School Upgrades
3:52 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Lawmakers Approve Making School Seismic Ratings More Accessible

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon parents who want to know if their child's school is strong enough to withstand a major earthquake could soon have a new way of finding out. The Oregon Senate voted unanimously Friday to require seismic ratings for all public schools in the state be posted online.

Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney personally championed the measure. On the Senate floor, he fired off a list of schools that he said are at high risk of earthquake damage .

"This is an elementary school which at this very moment has students in it," Courtney said. "It will completely collapse. And the young children there, you draw your own conclusions. You think I'm being melodramatic? I'm not. This is all scientific evidence."

Courtney hopes the information will lead concerned parents to put pressure on lawmakers to fund seismic upgrades. Ten years ago, Oregon voters authorized more than a billion dollars worth of seismic retrofits for public schools. But that program has stalled out because the legislature hasn't been willing to borrow the money.

On the Web:

SB 1566 - School seismic ratings bill:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/12reg/measpdf/sb1500.dir/sb1566.a.pdf

Cascadia Subduction Zone:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/structure/crust/cascadia.php

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