Oregon’s Largest Newspaper Top Story: When — Not If — A Japan-Scale Event Hits Oregon, Expect Deaths, Widespread Destruction, Blackouts And Food Shortages. Are You Ready?
By Richard Read
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Oregon experts studying Japan’s recent earthquake damage expect that when — not if — a similar quake hits the Northwest, civilization as we know it will pretty much end for weeks or months.
Collapse-prone schools containing 306,000 Oregon children could shake apart. Portland’s Fremont Bridge and other spans and their approaches will likely fall. Landslides will probably bury highways, cutting off Oregon’s coast. Towers suspending high-voltage lines over the Columbia River may topple, blocking ships needed for emergency supplies.
The experts predict lengthy blackouts, food shortages and fuel outages. They expect tanks and pipes to rupture, leaking petroleum into the Columbia and Willamette rivers. They expect firefighters battling numerous blazes to be slowed by collapsed fire stations, broken water pipes and severed communications.
Members of a team traveling to Japan next month say damage from the March 11 magnitude-9 quake there was worse than reported amid the tsunami and nuclear calamities, and would be far more disastrous in Oregon given a lack of preparation.