If “The Big One” shakes the Oregon Coast and generates a 100′ tsunami, those who live and work at South Beach are expected to head up the hill that sits near the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. It’s been tentatively named “Safe Haven Hill.” There are plans to cut the trees and clear the land on the top to make room for the crowds of people who manage to get atop it before the Tsunami arrives. Those who are planning to clear the top promise that they’ll leave a thick ring of outside edge trees so it won’t look like something just ripped off the top of the hill.
City Councilor Dick Beemer, who has been spearheading the project, says no work will be done on hill until a geologic engineering study is completed to ascertain whether it can withstand a tsunami surge or is high enough or wide enough to be a predictably safe haven for those fleeing their homes, businesses and workplaces. It’s estimated that there will be barely 15 minutes between the earthquake and the arrival of the tsunami so survivors of the quake will have to be running fast and furiously to and up the hill in order to beat the tsunami.
The council learned that the Hatfield Marine Science Center has a tsunami drill set for October 5th that is said to involve Safe Haven Hill. A resident of the neighborhood, just to the west of the hill, asked the council to not forget them. She complained she’s heard about the effort to evacuate NOAA, HMSC, Rogue Ale and businesses but nothing about evacuating her and her neighbors to the west. She said they have no clear pathway to the hill, especially if they have to run or climb uphill in the dark. The council told her that they have not forgotten her neighbhorhood and that the plan being put together definitely includes them.
Councilor Beemer said there will be a lot more to report on the project very shortly.