The test of the emergency Public Alerts system run this past week didn't work. Mayor Adams and his staff at the Bureau of Emergency Management are looking into why, and what must be done to fix it.
The City of Portland is situated in a geographic area over three seismic faults: the Oatfield Fault, the East Bank Fault, and the Portland Hills Fault. Each of these faults runs directly through heavily populated areas of Portland, and poses the threat of a catastrophic earthquake (9.0 magnitude or higher). According to geologists, the last earthquake of this magnitude struck Oregon in approximately January 1700, and the region is overdue for a big seismic event (aka earthquake catastrophe).
I've asked my staff in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement to develop more community-based trainings for family preparedness and neighborhood volunteering in the event of a major natural disaster. While the Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) program run by the Bureau of Emergency Management provides intense training for volunteers able to devote dozens of hours to learning in-depth team leader skills, fewer than 4,000 of our 582,000 Portland residents have been able to complete the course and stay active in their teams. We all need to know and be ready to act on the basics, since many experts believe we may need to fend for ourselves for three weeks (not three days) if a major earthquake hits the West coast.