The recent New Yorker article has brought the seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest to the front and center in the news this week. The good news is that we’ve been working towards getting more prepared here in Oregon at the highest levels.
In response to the recommendations of the Task Force that was created after the acceptance of the Oregon Resilience Plan, this session the legislature considered more than a dozen bills related to seismic resiliency. Of these bills, 5 passed. They are summarized below. The first bill has created a State Resiliency Officer which is a very important step to getting Oregon ready.
Thank you for all of your support in letting the legislature know that resiliency is important for Oregon.
- HB 2270 - State Resilience Officer created in the Governor’s office
- HB 5005 - General Obligation Bonds funded the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) provided Schools with $176,870,000 and Essential Facilities with $30,444,000. It also provided schools with another $126,210,000 for matching funds to assist in safety and other improvements in existing buildings.
- HB 2566A - This bill makes it easier for out-of-state businesses to provide disaster or emergency services without it being used as the sole basis for determination of doing business in state.
- SB 85 - This bill allows local governments to create grant or loan guarantee programs for seismic rehabilitation projects for commercial, multi-family and industrial buildings by property owners.
- SB 775A This bill states that measures taken or vulnerability assessments conducted before a natural disaster to reduce the impact of the disaster is not admissible to prove negligence if damage, injury or death occur in the disaster. This results in a bit of belt and suspenders for legal liability, but an important step to get the major fuel suppliers to begin talking more openly about the issues in the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub (CEI) in NW Portland.