News May 24, 2012 at 4:00 am

City Quake Tour Dances Around Fears Over Portland's Harbor Wall—and Bridges


Good article to start explaining the amount of work that lies ahead of Portland and Oregon for us to prepare for the Cascadia earthquake. Besides buildings and bridges we have sewer, water, gas, and fuel tanks to upgrade. I am not surprised by O'Longaigh response. Additional studies and associated costs are not easy to consider during economic hard times. However these need to be done, and if they show the harbor wall at risk, it should be strengthened. The costs are high to do such work, but the costs of not doing so are much higher. The quake will happen, the question is how much time we have before it happens and whether we can will get the work done. We are gambling on the economic livelihood of Portland and Oregon. We are fortunate for the work that both Yumei and Carmen are doing.
O'Longaigh has made broad sweeping statements before to address public concerns that really make no sense. O'Longaigh relies more on political talk than technical expertise. For instance, it is a secondary matter that the harbor wall is in "great shape." One could walk the streets of downtown Portland and point out many Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings that are in "great shape", yet they contain inherent seismic vulnerabilites in their construction. And no one would argue those points. O'Longaigh is outgunned in the battle he was waging with Wang. His background is in building design, not bridges and soil-structure interaction. The City would be wise to accept Wang's advice and investigate mitigation measures. Instead O'Longaigh, arguably underqualified for his position, is engaging in political handwaving to remove the problem from public interest (at the detriment to the city). If you polled the engineering design community, both from the geotechnical and structural disciplines, it would, in my opinion, validate Wangs statements regarding seismic vulnerability of the harbor wall. Ultimately it would appear that the City of Portland PBOT is turning a blind eye to serious potential problem.
Readers wishing to navigate the perspectives on Portland’s vulnerability to earthquake damage should consider the Portland Earthquake Project’s Cascadia Lectures.

Next Tuesday, author Jerry Thompson and OSU seismologist Chris Goldfinger team up to present Thompson’s new book Cascadia’s Fault. May 29 at 7 PM at the Mercy Corps Action Center, free and open to the public:

Visit PEP on Facebook (…) for more information on related events and resources, and spread the word!
O'Longaigh wrote to Wang: "Just because a seawall failed in an earthquake in Japan does not mean it will fail in Portland."

Well that's a pretty mature and professional response from O'Longaigh. And yeah, just because a random deseaster happens in one country doesn't automatically mean the same thing won't happen in a totally diffent count.

But goddamn, it sure might. So Portland's seawalls are indeed stronger than ones on Japan?
Yay fear mongering!!!!
RT @TheOnlySomethingSomething How the hell is this fear mongering? The man is pointing out things that to be addressed. There isn't a single bit of hyperbole in any of his statements. Things really will be that bad.

The fact is, if you're downtown when the S-Waves hit, you're dead. That's a problem. The entire west coast is going to be a mess, meaning you can't expect the federal government to help fix the equivalent of 20 Katrina disasters. That's a problem. Since the transportation grid is going to be toast, getting relief supplies in will take forever. That's a problem.

All the problems are fixable as long preparations start now.
Clearly it's worse than the rosy story that politicians paint. After having Earthquake insurance for a year, my premium just got upped by 300% (!!!!). After many phone calls to make sure it wasn't erroneous or just our home that caused our premium to go up by triple, we were told that the rates for Oregon had been "adjusted" and that was now the "normal" competitive rate for the state. Since it seems obvious that all Insurance carriers will probably declare bankruptcy in the case of an 8+ Cascadia event (have you tried to get flood insurance since Katrina?), we told them that we would just cancel the policy and hope that with our seismic retrofit can prevent total loss of our home.

Let's talk about those raised rates.
Call the office when you get a chance, (503) 294-0840.
Or send me an email:

-Nathan Gilles

This is why we have been working hard to get people prepared.. Make sure you have MORE than 72 hours worth of supplies.. You can actually get to.. Check out a portland business that is working to help you with that.. Portland Preparedness Center.. they know whats really coming and are willing to tell you the truth about it.. This weekend at king school There is a preparedness event FREE to anyone called Resilience PDX…

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