Oregon’s coast highway will soon have seven times as many distinctive blue and white tsunami signs.
The “Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone,” and “Entering Tsunami Hazard Zone,” signs along Highway 101 are one of Oregon’s most visible tsunami awareness efforts. But the original signs installed in the 1990s are now in the wrong place, because new coast-wide tsunami modeling better captures where tsunami waves could reach. More importantly, says Jonathan Allan, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) coastal geomorphologist, original signs were installed in just a few locations.
DOGAMI and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) are working on the sign expansion project, which will increase the number of signs from 36 to more than 260. ODOT has already installed new signs in the communities of Warrenton and Astoria, and with remaining signs for Clatsop and Tillamook County expected to be installed by spring 2017. Signs for the remainder of the coast highway system are expected to be installed by summer 2018.
“A tsunami will arrive within minutes, so knowing where high ground is and how to get there can save your life,” says Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. “Practicing routes to safety is an essential part of preparedness.”
Signs and other wayfinding enhancements give evacuation routes greater visibility. The interactive evacuation map viewer at OregonTsunami.org lets coastal residents and visitors enter an address to see the nearest high ground, which they can then use to plan and practice their routes.