SALEM, Ore. - (Update with Prineville police on list)
On Friday, the committee overseeing Oregon's Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program announced 100 schools and 47 emergency services facilities will receive $153.6 million in state grant funds, including more than $1.2 million for the city of Prineville Police Department building.
Prineville's grant of $1,249,260 was the only one for Central Oregon among the latest round of the program, which provides funding for construction work on schools and other critical public buildings to better prepare the structures to withstand a major earthquake.
The realization that Oregon is at risk of a major, Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake drove the bipartisan effort to invest now to protect critical community structures from catastrophic damage. Governor Brown and the Oregon Legislature, led by support from Sens. Peter Courtney and Ted Ferrioli, are helping to address the issue by prioritizing funding to increase statewide resilience and promote community preparedness.
"Ensuring every community in the state, particularly in rural regions, has safe community gathering places and emergency response infrastructure will be key to Oregon's recovery from a significant seismic event," Governor Brown said. "While this may seem to be a daunting task, we're making steady progress, through a concerted and coordinated effort by communities, individuals, businesses, and as a state, toward building more resilient Oregon."
This is the second round of funding released through the program this biennium, which is administered by Business Oregon. Schools throughout Oregon received $50 million for 41 retrofit projects last April, the first phase of $205 million in program funding established in this biennium's budget. Before Friday's awards, the program had made 118 awards totaling $108 million.
“In the last year, we have more than tripled Oregon's investment in the seismic safety of our schools. It's taken 15 years to get here. It's still not enough. Hundreds of schools still need to be upgraded,” said Senate President Peter Courtney. “We can't lose our momentum. We have to make up for lost time. The ‘Really Big One' is coming. It's overdue. The Legislature needs to make another significant investment in the safety of Oregon's school children before this session is over. We have to make our schools safe.”
"Oregonians have been hearing about 'The Big One' for so many years, many may have grown tone-deaf and complacent. But our emergency planners are telling us 'It's real, and it's coming!'” said State Senator Ted Ferrioli. "Communities need to prepare by making sure schools have been seismically retrofitted so they won't 'pancake' during a large quake. These buildings must survive, not only to protect children, but so they'll be available to serve as emergency operations centers, field hospitals, rendezvous points for families, and places where community response can be coordinated. Then we must also turn our attention to police stations, fire halls and ambulance centers from which 'First Responders' are dispatched."
The seismic rehabilitation program began funding projects in 2009. Details on how the program works, eligibility, process and history can be found on the program web page.
See a complete list of the new grant recipients here.