Portland city commissioner advises homeowners retro-fit older ho - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland city commissioner advises homeowners retro-fit older homes for quakes

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

There are about 100,000 homes in Portland not built to modern day standards when it comes to earthquakes.

The biggest flaw is homes not bolted to foundations, and in the event of a major earthquake there is a good chance the homes would end up a total loss.

Portland city commissioner Steve Novick is not mincing words about the risk to Portland homeowners from a major earthquake.

"We live in earthquake country. It’s not a matter of whether, but of when we will get a major earthquake here," he said. "If your home was built before 1970, the odds are it wasn't bolted to the foundation. Which means that in an earthquake, it might not fall down, but it could be so damaged it could be unusable afterward."

Aside from the obvious safety issues, Novick said that in the event of a major earthquake, if homes are destroyed people might leave the city and never come back.

The good news is that the city, in partnership with clean energy works, is applying for a grant from FEMA which would help a hundred homeowners pay to get their homes retro-fitted.

North Portland homeowner Laura Parisi got in on last year's program. She said earthquakes never crossed her mind until the big one hit in japan in 2011.

"I was interested in doing it because I’m terrified of the earthquake and I got the last spot so I was really happy about that," Parisi said. "I didn't even realize earthquakes were a thing here until that happened, and then I discovered not only are they a thing, they are a huge thing. I mean, it's worse than anything that will ever hit California, so that terrified me."

She said crews came in and after a couple of days of drilling they were finished, leaving her house was better equipped to survive an earthquake.

"My house cost more to paint, you know we did this last year, new paint job. That cost considerably more than my seismic upgrades,” Parisi noted. “It's a no brainer. You have to paint your house, you have to repair your roof, you have to protect yourself from an earthquake."

The cost of retro-fitting a typical home is anywhere between $3,000 to $8,000, and if Portland's application is approved FEMA would cover half the cost for about a hundred homeowners.

To be considered for the grant visit CEWO.org/Seismic.

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