University of Oregon

Community Service Center

315th Year Anniversary

A ghost forest of tree stumps emerges at low tide near Neskowin in Tillamook County. The trees are believed to be the remnants of forests growing before the last major earthquake and tsunami hit.  Wolfram Burner/FlickrJanuary 26, 2015 marked the 315th year anniversary of the last Cascadia subduction zone earthquake; 105 years before Lewis and Clark first set eyes on the pacific. This natural hazard occurred just off the Oregon coast where Geologists believe the quake was around a magnitude 9.0 (four to five minutes of ground shaking). All we know of the hazard’s impacts locally is what has been passed down by Native Americans who occupied the area at the time.

Earlier this month, OPDR-Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience, one of the four successful programs at the Community Service Center, kicked off a regional collaboration and capacity building project, The Southern Oregon Coast Socio-Economic Resilience and Recovery Network, to help communities along the southern Oregon coast increase community awareness with resilience planning and hazard recovery at the local level utilizing existing community networks already focused on social and economic needs.

“Coastal communities in Oregon are in various stages of planning for disasters and the long-term impacts associated with climate change.” said Josh Bruce, Director, OPDR  

While most communities have an emergency operations plan and some form of hazard mitigation plan aimed at reducing vulnerability, and improving preparedness and planning for response, community leaders along the southern Oregon coast recognize that limited effort is being put into community resilience and pre-disaster recovery planning.

“The efforts that are being undertaken are largely focused on infrastructure and government with limited attention paid to the social and economic aspects of community resilience.” said Bruce.

Thanks to these committed south coast communities, a partnership developed between community leaders, The Ford Family Foundation, University of Oregon’s OPDR, and NOAA-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The idea is for community-based organizations to get direct access to key businesses, elected, government, and social service leaders in coastal communities; The Ford Family Foundation to connect leaders within the region to each other and to Ford Leadership Program graduates throughout the state; OPDR to provide vertical integration through its connections with local, regional, state and federal partners; and for NOAA to provide funding, technical resources and opportunities to connect this project with other NOAA supported initiatives (such as Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coastal Management Program).

While these initial partners form the nucleus of this effort, the identification of other existing networks and agency partners will cause the network to grow. “The depth, breadth and reach of this project hopes to extend far beyond the local community members.” said Bruce

To learn more about The Southern Oregon Coast Socio-Economic Resilience and Recovery Network 

To learn more about natural hazards and economic resilience

To learn more about the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and community efforts along the southern Oregon coast: