Cascadia Subduction Zone

This image shows the Cascadia Subduction Zone along the Pacific Coastline.

Oregon’s congressional democrats have announced federal funding to help Oregon prepare for a Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake and tsunami.

The funds are being allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FY2021 Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program. Oregon will receive $388,463 to support the development of a comprehensive logistics and supply chain management plan in the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

The grants are highly competitive, according to a release from the democrats. Oregon is one of 15 state and local governments to be selected among 22 eligible applications.

“If a major earthquake hits along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, thousands could be killed and Oregon would suffer billions in economic damages,” Oregon U.S. Rep. DeFazio said.

DeFazio chairs the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over FEMA.

“This funding will allow the state to better prepare for a major earthquake and tsunami and develop a strategy to support supply chain management in the event of disaster," DeFazio said.

“The alarm that scientists are sounding about a potentially devastating earthquake hitting our state at some point demands a response that includes robust preparation to protect Oregonians and our communities,” Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said. “I’m gratified that Oregon is receiving these FEMA funds to help with that needed preparation for a major quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone that could also touch off a destructive tsunami slamming the coast.”

“Oregon’s preparedness for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake is critical to the stability of our infrastructure and the safety of our communities,” Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said. “I am pleased that this FEMA grant will go toward a comprehensive plan to protect Oregonians across the state, and ensure that we have the resources to manage any potential disaster and its aftermath.”

“The pandemic, the wildfires, and the extreme weather events over the last year prove the value of being as prepared as possible for catastrophic events,” Oregon U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said. “We must be ready for a potential Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and related tsunami, so I’m grateful that Oregon was selected to receive this significant funding to help plan and prepare for a natural disaster that could strike at any time.”

Oregon’s greatest threat of earthquakes and tsunamis is from the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Stretching from northern California up into British Columbia, the Cascadia Subduction Zone “slips” roughly every 300 years causing major earthquakes. The last known major earthquake was in 1700 and evidence suggests it was a magnitude 8.7 to a 9.2.

Experts agree that Oregon is due for another major earthquake. Some forecasts suggest there is a ten to twenty percent chance of a magnitude 9 quake on the CSZ in the next fifty years, while others predict a twenty-five to forty percent chance of a major quake on the south end of the CSZ in the next fifty years.

The project receiving funding will focus primarily on the threats and vulnerabilities associated with a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami, and the associated needs of socially vulnerable communities.

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