East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, February 23, 2017, Page Page 10A, Image 10

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    Page 10A
Thursday, February 23, 2017
CASCADIA: Will take one to three years to
restore water, sewer services to coastal cities
East Oregonian
Photo contributed by Amy Ashton-Williams
Ruth Silva was recently honored by her coworkers during a luncheon at
Umatilla County Human Services.
SILVA: Has a knack for connecting with
clients, who are not always easy to relate to
“People tell me, ‘I
couldn’t do that. I say,
‘Yes you could. If you
have to, you do.’”
Continued from 1A
ciates their willingness to cut her some
slack, she would rather be in the office
doing her job than sitting at home.
“I don’t want special treatment
because I have cancer, and they know
that’s who I am,” she said.
Amy Ashton-Williams, director
of Umatilla County Human Services,
said Silva is an “integral part of our
team” who keeps the agency running.
“Despite the treacherous treatment
regiment and many complications
and surgeries, Ruth shows up to work
daily, ready and excited to serve our
clients,” she wrote in an email.
She said the agency’s clients are
not always well understood or easy
to relate to, but Silva has a knack for
connecting with them.
Clients are referred for drug and
alcohol addictions, gambling addic-
tions, domestic violence and anger
management issues, driving while
intoxicated or other problems. Silva
said her own sister has gotten clean
after struggling with a meth addiction,
and that personal connection makes it
easier for her not to be judgmental or
“She told me they don’t get to
control the drugs. Once they start
using, the drugs control them,” Silva
She said sometimes people come in
angry or convinced that their problems
are everyone’s fault but their own. She
has learned to respond to them with
humor and kindness. She always tries
to remember everyone’s name after
the first visit so she can greet them the
next time they come in.
— Ruth Silva, about handling
treatments and complications
Silva said it’s really rewarding to
see the changes that can happen when
clients get help and a second chance.
Sometimes people get so comfortable
with confiding in her that she has to
remind them she’s not a licensed
She does all of that while battling
stage three cancer. It’s been full of
challenges, from the severe fatigue to
the loss of hair that necessitated a lot
of beanies and hats this winter.
“I’ve got the collection,” she said.
“I see bald guys and I ask them,
‘Doesn’t your head get cold?’ They
say, ‘No, you get used to it.’ I’m not
used to it.”
She said she has received lots of
support from family and friends and
coworkers, something she has been
very grateful for as she has battled the
effects of her illness and the chemo-
therapy. Her seven grandchildren are
her biggest inspiration for keeping up
the fight.
“People tell me, ‘I couldn’t do
that,’” she said about handling treat-
ments and complications. “I say, ‘Yes
you could. If you have to, you do.’”
Contact Jade McDowell at
Continued from 1A
Preparing your business for the earthquake
had working electricity. Where
utilities had been restored “Help
Wanted” signs decorated every
business window, the newspaper
reported, and restaurants served
limited menus.
At a morgue near Baton Rouge,
86 bodies remained unidentified.
More than 2,000 people were still
listed as missing. Some of them
had turned up safe without rela-
tives notifying the government,
but authorities estimated there
were still hundreds of bodies that
had been washed out to sea or
were still buried in rubble. Only
twenty of the city’s 128 public
schools were operational, and
more than 48,000 families were
living in FEMA trailers.
Some families never returned
to Louisiana.
Umatilla County commis-
sioner Larry Givens said he
visited New Orleans three years
ago and saw hundreds of homes
still sitting empty and rotting.
Some homeowners died, while
others gave up after being
defrauded by fake contractors
who took their money to rebuild
and disappeared. Some found
new jobs and new lives in places
like Houston, which took in an
estimated 250,000 refugees.
“Those people left and for
every week they were gone, that
many more said ‘Forget it,’”
Givens said.
He said in the event of a
Cascadia earthquake, Umatilla
County would also likely have
people who decided to stay in
Eastern Oregon after fleeing the
west side of the state. The state’s
Cascadia Subduction Zone Cata-
strophic Response plan notes that
east side hotels, motels, empty
buildings, foreclosed housing
and other available spaces will all
be used for temporary housing.
Even if refugees wanted to
return home, the state estimates it
will take six months to a year to
restore water and sewer services
to the valley and one to three
years to restore it to the coastal
Recovery from Hurricane
Katrina was hindered in part by
the confusing patchwork of over-
lapping jurisdictions that allowed
agencies to pass the buck or
caused them to duplicate efforts.
In the event of a disaster, businesses can get back on their
feet more quickly if they are prepared. The Oregon Office of
Emergency Management’s business preparedness website and
the U.S. Chamber of Commerces Small Business Recover
Guide have a comprehensive set of resources for businesses,
including the following suggestions:
1. Have an emergency plan and supplies such as flashlights
and first aid kits in place for if the disaster hits during the work
day. Make sure your employees know what the plan is and
where the supplies are.
2. Have a plan for communication between employees
and consider purchasing satellite phones or walkie talkies for
3. Seismically safeguard your office or store and secure
important inventory.
4. Invest in off-site backup services for your company
website and digital records you don’t want to lose. Also
have paper copies of employee contacts, insurance and other
important information on hand.
5. Learn how your suppliers would operate during an
emergency so that you can make sure your plans fit with theirs,
and identify backup suppliers from out of state if needed.
6. Discuss partnerships to pool resources with other small
businesses in the community in the event of a disaster.
7. Once disaster hits, document damage carefully and file
insurance claims.
Tom Hebert, a public policy
consultant living on the Umatilla
Indian Reservation, wrote a
policy paper afterward proposing
that the federal government
create regional development
authorities to coordinate a single
response to natural disasters.
Their locations around the
country would be based on likely
disaster scenarios.
“Cascadia would play into
the scientifically placed, prepo-
sitioned authorities,” Hebert said.
For now, however, the state’s
emergency plan for Cascadia
describes the undertaking of
rebuilding utilities and other infra-
structure with this alphabet soup:
“Deploy Federal and State teams
to evaluate damage and establish
priorities: OEM and FEMA
Public Assistance Program and
Technical Assistance Contractor
staff. ODOT and FHWA (roads
and bridges), ORWARN, DEQ,
U.S. EPA (water and wastewater
facilities), and PUC, ODOE,
USACE (power, levees, and
water control facilities).”
Joe Franell, chairman of the
Oregon Broadband Advisory
Council, said the recovery phase
will take place in a situation
where the internet, and by exten-
sion banking services like debit
cards, will be down all over the
state for “months.”
“For some period of time we
will be a cash and barter society,”
he said.
Franell said how quickly
the shelves are restocked in
stores will vary on a business
by business basis, depending on
their preparedness and how their
suppliers were affected.
In such conditions it will be
tempting for Umatilla County
residents to become refugees
themselves, and ride out the first
six months or so with family in
another state. However, fuel
for vehicles and generators are
not expected to be available to
regular citizens for “months and
months,” so if a person’s gas
tank was almost empty when the
earthquake hit they might not be
going anywhere.
The best thing people can do,
then, Franell said, is work to be
personally prepared and to help
their communities and neigh-
borhoods prepare to get through
Cascadia together.
Contact Jade McDowell at
or 541-564-4536.
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