OSU moving forward with new building in tsunami zone in Newport - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU moving forward with new building in tsunami zone in Newport

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NEWPORT, OR (KPTV) -

Oregon State University is moving ahead with a controversial project that will put a new marine studies building in a tsunami zone along the Oregon coast.

University leaders claim the building will be able to survive a 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that would follow.

The university put together an oversight committee to evaluate the dangers and hold public forums, and that process lasted about a year.

The new building will be built at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Hatfield was built in the heart of the tsunami zone long before developers knew much about the danger, though now they do.

Jay Wilson, chairman of Oregon's Seismic and Safety Commission, told the FOX 12 Investigators in September 2016 that he wrote a letter to Governor Kate Brown questioning the OSU project.

Once Oregon State University geologists and geophysics professors got wind of what was going on, they too tried to get administrators to think twice.

The university contends that it is a big benefit for students of the program being close to the water. In a statement, Oregon State University President Ed Ray said he is confident in the plan.

"By constructing the marine studies building at HMSC with a vertical evacuation component, Oregon State University will provide for greater safety for the Yaquina Bay community and all of those who visit, work and study at the Hatfield Marine Science Center."

OSU will have to work with the city of Newport to figure out ground evacuation plans to nearby safe haven hill.

The next step for the project is for the university to review a plan for the construction of student housing in the area.

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