: http://nvs.nanoos.org/TsunamiEvac.

​Recommendation: Work with local communities to develop comprehensive plans and policies related to becoming more resilient to tsunamis; such plans and policies should direct and authorize associated implementation actions.

Status: In progress. County natural hazards mitigation plans are being updated to include tsunami hazards for coastal counties. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), Oregon State University, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the U.S. Geological Survey are all providing data and modeling.

​​​Recommendation:  Support local governments' efforts to apply best practices and the tools developed by DLCD, when revising coastal communities’ comprehensive plans to increase resilience to Cascadia-type events.​

Status: In progress. DLCD has an ongoing effort​ to include staff for technical support in how best to use their tools in developing coastal planning efforts.

Recommendation: Support local governments as they review their respective urban growth boundaries to identify key community facilities which may need to be relocated to address substantial tsunami risk. Work with communities to develop local land use policies and strategies to address future relocation of these facilities.

Status: In progress. SB 311 was signed into law in June 2017, and authorizes cities or counties to adopt an ordinance or resolution providing property tax exemption to commercial, industrial and multifamily buildings built before January 1, 1993, that will be seismically retrofitted, for a period not to exceed 15 years. Tsunami risk was not included.
Recommendation: Develop and implement debris management programs for the recovery period following a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and tsunami.

Status: In progress. Debris management is a county responsibility and each county is developing its own plan to manage debris.
​Recommendation: Develop re-insurance or group insurance for the coastal zone to provide lower cost insurance to help with recovery efforts.

Stat​us: In progress. Upon the passage of Senate Bill 850 (2017), the Community Resilience bill, the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) held its first working group meeting on Sept. 12, 2017. SB 850 directed OSSPAC to establish two working groups, with one assigned to examine Oregon's residential earthquake insurance market and review best practice, including barriers of affordability and availability. OSSPAC is examining the 20-year-old program of the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and is being supported by the Insurance Division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.


For questions or comments, please contact the State Resilience Office​.
Future OSU Marine Studies Building

The Oregon State University Marine Studies building will be a national model for tsunami "vertical evacuation."

Learn more about DLCD's Oregon Coastal Management Program​