Ron tours potential tsunami zone on Oregon Coast

Ron heard on Sunday from school and city officials in Seaside about the dangers to students, residents and tourists if a tsunami struck the Oregon Coast.

After a briefing by Seaside schools superintendent Doug Dougherty, Ron saw firsthand in visits to Seaside High School and Seaside Heights Elementary School the potential perils for hundreds of students if a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake hit during a school day.

Disasters are something where the country says this is not about Democrats, Republicans or somebody’s political philosophy,” Wyden said during the tour with Dougherty and Seaside Mayor Don Larson. “This is about coming together to ensure that when our communities are facing life-or-death situations, we are there for them.”

From Astoria south to Brookings, Oregon has more than 350 miles of coastline on the front lines of a major fault. In Seaside alone, there are about 6,500 residents living only 15 feet above sea level or lower -- and on a summer day, potentially additional tens of thousands of tourists.

That potential for disaster is why the senator strongly supports federal funding for earthquake monitoring and early warning.  

In his conversations Sunday with Seaside officials, Ron spoke of how programs like FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program provide essential grants to communities in Oregon and across the country to help them upgrade buildings in preparation for earthquakes and other disasters.

He helped to secure $5 million to develop and implement a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System in the 2014 spending bill, and is pleased that last year’s bill directed another $8 million toward that project.  

When every second can make a difference for people getting to higher ground, finding shelter, and other life-saving actions, Ron also emphasized that he will keep pushing to see that Congress provides incentives for disaster preparedness and funds disaster relief

We’ve got to figure out how to get the policies right both for prevention and what to do if faced with disaster,” he said in Seaside. “Today’s visit gives me fresh details to make the case for Oregon.”