Richard Read/The Oregonian The next great Cascadia subduction-zone earthquake will kill thousands in Oregon and cause at least $32 billion in economic losses unless preparations are radically overhauled, a state panel says.
When, not if, the magnitude-9.0 quake strikes — let alone an accompanying tsunami — Oregon will face the greatest challenge in its history, the state earthquake commission said in a 290-page draft report released Monday to The Oregonian.
Buildings will be so severely damaged that restoring full utility service will take three months to a year in western valleys and far longer on the coast, the commission found. Businesses tend to move or fail if utilities aren’t up in a month.
“So Oregon faces a very real threat of permanent population loss and long-term economic decline,” said the report, which recommends 50 years of seismic upgrades and other investments — price tag incalculable.