Megaquakes (8.7–9.2) occur regularly in the Pacific Northwest. The last mega quake that shook Portland occurred on January 26, 1700. For the past 10,000 years, the average time between mega quakes has been 300 years. The next one could happen tomorrow. The next mega quake will shake the foundations from Vancouver, BC to northern California. It will be the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, dwarfing Hurricane Katrina in damage, suffering and costs.
Don Francis of Ecotech and City of Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team coordinator Jeremy Van Keuren will speak at the Concordia Neighborhood Association’s general meeting May 3rd. They’ll share information on how prepare the inevitable big one and getting involved with a Neighborhood Emergency Team. The meeting will take place in the Community Room of McMenamin’s Kennedy School from 7 to 8:30pm.
In Portland, thousands of people will die and tens of thousands will be injured. Thousands and thousands of Portlander’s will be homeless, as homes built before 1980 slip off their foundations, crumple and collapse. “These houses are most vulnerable because unattached houses can slip off the foundations during a quake and sustain much more damage than would have occurred had they been retrofitted.”, said Francis.
Not all damage will be physical. The equity in the house they live in is where the wealth is stored for most middle class Americans. For unprepared homeowners, an earthquake can not only destroy their homes, if they survive, it can also leave them with nothing except a mortgage payment for a house that no longer exists. Bankruptcy may be final aftershock.We cannot prevent earthquakes. We can, however, be prepared.