Lincoln County Emergencies Manager Jenny Demaris is making the rounds of local cities, helping them to be better prepared for any emergency, but for earthquakes and tsunamis especially.
Demaris told the Waldport City Council Thursday that much of Waldport’s business area and a large number of homes are just a few feet above sea level and therefore are directly in the path of most distant tsunamis and definitely in the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake 250 miles off the coast of Oregon and the large tsunami that would be created from it.
Demaris said a distant tsunami created by an Alaskan earthquake could damage Waldport but nothing like the disaster power of a Cascadia event. Demaris said updated tsunami inundation and escape route maps are about to be delivered throughout Lincoln County so locals and tourists can know which way is up and which route to take to get there.
Demaris outlined a number of public outreach events coming up in May. On May 1st at noon, there will be a news conference held at the the Lincoln County Commission Chambers where officials will introduce the new tsunami evacuation maps for communities throughout Lincoln County and a preview of the county’s information outreach campaign.
Here it is:
* Leading off the campaign will be two Tsunami Readiness Rallies in Lincoln City May 7th – both at the Lincoln City Cultural Center at 540 NE Highway 101. One at 3pm, the other at 7pm. The new tsunami maps and other emergency preparedness information will be shared by the Oregon Department of Geology and the Lincoln County Office of Emergency Management.
* On May 9th, another Tsunami Readiness Rally will be held at 6:30pm at Waldport High School on Hemlock/Highway 34 in Waldport. The new evacuation maps will be handed out and other information as was given in Lincoln City.
* The same for Newport residents on May 11th, at 10am. The Tsunami Readiness Rally will be conducted at the Agate Beach Best Western just off Highway 101 just north of Walmart.
* And then another Tsunami Readiness Rally will be held May 18th, 10:30am, for the Bayshore and Sandpiper communities north of Waldport guided by personnel from the Seal Rock Fire District.
The Waldport City Council then talked about the town’s aging tsunami warning sirens. It was agreed that all three of the 55 year old devices should be retired due to age and the fact they don’t work well anyway. Emergencies Manager Jennie Demaris says many communities are not relying on tsunami sirens since even when they are activated many people inside their homes and while driving in their cars can’t hear them. She said the widely used “Everbridge” notification system is far more effective at notifying residents of an approaching tsunami via email, text, cellphone, internet news websites as well as over local TV and radio stations. However, that’s just for tsunamis generated in Alaska, Japan, South America, Indonesia and other seismically active areas around the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire. If it’s the Cascadia earthquake, the shaking itself will be your only tsunami warning. When the shaking is over, everyone is to immediately head for higher ground and stay there until an all clear signal is given.
Demaris says getting everyone in Lincoln County up to speed on being prepared for distant tsunamis and the Cascadia “big one” is going to be a big job – but it’s got to be done in order to save as many lives as can be saved. “The better prepared we are, the more people will survive it,” she said.
Newport Sea Lion dock Fading fast while plans progress toward a permanent set by next year
Click photo to enlarge
For the second time in three weeks, local sea lion dock booster Bob Ward says somebody has stolen the sea lion dock’s donation collection box at the entrance to Port Dock One on the Bay Front. The box was initially attached to a fence. After the first theft it was more securely attached to a 6 foot length of 4X6 timber that forms the top rail of the fence, and connected to the uprights by 8 inch stakes.
But late Sunday night or early Monday morning the thief took the whole thing; collection box and the 6 foot piece of timber. Sea Lion Dock Foundation spokesman Bob Ward said there may have been a dollar or two in the box, but not much more since it is emptied every day.
The theft took place the evening of Sunday 31 March or in the early hours of Monday, April 1st. Ward said the box will be restored again but this time a surveillance camera will be installed to ward off whoever is intent on stopping the collections.
Ward says his group will be placing a section of the Misawa Japanese “tsunami dock” in front the nearby Undersea Gardens as a Tsunami Awareness and Information Center.
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.
Japanese Tsunami Dock piece Celebration and Dedication Sunday, 10am, Hatfield Marine Science Center
From Hatfield Marine Science Center
A new exhibit featuring a portion of a dock that washed ashore near Newport more than a year after the devastating March 2011 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake and tsunami will open on Sunday, March 10, at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
The unveiling of the tsunami awareness exhibit will begin at 2 p.m. at the center, located at 2030 Marine Science Drive in Newport, just southeast of the Highway 101 bridge. It is free and open to the public.
The opening and dedication takes place two years after a massive earthquake rattled northern Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed thousands of people. The tsunami also inundated Japan’s coastline and ripped loose at least three massive docks from the city of Misawa, one of which floated across the Pacific Ocean and washed ashore just north of Newport near Agate Beach in early June of 2012.
A slice of the dock was cut away and preserved, and will serve as an educational exhibit and memorial to the events that brought it to Oregon.
“The exhibit will be a vivid reminder that a similar earthquake and tsunami could just as easily happen here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Janet Webster, interim director of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. “The exhibit also will highlight the risk from invasive species, and detail the journey of the dock from Misawa to Newport.”
Webster said the dock has been of great interest to the public and to scientists since it arrived at Agate Beach. It drew thousands of visitors to the coast before it was cut into pieces and trucked away. The dock also captured the attention of biologists who rushed to examine the dozens of living organisms attached to the structure.
Television crews from Japan have visited the OSU center several times to follow up on the story, and the arrival of other tsunami debris up and down the coast brings another wave of attention.
Shawn Rowe, an OSU free-choice learning specialist based at Hatfield, said the exhibit provides a good opportunity to broaden public awareness about earthquakes, tsunamis, invasive species, and preparedness. It resonates with the public, he noted, because it had not occurred in recorded history.
“It was a unique confluence of circumstances that led to the dock arriving in Newport,” Rowe pointed out. “While fishing floats, logs and debris arrive on the West Coast from Asia with some regularity, rarely does a structure this large that had been anchored for years in an inlet in Japan – and thus accumulating local seaweeds and organisms – rip loose and journey across the ocean.”
The Hatfield Marine Science Center recently installed a tsunami interpretive trail beginning at the center, which highlights an evacuation route to higher ground for employees, residents and visitors to Newport’s South Beach peninsula.
Derelict boat found and removed from Horsfall beach area north of Coos Bay
Coos Bay OR – A 30′ nonmotorized boat was removed from the ocean shore near Horsfall Beach north of Coos Bay Thursday. Contractor Johnson Rock of Coos Bay transported it to Les Sanitation in Coos Bay. Removing the debris cost the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department $2,500.
No pollution or other hazardous materials were detected, but there was marine life clinging to the debris. Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Oregon’s Institute of Marine Biology took samples and will send them to Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for identification. There is Japanese writing on the vessel, but its exact origin and date it was lost haven’t been determined.
New Hatfield Marine Science Center Interpretive Trail Connected to Safe Haven Hill
From Hatfield Marine Science Center
Newport’s South Beach Peninsula has a new Tsunami Interpretive Trail
Come join a walk along it starting at Noon, February 11th at the HMSC Visitors Center
Newport’s South Beach Peninsula is a popular recreation area and home to a growing hub for marine science research and education, with waterfront access and spectacular views. It is also in the tsunami inundation zone. To help alert residents and visitors to the potential tsunami risk, an interpretive trail was recently installed along the Peninsula’s bicycle/pedestrian trail along Marine Science Drive.
The interpretive trail begins at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) and continues along the tsunami evacuation route to Safe Haven Hill, at the southwest corner of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. As the closest ‘high ground’ for most South Beach Peninsula facilities and recreation areas, the Oregon Department of Transportation owned property is over 80 feet high and is estimated to accommodate several thousand evacuees. “After Japan’s 2011 tsunami, the possibility of a similar natural disaster here on the Oregon coast no longer seems so remote,” said Janet Webster, HMSC Interim Director. “Increasing awareness of evacuation routes is one of the best things we can do to help people survive a tsunami.”
Ten interpretive signs were installed on January 31, with most set at intervals along Marine Science Drive’s bicycle/pedestrian path. Additional signs were placed at the HMSC Visitor Center, marking the future site of the Japanese Dock Exhibit, and at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. According to Maryann Bozza, Program Manager at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the interpretive signs alert those working, playing or residing in the tsunami inundation zone to the potential danger, and highlight the evacuation route to the nearest high ground. “Several of the signs are within sight of the official blue and white Tsunami Evacuation Route signs” she added, “which will help visitors not familiar with the area to orient themselves toward Safe haven Hill.”
The interpretive trail project was a collaboration between HMSC, Oregon Sea Grant and the City of Newport, with funding and expertise provided by Oregon Emergency Management. The signs highlighted the new inundation maps recently released by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, which are available in an interactive format via www.oregontsunami.org.
A community walk along the new interpretive trail is planned for Monday, February 11. The walk will begin at the Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center at noon, and an informational session with Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator with Oregon Emergency Management, will follow the walk in the Visitor Center Auditorium. All are welcome.