Would Oregon fare as well as Chile did in an 8.3?

Remarkably low death toll in Chile spurs question of Portland's preparedness

People evacuate a mall in Santiago after a powerful earthquake, in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The magnitude-8.3 earthquake hit off Chile's northern coast causing buildings to sway in Santiago and other cities and sending people running into the streets. Authorities reported one death in a town north of the capital.(Nadia Perez/AGENCIA UNO via AP) CHILE OUT - NO USAR EN CHILE
People evacuate a mall in Santiago after a powerful earthquake, in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The magnitude-8.3 earthquake hit off Chile's northern coast causing buildings to sway in Santiago and other cities and sending people running into the streets. Authorities reported one death in a town north of the capital.(Nadia Perez/AGENCIA UNO via AP) CHILE OUT - NO USAR EN CHILE

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The death toll in Wednesday night’s 8.3 magnitude earthquake in Chile is remarkably low for the powerful impact the quake had, experts tell KOIN 6.

The death toll as of Thursday morning stood at 10.

Experts agree that if an earthquake that size was to hit Oregon, there would likely be a higher death toll and much more damage.

The City of Portland is keeping close tabs on what unfolds in the aftermath of the quake in Chile.

“The quake danger in Chile is very similar to what we have off the coast of Oregon,” Dan Douthit, the spokesperson City of Portland tells KOIN.

In order to be prepared for a possible quake in Oregon, the city has updated building codes and improved infrastructure.

“In Chile it’s important to remember in 1960 they had the largest earthquake in the history, in recorded history occurred,”  Douthit says. “Based on that and other quakes, their building codes are some of the best in the world.”

Portland is encouraging homeowners and private businesses to start earthquake retrofitting.

“Now our building codes are starting to catch up with other parts of the world but we’re not quite exactly where Chile or California or Japan happens to be.”

Officials and geologists will be working in the coming months to debrief and learn from Chile so that Portland can be better prepared.

Beginning Monday, watch KOIN 6 News in every newscast for in depth reports on earthquake preparedness during Quake Week. 

 

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