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Massive earthquake on Oregon's horizon

Engineers and experts want to help us prepare

C.O. talks earthquake preparedness

BEND, Ore. - A series of three earthquakes struck off the Oregon coast Sunday, felt by few on land. The state hasn't experienced a major earthquake recently, but experts warn a massive quake is on the horizon.

"Oregon, you know, we're not used to being considered earthquake country, but we are and we're learning that that's the case," said Deschutes County Road Department Director Chris Doty said Monday.

Allison Pyrch, a geotechnical engineer, said Oregonians need to be prepared, because the state is overdue for a massive event.

"The Cascadia subduction zone is the earthquake that's been getting a lot of media lately. It's a 9.0, just like they've had in Japan about five years ago. It would be major shaking along the western portion of the state (and) a tsunami," Pyrch said.

According to Oregon State University scientists. there's a 37 percent chance of an 8.0 or 9.0-magnitude quake hitting in the next 50 years.

"It's most definitely a catastrophic event," Doty said. "There's just a significant amount of bridges that aren't structurally capable of surviving an earthquake of the magnitude that they're anticipating.".

Pyrch said while the coast will feel the brunt of the of the physical effects, the aftermath will greatly affect Central Oregon.

"Bend and Redmond are in an area where ODOT, the Office of Emergency Management and FEMA are all actually planning on bringing a lot of materials in there and then distributing them by air," she said. "So even if they don't feel a lot of the earthquake effects, they will be heavily affected by the Cascadia event.".

She said the threat has been getting more media attention lately, but the level of awareness still isn't where it needs to be.

"I don't think that Oregonians in general understand exactly how bad it's going to be," she said.

The Oregon section of the American Society of Civil Engineers is hosting a free community event Tuesday. There will be a screening of the documentary 'Unprepared,' followed by a panel discussion.

More information can be found at www.asceor.org.


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