Oregonian: Cascadia earthquake, tsunami could cost Oregon economy $32 billion

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View full size A car sits atop a wave-battered building in Tohoku, Japan, after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami there. Experts say that a magnitude-9.0 quake and tsunami could cause more than $30 billion in losses to the Oregon economy.
Richard Read/The Oregonian

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.

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Anteros Oberon
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