If an earthquake were to suddenly strike the central Oregon coast, low lying South Beach, south of the Yaquina Bridge, could be a sitting duck for a tsunami. Most of South Beach is only a few feet above sea level.
However, Newport Community Development Director Derrick Tokos and City Councilor Dick Beemer have been working with employers in South Beach to plan evacuation routes to higher ground. Councilor Beemer outlined that employees from Rogue Ale, NOAA, Hatfield Marine Science Center, and other more northerly employers would head for the big hill just south of the bridge. In preparation for such an event, Beemer said a giant clear zone would have to be clear cut atop the hill, grading it flat while leaving trees around the edges to preserve some of its former appearance. The rest of the population would have to find their way up to SE 40th near the college.
Exact routes have not been officially designated. That’s what they’re planning to evaluate next.
They’re also planning to evaluate the Bayfront and of course Yaquina Bay Road, but for those residents and businesses it would be a short jaunt up a hill in very little time. They should be out and up a hill very quickly. Most of Newport is well above 50-feet elevation, normally high enough to be out of reach of a tsunami. However, low lying areas to the north and south of town could be inundated.
Mr. Tokos indicated that funding for planning and establishing escape routes to higher ground are likely to come from federal grants.Share on Facebook