A portion of Japanese tsunami dock is officially celebrated to commemorate the lives lost and destruction caused by the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011
Local and Japanese officials gathered at Hatfield Marine Science Center Sunday to commemorate and honor those who lost their lives or who were injured in the March 11, 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. The event catapulted two 140 ton fish unloading docks from Misawa, Honshu, Japan across the north Pacific to landings on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon.
Here in Newport, where one dock came ashore last June 4th, the dock was quickly stripped of its invasive plant and animal species in hopes that too few of them survived the more than five thousand mile journey and therefore won’t set up housekeeping on the North American continent. Invasive species were also stripped from the other Misawan dock that landed up in Washington.
Beyond the remembrance of those who died and were injured in the Japanese quake and tsunami, Hatfield Marine Science Center officials say the memorial will mark the starting spot for evacuating to higher ground in the event of the long expected and repeating Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake – the last of which occurred in 1700. Scientists say there is a 40% chance of another big shaker within the next fifty years. The trail that starts at the Tsunami Dock exhibit leads people west to Hatfield Marine Science Drive, south to the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, across Highway 101 and up a wide gravel path to the top of what’s been named “Safe Haven Hill.” The top of the hill will be reshaped to accommodate five thousand people who will be racing to the top, just minutes ahead of what is predicted to be a devastating tsunami arriving within 15 minutes of the end of the earthquake. So knowing which way to go, and how to get there will be paramount to life and death. The evacuation sign that are clearly marked along Hatfield Marine Science Drive will point the way, even if the signs might be leaning to one side.