The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, May 19, 2016, Page 10A, Image 10

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Cascadia: ‘I’m probably scaring the hell out of people’
Continued from Page 1A
expect from city services,”
Herzig said. “And the reality
of our situation with a Casca-
dia event is that there’s going
to be very little service left.”
Later this month, a panel
of four experts — Althea
Rizzo, geologic hazards pro-
gram manager at Oregon
Tyree Wilde, warning coor-
dination meteorologist at the
National Oceanic and Atmo-
spheric Administration; Pat-
rick Corcoran, coastal natural
hazards specialist with Ore-
gon State University; and Neal
Bond, protection unity forester
at the Oregon Department of
Forestry — will speak at the
Liberty Theater on Astoria
and Clatsop County’s state of
disaster readiness.
The Community Emer-
gency Preparedness Forum
on May 31 will cover a range
of natural disasters facing
the North Coast, from win-
ter storms to wildland ires to
a catastrophic earthquake and
A short question-and-an-
swer session will follow each
presentation, and a longer dia-
logue will take place at the
end. Tables with resources and
emergency preparedness gear
will be set up in the lobby.
The goal is partly to make
citizens aware of the city and
county’s plans and resources
to confront disasters. But the
forum will also drive home an
unpleasant truth: In the irst
days post-Cascadia, survivors
may be on their own.
“Even though it may be
tough to take in, it’s something
we need to start facing up to.
Knowledge is power, particu-
larly in something like this,”
Herzig said. “It’s going to hap-
pen, we just don’t know when.
So the more we can prepare for
it, the better.”
Devastating to
Astoria does not face the
same tsunami threat as Seaside
and Cannon Beach because the
city is several miles upriver from
the coast, although it still faces
signiicant waterfront inunda-
tion from rising sea levels, Asto-
ria Fire Chief Ted Ames said.
The primary threat is the
earthquake itself.
“If we were to face a
seismic event, like … the
tude earthquake off the coast
— that nearshore event — we
know that it will be devastat-
ing to infrastructure,” Asto-
ria Police Chief Brad Johnston
What: Community Emergency
Preparedness Forum
Where: Liberty Theater, 1203 Commercial St.
When: 6 to 8:30 p.m., May 31
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Bridges will fail. Build-
ings will fall. Large swaths
of earth will liquefy and pro-
duce landslides. City roads and
streets — crushed, collapsed
or covered in debris — will be
Even with the best of inten-
tions and most professional of
forces, Astoria police and ire
departments will have severely
diminished — perhaps non-
existent — rescue capabili-
ties after a megaquake and
“If we have that scale of
an event, you will not see irst
responders rolling up in their
patrol cars. It’s not going to
be possible,” Johnston said.
“When you think about Asto-
ria and the geography and
the nature of the roadways,
there’s a good chance it’s
going to be very dificult to get
places (with) things other than
horses, mountain bikes, dirt
bikes, ATVs and those kinds of
The ire department will be
in the same situation: “I don’t
think it’s realistic to think that
we would be driving ire trucks
around town trying to help
people,” Ames said.
“I can’t sit here as ire chief
and tell you exactly what’s
going to happen, ‘cause I don’t
have a clue,” Ames said. “I just
don’t think that it’s a real great
outlook when we think about a
major event.
“I’m probably scaring the
hell out of people, but that’s
the way it is,” he added.
Corcoran said that, as soon
as high-magnitude earth-
quakes occur, power lines fall
and arc, and gas and water
lines break.
“So now you’ve got gas
ires starting all over the place
and no water to put them
out,” he said. “People’s cur-
rent sense of, ‘Well, when my
house is on ire, the entire ire
department comes to help me,’
is wrong.”
Johnston advises citizens
to prepare themselves, men-
tally and materially, such that
they could survive without irst
responders and even help their
“It’s really important for
people to have that ability to
care for themselves in those
initial hours because it’s going
to be tough,” he said, adding
that emergency management
specialists now tell people to
plan for a period of self-sufi-
ciency lasting at least 14 days.
“It will be some time before
government is able to re-estab-
lish that infrastructure, and the
people are going to have to be
prepared for that.”
“Professionals don’t like to
say — especially cops and ire-
men — that they’re not going
to be there for you,” Corcoran
observed. “So, when they’re
telling us that they’re not
going to be there for us, I think
you really need to pay atten-
tion to that.”
A reminder
Focusing on emergency
preparedness is one of the City
Council’s goals for the year.
“We’ve been lagging behind
places like Cannon Beach and
some others. They’re much
more exposed to the tsunami, so
they’re much more aware of the
danger,” Herzig said. “In Asto-
ria, pretty much most of us are
safe from the tsunami, but the
preceding earthquake is going
to be devastating, and we need
to start becoming aware of that.”
It takes a serious mental
effort for many people to imag-
ine themselves in an emergency
as dire as Cascadia, let alone
how they would act, he added.
“Nobody wants to go there.”
Corcoran sees this resis-
tance to contemplating natural
disasters as a product of evo-
lutionary hardwiring; creeping
threats, whether Cascadia or
climate change, tend not to reg-
ister as important. Of course,
this condition makes preparing
for these threats all the more
“In general, preparing for
hazards is something, as human
beings, we tend not to do,” he
said. “We have to remind our-
selves to do that once in a
The emergency prepared-
ness forum, he said, is intended
as such a reminder.
“We haven’t been around the
block before on (Cascadia). We
have to share what the research
says, what happened in Japan,
other kinds of places,” he said.
“When it happens again, I guar-
antee you, we’re going to wish
we would’ve done more.”
George Vetter/For EO Media Group
Seaside High School senior Caitlynn Howe plays a victim during a countywide training
exercise for the Community Emergency Response Team program in December.
Joshua Bessex/The Daily Astorian
Safety and survival equipment are shown in the back of a truck during a tsunami drill
with the Coast Guard in January.
Election: Goldthorpe still ‘staying hopeful,’ and patient
Continued from Page 1A
Goldthorpe would face
McIntosh in a runoff if her vote
count drops below 50 percent
after all ballots are counted
and the results are oficial.
“We are still staying hope-
ful and trying to be patient,”
he said.
Clatsop County Clerk Val-
erie Crafard estimates there
are nearly 300 ballots left to
be counted. More than 100
are challenged ballots that do
not have signatures or the sig-
natures do not match voter
records. Other ballots were
torn, wet or need the markings
to be enhanced. The clerk’s
ofice is also waiting on ballots
that were dropped off in other
Oficial results will be cer-
tiied in June.
As of the most recent count
Wednesday morning, McIn-
tosh had collected 5,021 votes,
Goldthorpe had 2,895 votes,
and Woltjer earned 2,057
A total of 1,907 votes in the
judgeship race were left blank
and discarded as undervotes.
Had even a fraction of voters
who skipped the race made
a decision, their votes could
have inluenced the outcome.
The candidates believe
many of these voters may not
have known enough about
them or the court system to
conidently cast a vote.
“You look at those under-
votes, and it’s people saying,
‘I really don’t know and I’m
not going to cast a vote just to
vote,’” McIntosh said.
Goldthorpe could request a
recount, but he has not enter-
tained that idea.
“I would have to consider
that based on what the inal
result was,” he said.
The three candidates are
vying to replace Judge Philip
Nelson, the county’s longest
serving elected oficial, who is
retiring this year after 24 years
on the bench.
David Goldthorpe
Port: Budget could grow by $10 million, depending on FEMA help
Continued from Page 1A
“Additionally, the 2016-
17 budget will recognize the
need for the Port, as a sig-
niicant contributor to the
region’s economic health,
to lead in the facilitation of
important job-creation strat-
egies,” he said.
Knight said that includes
the Port spurring the creation
of a state-of-the-art boat-
yard and repair facility on
the Skipanon Peninsula, cre-
ating a strategic plan for the
airport in concert with local
agencies, establishing a mas-
ter plan for the central water-
front with the city of Astoria
and determining the highest
and best use of North Tongue
A $10 million maybe
The budget could grow by
another $10 million, depend-
ing on how much the Port gets
from the Federal Emergency
Management Agency to repair
storm damage on Pier 2. Will
Isom, staff accountant for the
Port, said the agency is in
the process of creating work
plans for each site with dam-
age. FEMA would potentially
reimburse the Port for repairs.
Isom stressed the grants
and FEMA money heavily
skew the budget. He said the
Port is expecting $8.8 mil-
lion in operating revenue,
and $7.2 million in operating
expenses, without the more
than $16 million expected
in grants and disaster relief,
$736,000 in county tax rev-
enue and $130,000 in timber
Capital projects
Besides the $10 mil-
lion for disaster repairs and
$5 million for runway reha-
bilitation, the Port is look-
ing to inance $1.5 million to
develop a stormwater treat-
ment facility on Pier 3.
The Port was put on notice
by the state Department of
Environmental Quality after
copper levels in storm run-
off near piers 3 and 1 were
above the limit allowed on an
industrial stormwater permit.
Maul Foster Alongi, an envi-
ronmental consulting irm,
designed a bioswale for Pier
3 that will treat stormwa-
ter using a series of settling
ponds and seafood shells to
ilter out metals. The Port is
seeking help from tenants to
inance the system.
The Port is also spending
$60,000 to install stormwa-
ter treatment at North Tongue
Point after similar issues.
The Port is planning to
employ the equivalent of
nearly 35 full-time employ-
ees with a payroll of more
than $2.9 million in sal-
ary, wages and beneits.
The agency mostly provides
full-time positions, with the
exception of a largely part-
time security staff.
Last iscal year, the Port
secured $724,106 in grant
revenue, which was good by
its own standards but much
less than the $2.6 million in
annual grant revenue ports of
similar size averaged. To get
more support, the Port is bud-
geting for a grant writer as an
assistant to Matt McGrath,
the director of operations.
The Port is also budget-
ing for a manager for North
Tongue Point, an industrial
facility the agency leases from
Corp. but wants to buy.
The Port Budget Com-
mittee next meets at noon on
May 31.