New plan unveiled to help Oregon prepare for 'the big one'

New plan unveiled to help Oregon prepare for 'the big one'
The Oregon Resilience Plan claims the timetables to restore basic services after a major earthquake will be staggering. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – While most of us looked in horror at the images from the devastating Japan tsunami two years ago, Jay Wilson saw a harbinger of what will come to Oregon.

“Devastation, the unimaginable images they were capturing over there - sooner or later are going to become a reality,” Wilson said.

Wilson is one of more than 100 volunteers behind the Oregon Resilience Plan, a massive report that explains the stark realities we face living in quake country. The plan is a guidebook for state lawmakers, who will be in charge of completing recommendations set forth in the plan, like investing money to strengthen Oregon’s infrastructure.

The Legislature will be briefed on the plan later this week.

According to the report’s worst-case scenarios, 10,000 Oregonians could be killed by a big earthquake, and the timetables to restore basic services are staggering:

  • Electricity: 1-3 months
  • Police and fire stations: 2-4 months
  • Major roadways reopened: 6-12 months
  • Hospitals reopen: Up to 18 months

“The most fundamental aspects of our society we take for granted can all just be broken and taken away,” said Wilson.

Despite the devastation in Japan, the deep earthquake history there makes communities more prepared. We don’t have that history here, so the hope is that the Oregon Resilience Plan is enough to convince all of us to get ready.

“We haven’t had enough earthquakes to make us do the work,” Wilson said. “If we wait for the big one to happen, it’s too late.”