Some scientists say the Pacific Northwest is overdue for a massive earthquake. In the past couple weeks, Business Oregon awarded grants to schools and emergency services for seismic upgrades. But, the Governor and others want to substantially increase that investment.
Roseburg High School and the Depoe Bay fire station are among the seismic grant recipients. Those structures were determined to have a high likelihood of failure in case of earthquake. Ryan Frank is with Business Oregon. He says many structures were built before seismic safety was a consideration, and unreinforced brick buildings are particularly insecure:
Frank: "If you think of a Lego building and it's unreinforced, and if you were to shake it and have the pieces fall down, that's a scenario in which we would like to stabilize those buildings and make them more safe for school children."
Frank says large gathering spaces are also important to upgrade. The gym at Roseburg High School received $1.5 million for its remodel. But other vulnerable public buildings were not funded. In February, Governor Kitzhaber will propose allocating $100 million dollars to the next budget cycle for seismic grants. State Senator Peter Courtney is calling for a $200 million dollar investment.