Dear friends of OPQRS,
Today marks the second anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan that killed thousands, destroyed towns, triggered a nuclear crisis, and devastated the country’s economy.
Scientists tell us the Cascadia subduction fault off the coast of Oregon is the “mirror image” of Japan’s. A major earthquake could strike on this fault at any time. And yet we remain unprepared.
OPQRS is working to help raise awareness among parents and grandparents statewide, and to pressure the state government to accelerate and expand Oregon’s commitment to fix the more than 1,000 public school buildings that are considered to be at high risk of collapse in a major Cascadia earthquake.
We surpassed our first petition target—1,000 signatures—in January, and presented our petition to Governor Kitzhaber’s education advisor Ben Cannon and public safety advisor Cameron Smith. We asked them bring the critical issue of school safety to the governor’s attention. They heard us, and they have conveyed our message.
Here’s what we’ve been up to since:
· At the recent annual meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in Seattle, OPQRS participated in a panel on school earthquake safety advocacy for several hundred engineers and other seismic specialists.
· We continue to work with our local school district, Portland Public Schools, and helped to pass a successful school bond that will bring seismic safety repairs to more than three dozen Portland schools and fully rebuild three unreinforced masonry (URM) high schools.
· We are working with Oregon Emergency Management to instigate a school-based event to celebrate the achievements of the state’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grants Program, and to engage the governor and the state’s education leaders. Stay tuned!
Oregon needs many more school retrofits and rebuilds and we need them urgently. We will keep our petition open until every Oregon child can learn in a building made safe from earthquakes.
If you haven't already done so, will you sign our petition? If you've signed it, will you share the petition with one more person, and help spread the word to make Oregon Schools Quake Resistant? The state mandates K-12 school attendance; every child has the right to attend school safe from earthquake hazards.
Thank you for your support.
Amanda & Ted