DOGAMI: More than 1,400 could die in Portland metro in major Cascadia quake


In the past couple years, several massive earthquakes have devastated countries around the globe and for the Pacific Northwest, officials say a giant quake is due and locals need to be prepared.

There has been here constant discussion about when a Cascadia subduction zone quake will hit, and a new report has explored what could happen to three northwest Oregon counties.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) found that if a 9.0 earthquake struck Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, the potential impact could be devastating.

Experts, using infrastructure and population data, determined that a Cascadia quake of that magnitude could cause $36.7 billion in building damage and could kill 1,473 people in the three counties.

These results were calculated considering the quake would occur during the day and during the wet season, therefore the highest impact scenario.

An earthquake that “happens during the day when many people are at work or in school, and with saturated soils leading to more widespread liquefaction and landslides” could yield this amount of damage, according to the study.

Researchers also considered what would happen if a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck along the Portland Hills fault.

While much less likely than a Cascadia quake, the study concluded it would cause twice the damage because the area is more developed and more people live there.

The state of Oregon is using the study to plan how to care for those hurt in an earthquake and how to shelter people who lose their homes and apartments.

Researchers said the main takeaway is that a Cascadia earthquake will happen and residents need to prepare for it.

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