State Geologist Vicki McConnell, who is also Director of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, recently urged Oregon State University to not build their new 500 student marine sciences facility next to the Hatfield Marine Sciences Center. McConnell told university leadership that the South Beach site is barely above sea level and would be devastated by a tsunami generated by the infamous Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. McConnell says the latest research shows that there is a 40% chance that the 300-400 year cycle of the Cascadia earthquakes means the Oregon Coast will be hit with a large earthquake and it will likely strike within the lifetimes of a good many people.
McConnell urged OSU President Ed Ray to build the new marine sciences building uphill next to Oregon Coast Community College or somewhere close by. She said the cost of building the facility without having to make it “tsunami resistant” would be far cheaper anyway.
But OSU President Ed Ray is undaunted and argues strongly that the proposed site for the facility, at the western edge of HMSC, can withstand an earthquake and tsunami as the world saw in the 2010 Japanese tsunami where occupants of tall buildings simply went to the upper floors to escape the rising waters.
Ray’s full response to McConnell’s warning appeared in The Oregonian. Read his reply by clicking here.