Portland needs seismic upgrades, engineer says

Geotechnical engineer Yumei Wang says magnitude 9 earthquake 'extremely likely'

Oregon State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Geotechnical engineer Yumei Wang, October 21, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — “The big one” predicted to hit the Cascadia subduction zone could cause massive destruction in the Portland Metro area.

Geotechnical engineer with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Yumei Wang said more upgrades are needed in order to be prepared, as a region, for a quake of the magnitude scientists are predicting.

In a presentation to Multnomah County commissioners Monday, Wang said several buildings and bridges require updating and repair.

From bridges to infrastructure in the Portland area, a magnitude-9 earthquake would cause a lot of shaking and damage, Wang said.

Wang said we are extremely likely to have an earthquake of that magnitude, and some of the region’s most valued tall buildings, water systems and schools are at risk.

“Many of them are potentially capable of collapsing in an earthquake,” she said.

Wang said preparing homes and personal safety strategies should be taken very seriously.

She recommends removing any heavy or breakable items from high places.

“It’s what we call resilience. We want to be able to take a big punch and recover from it,” said Wang.

Scientists and engineers cannot predict when a massive Cascadia quake will hit. But, it’s better to be more prepared than less.