Preparing for the Big One

Portland. The Rose City. Home to the Rose Festival and the Portland Trailblazers. Known nation wide as THE craft brew mecca of the country; city of bridges, and… The New Earthquake Central.

Portland has the dubious distinction of being located just a (proverbial) stones throw away from the Cascadia Subduction Zone just 75 miles off the Washington, Oregon, and Northern California coast lines. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is created where the Juan de Fuca plate is being forced under the North American continent. The zone is approximately 1000km (about 620 miles) long and borders the Pacific plate to the west, and the North American continent to the east. In addition to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Portland is built right on top of a smattering of faults, the two largest being the Portland Hills Fault (located under the West Hills region of Portland, hence the name…) and the East Bank Fault (the location of this one should be glaringly obvious…). These two faults, along with other, smaller fault lines in the area, are known as “The Portland Hills Fault Zone”.

Geologists, through all sorts of testing (the technicality of which is far beyond my ability to understand) suggest that a major event (an earthquake) occurs approximately every 243 years, the last one being in 1700. Do the math. That’s 314 years. Yep. We’re more past due than a fourth trimester baby. I won’t go through the litany the destruction that will most likely occur. Most of us are good enough at letting our imaginations roam free after too many Tommy Lee Jones or Pierce Brosnan come-to-the-rescue movies. I think it would be a good idea to have enough staples on hand to survive at least a week without outside assistance. Providing, of course, the location of your supplies remains in tact and accessible.

My point for all of this isn’t to scare the living tar out of you, but to get the big wheels between the ears turning. Our day-to-day lives are exactly that – day-to-day. Most of us buy our groceries daily; maybe some weekly or bi-weekly staples, but for the most part, we have little in the pantry to survive off of in the event of a catastrophe. So, what do the ‘experts’ suggest?

Randy Gragg penned a fairly comprehensive article on the whole idea behind surviving an earthquake and the aftermath in Portland Monthly (July 1, 2014). In it, Randy does preface the whole ‘preparedness’ bit with his own visual-creating dialogue about damage and such. Once you read past that, he provides some fairly in depth and common sense approaches to being prepared.

Hopefully, that does get the wheels to turning without too much visualizing of Armageddon… that would be Bruce Willis, BTW.

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