Oregonians warned to prepare for ‘big one’ – roads cut off for 5 years, no electricity for 3 months, no gas for 6 months

September 22, 2013OREGONSitting on a major fault line, Oregon is “like an eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy, due any time now” for a major earthquake, a geologist with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management told an overflow crowd Friday in Medford. “We’re in the zone, and we’d darn well better get ourselves ready for it,” said Althea Rizzo, geology hazard coordinator for OEM. “A lot of you may have moved here from California to escape them, but the fact is, Oregon is earthquake country.” About half the hands went up when Rizzo asked how many had been through a California earthquake. Rizzo said there’s a 37 percent chance the Big One will happen in the next 50 years. A major earthquake would cripple transportation on Interstate 5 as bridges and overpasses collapse from two to four minutes of ground shaking, possible very severe, with stressful aftershocks for weeks. “It’s going to shake here,” she said. “Single-family homes will bounce off their foundations. Landslides will cause transportation between I-5 and (Highway) 101 on the coast to be cut off for three to five years.” A big quake will cause liquefaction, in which the ground, if saturated with water, will “turn to pudding,” causing hardware, such as sewer systems, septic lines and gas tanks, to rise up out of the earth. Lines from Washington state gasoline refineries cross 15 rivers, leaving them vulnerable to quake tremors, she says. Most of these were built in the mid-20th century, with no thought to making them quake-resistant, she says, adding that they would be offline for at least six months. Electrical power would be down from one to three months until transformers and the electrical grid get going again, she says. 
A region’s markets have food enough for only three days, so families should store at least three weeks of nonperishable food — tuna, beans, freeze-dried items — and other vital commodities, such as toilet paper. Rizzo advocates planning on the household, regional and statewide levels before the inevitable quake emanates from the “big, bad, ugly” Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs 600 miles from about Eureka, Calif., to the north end of Vancouver Island. The North American tectonic plate, on which the Rogue Valley rests, is moving southwesterly a couple of inches a year, overriding oceanic plates and building up tension. When the tension is released, she said, it causes far-reaching land quakes and lifts an enormous amount of sea water, which will slam the Oregon Coast with tsunamis. Partial quakes happen on an average of every 240 years. The last one was in 1700, so it’s been 213 years. Quakes of the entire length of the zone come every 500 to 600 years and governments should expect those to be 9.0 or more on the Richter scale — tremendously devastating. They cannot be predicted, Rizzo said. Another blow to Oregon would come if vital utilities and transportation were cut off for so long that major businesses left the state and took jobs and money with them. A dozen years ago, Oregon authorized $2 billion in bonds to bolster infrastructure in schools, community colleges and emergency services, but the recession, she said, took that off-track. Rizzo urged several hundred local residents to spread the word to family and friends to take first-aid and Community Emergency Response Team training, store supplies and get to know your neighbors and people who have training and tools. Communities must assess risks to buildings, roads, power, water and sewer lines, she said, adding that people should learn to “drop, cover and hold” and practice getting to safe places in their homes. Wall art should be screwed down, big furniture, water heater and bookcases secured, and heavy items kept close to the floor, not up high where they could fall on people. “You need to practice this over and over because when it’s happening you’re not going to be able to think,” she said. –Mail Tribune
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64 Responses to Oregonians warned to prepare for ‘big one’ – roads cut off for 5 years, no electricity for 3 months, no gas for 6 months

  1. Margie says:

    Thanks for the warning. Will share with family and friends. This is SERIOUS. There have been numerous quakes in Alaska and different places in California. Oregon has mountains, so that should help protect. I wouldn’t want to be living along the coast of Oregon. There are tsunami signs there, have been for years. Used to love to go to the coast, until Japan’s earthquake happened.

    It makes sense to be wise and prepare for such an event. At least have water and essentials to get by. After seeing the hardship Japan has had. This warning should be heeded. A couple of years ago, we had an earthquake safe foundation put in; that is approved by California, so our house will be safer in a shake.

    We saw what happened in California in 1989 when a portion of the bay bridge fell and the disaster it caused to the Nimitz Freeway, how it collapsed and lives were lost. It was a very shaky day. We do need to trust the Lord, and also be wise and be ready for whatever comes.

    • Im

      It’s wise to be prepared, because the anticipation will play nothing like the reality. We are only at the beginning of a course of cataclysms that will run their course, unimpeded, across the face of the entire globe.

    • Michele says:

      FYI, the mountains are there BECAUSE of earthquakes. They are formed by convergent boundaries where two tectonic plates collide and create mountain ranges. You’re not likely to get much “protection” from them…

    • I lived on the North Coast , in Seaside Or. for 22 years . Most of my friends , & some family still live there . It’s amazing how many in the community don’t even give it a thought . We had tsunami drills once a month . I worked at carrying my supplies up a steep hill trying to get higher each time . I’m 63 with some disabilities so, I had to work at it . I had supplies , made plans for my pets , etc.
      Two years ago my Husband & I decided , to move across the country to be closer to our Son & his family in Michigan , our only child . I still miss my home ,(born & raised in Or. ). We live across the street from Lake Superior ,so I really don’t miss the Pacific Ocean , except , I WOULD KILL FOR FRESH OYSTERS , CLAMS ,& DUNGENESS CRAB !!
      When the tsunami happened in Japan , we went to stay with friends inland. I think it was the 1st time we had thoughts of moving .
      I just hope when it comes that people have smartened up, & are prepared.
      PS: the Seaside Police Dept. had a Seismograph in the office !

      • Margie says:

        Nice story of what you have experienced Wendy. We love in Oregon away from the coast, so I’m glad about that. At least there’s some mountains.

    • Keith Martin says:

      The Oregon coast it a rocky and tall mass of dunes and cliff walls dotted with bays, rivers and streams draining the coast range. When a quake happens the waves here every year hit the coast at 50 feet tall just due to wind energy…. the land has created a natural wall to hold the big blue wet thing at bay. If on the beach your enjoying the beautiful weather and shell hunting and find the ground reacting to the worlds movement…. its called high ground and its everywhere…. don’t run but walk quickly. Your about to see nature unleashing a power most humans will never see and you should see it with wonder in your eyes not terror in your heart.

    • Zira No says:

      “Oregon has mountains, so that should help protect.” What is that supposed to mean? You know many of our mountains here were created from earthquakes…don’t you?

  2. madelon dribbles says:

    Keep me posted. Thank you.

  3. Irene C says:

    And I pray that people are listening and preparing.

  4. The Happy Farmer says:

    I believe in being prepared. Start a small farm or a large garden. Food is one of the most important things to have. Grow thousands of carrots, parsnips, onions and garlic. These plants over winter well and can be dug up any time when needed, so you do not have to harvest and can them like other garden vegetables. I use a pick ax to dig them up in the winter if the ground is frozen.
    Learn how to filter rain water and install an old fashion hand operated water pump on your well.
    A wood stove is a good way to heat and stock up on lots of cord wood.

    • I’m doing the same .
      Wood furnace , garden , buying meat , & eggs from a local farmers natural meat store .
      I’m canning , freezing , & dehydrating. I could live off the grid for months possible years .
      Oil lamps & non electric tools are important too.

  5. Dennis E. says:

    WE all live in an earthquake zone or a potential one. Just recently there was a 2.0 in my area in a place no one would ever think.
    In this article the person says that there is a 37 per cent chance within the next fifty years
    the big one could happen. As you read further down the article and the advise that is provided you would think he really believes it could happen at any time.

    • Just because they say it happens every so many years ,does not make it any less important ! They can only make educated guesses .
      However living on the Oregon coast for twenty two years , I can tell you that these events are escalating !

  6. Bobi Becker says:

    Being we live in Central Oregon, East of the Cascade range, I had asked the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program what damage we could expect over here. There reply was that yes indeed we would feel the Earthquake and any buildings higher than 2 stories would sustain major damage as well as other buildings plus our power and utilities will be disrupted. None of the construction here is Earthquake resistant. For the past several years, I have been telling folks about this and they look at me as if I am from Mars….. And, as the old saying goes, ” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it”. I do not look forward to this inevitable event and hope others will prepare…. At this point, it is all in God’s hands….. Blessed be….

  7. This could happen almost anywhere. Almost half the country lives on a faultline. If and when it does occur, you can kiss your preparations goodbye. Nothing will go the way you think it will. The best thing you can do at that time, is hunker down and pray!!!!

  8. Jordan says:

    Interesting how this site always has some extinction like event to post about every day… But the articles are great! Keep them coming!

  9. Tom says:

    Correction: If the last partial quake was in 1700, it’s been 313 years, not 213 as stated in the article.

  10. I live on the central Oregon coast, right in the area most likely to be hit by one of these massive quakes, and I can tell you that most of the people here are still only vaguely aware of the threat, and out of the people who are aware of it most don’t take it very seriously. My fear is that this huge quake will catch most of my neighbors unprepared, and how many will lose their lives in the quake or the chaos that will ensue in its wake due to their lack of awareness?

  11. Rumplestiltskin says:

    If the USGS can’t do any better than spew fear, then they need to crawl back into the holes they crawled out of. 50 years indeed. Can’t you boys and girls do better than 50 years? If you can determine that a quake is coming within say, one month, then we might consider your fear mongering of value.

  12. Richard McNamara says:

    We will rebuild starting day one, Government hand wringing wont cut it, We can build roads in days without interference.

  13. Rick Owen says:

    Mount rainier is rated one of the top 10
    most dangerous volcanos in the world and is also overdue eruption! It’s one of the top 10 because of its proximity to
    Populated areas!

  14. Riley says:

    It’s been 313 years since the 1700 earthquake, not 213 as stated. If you want to have legitimacy you have to get this stuff right.

  15. Ron Clark says:

    The Main Idea here is …. GET READY NOW. A quake of this magnitude will not spare anyone. In 2 weeks most, if not all, food resources will empty and water services not working. SO Stock up, have a lot of water and food stores, Soup cans, Dried beans, Pork and beans … you get the Idea. It will not be fun during those first 2 weeks.

  16. randydutton says:

    The writer made at least one mistake: “The last one was in 1700, so it’s been 213 years…” It’s been 313 years. But the Big One actually is about every 500 years. There’s an intermediate one that hits every 260 years. As a resident in western Washington near the coast, I bought up on a bluff, far enough from the tsunami flow that would wipe out coastal towns. Those who rely on ‘big government’ will be shocked how little help will come the first couple weeks.

  17. Uh oh! This is right where I live. Thanks for this update…hmmmm

  18. Mike says:

    how many deaths do you think will occur I live in Ashland and I go to southern Oregon university should we be worried

    • Concerned; never worried. Concerned enough to prepare by taking prudent steps to have supplies on hand,
      in the event of service disruptions from a calamitous event. This video covers some basic items in the Red Cross Survival Kit

      You can also pick up a copy of my book Hazard – which tells you how to survive any natural disaster.


  19. greenfrog says:

    No roads for 5 years what? why cant they build new roads after? am I missing something? roads don’t take five years to fix.

    • Michelle says:

      They will work on getting the big cities up and going first. Then they will have a lot of debris and stuff to get out of the way before making a brand new highway!

    • Hemlock says:

      Roads do not take five years to fix but if every bridge went down, we would be lucky to see them all fixed within five years…

      • velirotta says:

        Road rebuilding takes massive amounts of equipment, engineering, manpower, and diesel fuel for every mile of highway damaged. These resources don’t appear magically.

  20. Angelsong says:

    Interestingly, author Terri Blackstock wrote a Christian book series back in 2005 starting with Last Light. It was fiction, and yet it showed what could and would ensue following an unexpected event in the heavenlies. With threats of all shapes and sizes bearing down on us today, this book series might be enlightening to someone wishing to know just what magnitude being off the grid could be for us. I heard that Janet Napolitano alluded in her farewell speech that a major cyberattack is on the way, so being ready for the unthinkable in any sense of the word would be wise..Trust God, pray, and let Him direct your path!

    • Susan says:

      Yes I’ve read that series and also the novel, One Second After which is an even more realistic scenario. The author, Mr. Fortson I think has researched the topic extensively and was even asked to brief congress during the last administration. He estimates that a worldwide event would cause 90% of the population to die off within three years because of starvation, disease and breakdown of society. Scary stuff for sure.

  21. Jamie Lant says:

    This is science, let’s leave god out of this.

    Have you ever counted the overpasses/bridges on I-5? When there’s a complete collapse or blockage every mile or two it’s gonna take a while to do anything about it. We can’t work on them all at once because we wont be able to get to them all. Road crews will have to clear one to get to the next. Will there even be road crews? These guys and gals have families/houses too. What if they cant even get to work? Will the government pay people to come to our area to help get things moving again? That’s a lot of red tape and paperwork.

    It will definitely be a tough time. Communities will be tested. You’ll most likely see the true colors of all your neighbors. I hope you’ve been a good one because to do it alone will be nearly impossible. Those of us in rural areas will be much better off than those in the cities because we have more resources per person. Expect looting and violence in urban areas.

  22. We live 6 miles from the coast and high up enough should a tsuami occur.We are very prepared but I worry about my kids and grandbaby in Portland(the bridge city).I5 would be a parking lot.How can I best help them to prepare.I’ve already taken them 72 hr.emergency food.Sounds like they need ALOT more!

  23. Karen says:

    We live in a tsunami zone in what is called the magnet area for them to occur. Some say we don’t pay attention? oh yes we do. But we also realize that we must live every day as normal as possible. Fearing what might happen any moment now will cause panic and chaos. Our harbor is almost finished after almost 3 years. Yes we got it from Japan thank you. Took out our harbor, putting all our commercial fisherman out of work and lots completely lost all they had. Many boats sunk and wrecked right in the harbor. Could we prevent that? Not anymore than we can prevent an earthquake, cyclone, tornado, hurricane. Can we prepare? Sure we can as many already do. Our electricity goes out alot here due to winter storms etc. Our roads close due to trees falling across them, landslides rolling boulders down upon our roads. In our town we have had all three routes out closed at the same time many times. Think about that one. Leaving us with the ocean to get out if we really need to. Common sense, rotating your stocked goods, having plenty of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries etc. And the list goes on. Have a wonderful happy evening and week ahead. Prepare for tomorrow, live for today and enjoy life to the fullest.

  24. Tr Kelley says:

    God and prayers have nothing to do with it. If prayers worked, disasters wouldn’t happen in the first place. Pack your Bible, but don’t forget beans and bullets and bleach.

  25. Sandy Nuss says:

    We in Crescent City California are very aware of this problem, we have a Tsunami now and again, some bad and some small, if the Subduction Zone goes we will have a bad quake and a Tsunmi 10 minutes later. Prepared is what we should all be no matter where we are.

  26. Michael says:

    Ok even though the information is very accurate on the type of quake and so on it will take around 50 years at the soonest. The actual big worry for all of us is Yellowstone as it is the last active super volcano in the united states. the springs there have been closed for some time due to tempurature increases. If this does occur it will cloud this country with a large ash cloud strong enough to block the sun for ex amount of years. The best thinbg to do is educate yourselves about how earthquakes work and so on. also being able to triangulate paterns also helps. look up the kmz files from the usgs for google earth and you will actually see just how the patters work. Recently we have had many 6.5 and above hit the panama canal. if this is to actually break the damn there it will allow the atlantic (which is a higher sea board) to drain into the pacific causeing the west coast to get a change in weather patterns. also it appears that the aleucian islands are also very active still. We do live in the ring of fire. So with that being said always have a disaster kit ready and arm yourselves with knowledge and logic not others paranoia

  27. Marcus Blair says:

    Before you read try to understand I speak in a form that requires your imagination while reading, thank you: Indian Ocean, Northeast up right Japan, East east south Oregon, 9.0 is close to being earth shattering events yes, but what about Yellowstone park. Let’s take the time to observe these chaotic events as I have said at the beginning. Don’t panic but visualize the outcome and think, does the whole entire West Coast need to be evacuated because of a prediction? Would our Government support this as making a rational decision to evacuate millions eastward. Would only make things worse, why?! If a 9.0 quake can cause Tsunamis, have you even thought about the crust cracking open and Volcanos erupting. You all don’t stand a chance so don’t listen to her and really get it while my super analytical prowess is at work. Your food and water will not suffice and the real panic happens when you all start dashing a riot to other states around you, that will create a border because of an increasing population crisis without enough food, water and shelter to supply the millions if they even make it. I am sorry and brutally honest when I say, that this is the cause of a chain reaction when you get plate tectonic movement and try to predict the next location that’s causing friction on an unstable planet. East east south Oregon from Japan and now after the pacific plate what’s east north? Like the universe expands so do we, but on a planetary continental scale accept it’s slowing down. Catastrophism, the one word my Earth science teacher taught me best before he died. You can’t stop it once it starts rolling, remember the world is changing and you must adapt in order to survive. Panicking doesn’t exist, your first thought is what you believe is best so go with it and be totally unafraid. Keep in mind this is just my way of thinking, I might not show it on the outside but I truly do care. And Aquarius is next in age. “Save yourself before I do”. -Marcus Blair

  28. toryduff says:

    I’ve been through some BIG earthquakes in California. Part of my DNA seems to include a case of water, canned tuna, fire logs, rice, batteries and lanterns. The funny thing about an earthquake is one area will be damaged while the surroundings remain untouched. The problem is, you don’t know …

  29. Alice Massoglia says:

    The thing to remember here is that this is likely to happen sometime WITHIN the next 50 years or so. ‘WITHIN’ starts in the next minute after you read this. It is not ’50 years from now’. We are in the probability window NOW. We need to plan and act accordingly. I was living in Northridge during the Northridge ‘quake. Stockpile water, food and fuel. I spent most of a week boiling water for our entire block because the piped in water was not safe to drink. (we had a camp stove and a case of butane bottles for it) A neighbor had a gasoline powered generator and came around to each house on the block for an hour each day to keep freezers cold so that we had edible food instead of a pile of garbage that would not be picked up for weeks. The whole street got together each night and cooked on a couple of barbecue grills because no-one had gas or electric to cook with. This is real, and happens with NO warning. Be ready, folks.

    • Margie says:

      What your saying Alice, makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing your own experiences with us. What you folks did sound wonderful! Working together like that. Everyone has something to contribute at a time like that. We definitely need to have the basics.

  30. Stuart says:

    G/Day from Australia ! Sounds to me like the American Government is hedging it’s bets with regard to natural disasters happening in Florida and Oregan. How can they predict natural disasters unless they are planning on using HAARP ?

  31. Sue Lyssa says:

    Learn where your local shelters are, stock one month of supplies. The Marina District survived because we had the information at our fingertips in every phonebook. Print out the emergency info, locations, laminate them and stash them by the front door. Inform your local emergency services if you are disabled, that puts you on a list to be checked on in case of natural disasters.

  32. Corie Hefley says:

    I’m a little nervous about this, I have no steady home I’m in at the moment and have no way to prepare for this thing. I have lived in Oregon my whole life and have never been in a earthquake at all.

  33. Don Van Veldhuizen says:

    Don’t for get the water. Three to seven days after a disaster, cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other water borne diseases hit. Food does you little good if you can’t keep it down. 1 gallon of water per day/person. That is where I feel prepared. I can provide up to 3000 gallons per day with a variety of power supplies, or 600 gallons per day with no power.

  34. Mark Randall says:

    jan 26 1700 same earthquake from mouth of columbia formed humboldt bay right along 101 cliff at eureka 50 feet in a matter of seconds liquefaction say goodbye. we;ve been here for like a split second and we’ll probably be gone soon just like every other civilization that destroyed its forests

  35. Craig says:

    Wow. all the wackos are coming out. If, or when, this event occurs don’t rely on gardens or large suuplies of water. concentrate on getting out of the damage zone. Funny, even a guy who markets diaster prepardness kits is here selling his stuff.

    Keep in mind the damage the 1989 quake did to Cali with a 7.2 or so quake was devistating. I know becuase I was living in San Jose at the time. Don’t think the predicted 9.0 is just a bit larger than the 1989 quake. A 9.0 will completely destroy the west coast of the US and Canada. The following tidal waves will completely destroy what is left. If you are that concerned with getting caught by this predicted event, move east young man, move east.

  36. I have started teaching classes on how to prepare for the BIG ONE. My classes in Merrill, Oregon have started to show some progress of how important this really is. Please, don’t leave it till tomorrow, find out what you can do to help yourself.

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