When “the big one” hits the Oregon Coast, the Cascadia earthquake will also generate a large tsunami which means everyone in low lying areas must find higher ground within 15 to 20 minutes. At South Beach, higher ground is largely in the form of what’s called “Safe Haven Hill.” It’s a 100 foot high forested mound at the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Currently it’s largely inaccessible due to heavy vegetation and primitive trails and only a low grade gravel road.
Newport City Councilors are applying for a FEMA grant to upgrade the road and pathways as well as flattening the hilltop to accomodate hundreds, if not thousands of tsunami refugees. However, the city won’t know for a while whether the FEMA grant to cover 75% of the estimated $557,000 cost will indeed be forthcoming.
Rather than wait around to see what FEMA is willing to chip in, Newport city councilors are expected to approve spending a minimal amount to ensure the hill is reasonably accessible via the road and the north pathway. Councilors say they don’t want to spend large sums of money on the project that would not be reimbursable by a FEMA grant hopefully will eventually come their way.
The Newport City Council begins its twice a month meeting Monday evening, 6pm, at Newport City Hall.