Hard To Measure If 2011 Japan Tsunami Changed Preparedness On NW Coast

By Tom Banse

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan served as a wake up call for coastal residents and visitors on our shores. Now two years later, it is hard to measure how much that disaster has changed tsunami readiness on the Pacific Northwest coast.

Althea Rizzo is the geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management. She says she's certain tsunami awareness has increased.

Althea Rizzo: "There have been a number of academic studies over the last 10 to 15 years that have shown that people are becoming much more aware about the earthquake and tsunami hazard here."

But what Rizzo really wants to see is people converting awareness into action. She's encouraged by evolving plans to move some vulnerable coastal schools to higher ground. But by another measuring stick, she says there's backsliding. The federal government provides most of the money for tsunami education and preparation. President Obama's proposed 2014 budget zeroes out the main program.

Ceremonies in Newport, Oregon and Long Beach, Washington Sunday marked the second anniversary of the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In Newport, a small crowd attended the dedication of an outdoor exhibit. It's built around a piece of the tsunami debris dock that washed ashore last summer. In Long Beach, people folded origami cranes. That's a traditional gesture to send luck to Japan for rebuilding.


Upcoming Tsunami Preparedness Presentations, hosted by Oregon Emergency Management Division:

March 11: Seaside
Broadway Middle School Library,1120 Broadway St. Seaside, Ore., from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

March 12: Astoria
Astoria Library, 450 10Th St., Astoria, Ore., from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

March 14: Rockaway Beach
Neah-Kah-Nie High School, 504 N. Third Ave., Rockaway Beach, Ore., from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

March 15: Lincoln City
Driftwood Public Library, 801 U.S. 101 Lincoln City, Ore., from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

March 19: Florence
Siuslaw Public Library, 1460 Ninth Street, Florence, Ore., from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

March 21: Coos Bay
Hales Center Auditorium, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay, Ore., 7:00-8:30 p.m.

March 23: Brookings
Brookings Elks Lodge, 800 Elk Dr., Brookings, Ore., 2:00-4:00 p.m.

"Let's Talk Tsunamis" presentations, hosted by Pacific County Emergency Management Agency:

• Naselle Timberland Library
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 – 6:00 pm

• South Bend Timberland Library
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 – 5:30 pm

• Ocean Park Timberland Library
Saturday, March 23, 2013 – 12:00 pm

• Raymond Timberland Library
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 – 6:00 pm

• Ilwaco Timberland Library
Saturday, March 30, 2013 – 11:00 am

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