Cannon Beach gazette. (Cannon Beach, Or.) 1977-current, April 07, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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    4A • April 7, 2017 | Cannon Beach Gazette |
Views from the Rock
Aft er the Big One—then what?
little after the sixth anniversary
of March 11, 2011, the date
of the Japanese tsunami that
devastated an entire region and
knocked out the Fukushima
nuclear plant. What is life like now? How did
government respond?
In subsequent years, author Richard J.
Samuels said in “3.11: Disaster and Change in
Japan,” cities wrestled with issues as existen-
tial as: “Do we rebuild or not?”
In the city of Minami Sanriku, only the
steel frame of the crisis management center
survived the tsunami.
Residents found themselves in many cases
homeless and alone, their cities and villages
destroyed. Local governments came together
to form a “federation” and “counterpart sup-
port,” and relied less on national government
and more on their neighbors.
In the Hyogo Prefecture, recovery called
for “rebuilding the affected areas ‘effi ciently
and effectively,” Samuels wrote. “Localities
seized the relief initiative after the central
government failed to act decisively.”
First steps included a master plan creating
a comprehensive regionwide collection of
appropriate regulations, tax breaks, fi nan-
cial support and administrative measures to
facilitate investment. Central and local govern-
ments divided responsibilities from a general
“Virtually every prefecture and city started
to enhance its programs for disaster prevention
and response,” Samuels wrote.
While it is impossible to compare a poten-
tial disaster here with a nuclear incident over-
seas, the response and rate of return among
residents is worth noting.
Today in Japan the radiation evacuation
area in Fukushima Prefecture will shrink to
30 percent of its initial size, the Japan Times
reported. While the radiation component
obviously alters the equation, close to 20,000
registered residents in the fi ve municipalities
are now allowed to return home, but only 13.5
percent have opted to do so. A lack of medical
services, commercial facilities and ongoing
safety concerns over nuclear radiation have
kept return rates low, despite efforts by central
and local governments to lure back former and
new residents through facility and infrastruc-
ture construction.
Proposed South Wind site could house city services in the event of
a tsunami and quake.
A 2014 master plan shows potential development on 55 acres east
of the highway.
term storage, and is described as “resident
involved, proactive planning.”
You can fi nd shopping lists for go-bags
and instructions for pup, lean-to and bivy
tents, useful for prolonged outdoor living.
Even the hospitality industry recognizes
the urgency. Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals,
for example, posts tsunami and earthquake
warnings in their rooms, with detailed infor-
mation of how and where to go in an evacu-
The Cannon Beach 2016-17 budget
includes line items for emergency shelter and
long-term recovery, but the line items are both
zero. While emergency preparedness consult-
ing receives $50,000, CERT — which relies
on volunteers — receives $1,000. Cache site
supplies receive $7,500. The city allotted the
sum of $30,000 to emergency signage.
The city prepares
South Wind
Since we know a tsunami will come to
the North Coast, will Cannon Beach want to
rebuild? And where? And how?
With the city’s infrastructure in harm’s way
from northern tip to Tolovana, ignore hypo-
thetical scenarios at your own risk.
These are grim but realistic considerations,
especially as the city anticipates a $3.5 million
replacement cost for city offi ces and multimil-
lion dollar water storage retrofi ts.
“Recent research has confi rmed that the
Oregon Coast is subject to a signifi cant risk
of large earthquakes associated with what is
known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone,” the
Cannon Beach website states. “Such an earth-
quake will cause extensive damage. These
earthquakes can generate tsunamis that will
inundate low-lying areas requiring evacuation
to higher ground. The earthquake and subse-
quent tsunami that occurred in Japan in 2011
was caused by a subduction zone earthquake
similar to one that might occur off the Oregon
By even daring to utter the “T” word —
tsunami — Cannon Beach is ahead of some of
its neighbors.
The city’s container project seeks to
provide reliable emergency supplies for long-
The city’s South Wind site represents 58.3
acres for critical and essential facilities and
services. The land, east of Highway 101 and
south of the Haystack Heights neighborhood,
was chosen because the property is large-
ly above the reach of the largest predicted
tsunami. The police station, fi re station, day
care facilities, medical clinic are all within
the tsunami inundation zone at their current
According to the 2014 South Wind Master
Plan, the city could relocate essential services
to the new South Wind site. Current highway
access is a logging road.
Preliminary engineering work would cost
an additional $400,000, staff members said at
a January work session.
South Wind is vacant except for a water
tank and a building used for emergency sup-
ply storage.
The site was annexed into city limits but
is outside the urban growth boundary. Urban
development cannot be approved and urban
services cannot be extended to the site unless
the boundary is amended.
The City Council will decide in coming
months whether to include this amount in
the budget next fi scal year. The city has
Meg Reed of the Oregon Department of
Land Conservation and Development, af-
ter a work session with the Cannon Beach
Planning Commission.
$500,000 in the general reserve fund that
could be used for an engineering study,
City Manager Brant Kucera said at the
work session.
With City Hall facing the need for mul-
timillion dollar upgrades and repairs, costs
for bridge repairs and other safety measures,
resiliency funds could be spent in a heartbeat.
Planning for safety
Meg Reed, coastal fi eld representative
of the Oregon Coast Management Program,
a state agency for the protection of coastal
resources, came to Cannon Beach for a work
session with the Planning Commission in
Reed asked commissioners to consider
planning measures to implement safety and
evacuation goals. Every action, she said,
should be seen through the lens of safety.
“I think they’re a very progressive city in
terms of its resilience, but there’s always more
you can do,” Reed said after the meeting.
Her goal is to “improve evacuation
planning in a more comprehensive way and
also try to think through land-use measures
to limit certain uses or to improve evacuation
through new development, to reduce both
life-safety and property risk due to tsunami.”
The Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Power
Plant, arguably created the greatest long-term
hazard in Japan with three nuclear meltdowns,
contaminating soil and water supplies for
While we don’t face the risk of a crippled
reactor, we could expect the same level 9.0
earthquake experienced in Japan, Reed said.
Appreciation of those who give their time
ibrary friends, we of the Cannon
Beach Library Board were very
honored this past Wednesday,
April 5 to host our annual Volunteer
Appreciation Luncheon at the Chamber
Hall. There were games, prizes and a
delicious array of fresh food to thank our
much-appreciated volunteers.
As most Cannon Beach residents know,
our library is operated almost entirely by
a team of hardy volunteers, who perform
desk duties, keep our shelves well-stocked
and organized, help to put on various
community events and fundraisers, among
many other crucial tasks. We are beyond
grateful for our team of hard workers!
Without you, we couldn’t keep our doors
On Saturday, April 8, author Warren Ea-
sley will be speaking at the library at 2 p.m.
Once a research scientist and international
business executive, Easley now lives in
Portland, where he spends his time writing
fi ction and tutoring GED students. His Cal
Claxton Mystery Series began with “Matter
David F. Pero
R.J. Marx
Betty Smith
Production Manager
John D. Bruijn
Classifi ed Sales
Jamie Ramsdell
Advertising Sales
Holly Larkins
Brandy Stewart
of Doubt,” then “Dead Float” and now
continues with “Never Look Down,” which
was recently published. Attendance at
recent author talks has been quite heavy, so
anyone wishing to get a seat should arrive
well before the start of the lecture.
The World of Haystack Rock lecture se-
ries will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April
12, when Tom Horning of Horning Geosci-
ences will be giving a talk on the geology
of Haystack Rock. Of course, we can see
the rock on a daily basis (except when the
weather is unusually foggy) but how much
do we actually know about how the rock
and surrounding rocks were formed centu-
ries ago. Anybody who lives on the North
Coast, or even many of our visitors, will
fi nd this a very interesting presentation.
Staff writer
Brenna Visser
Contributing writers
Rebecca Herren
Katherine Lacaze
Eve Marx
Nancy McCarthy
The Cannon Beach Gazette is published every other
week by EO Media Group.
1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside, Oregon 97138
503-738-5561 • Fax 503-738-9285 • email:
A special treat is in store for partici-
pants in Cannon Beach Reads, our own
reading discussion group. Longtime Can-
non Beach resident Peter Lindsey has done
a rewrite of “Comin’ in Over the Rock”
and this local book will be the focus of the
regular group meeting, which will be at 7
p.m. Wednesday, April 19. New members
are always welcome, but anyone who has
read Peter’s first version of the book, or
knows him personally, should find this
a very interesting historical discussion
As we progress toward the important
celebration being held in October 2017
— namely our 90th birthday as a library —
we have several wonderful future events in
late spring and early summer scheduled.
In conclusion, we would once again like
to heartily thank the wonderful volunteers
who — over the years and especially the
past year — have graciously volunteered
their time to keeping the Cannon Beach Li-
brary the cozy and well-run establishment
it continues to be!
Annually: $40.50 in county, $58.00 in and out of county.
Postage Paid at: Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Send address changes to Cannon Beach Gazette, P.O. Box
210, Astoria, OR 97103
Copyright 2017 © Cannon Beach Gazette. Nothing can
be reprinted or copied without consent of the owners.
Meg Reed meets with members of the
Cannon Beach Planning Commission to
discuss tsunami resiliency.
What could new state planning recommen-
dations bring?
“Potentially less development, or it could
mean the same amount of development but
having mitigation measures be part of it,”
Reed said. “We’re trying to get ourselves
more prepared so we can be able to recover
more quickly after the event.”
In Cannon Beach, the lesson learned from
the 2011 quake was not to look back, but to
look ahead and plan for what’s next.
Will it be development of the 58-acre
South Wind site east of Highway 101 as an
“urban reserve”? More funds to make down-
town structures more resilient or even taller
to enable vertical evacuation? Retrofi ts to
city bridges? Or a tsunami overlay zone with
limits to downtown growth?
“Education and outreach, individual and
family preparedness, along with planning for
emergency services, evacuation, economic
recovery are all critical components of com-
munity efforts to prepare,” authors write in the
2014 “Preparing for a Cascadia Subduction
Zone Tsumani: A Land Use Guide for Oregon
Coastal Communities.”
In the long term, communities should un-
dertake a comprehensive risk-based approach
to reducing exposure and vulnerability to all
natural hazards that potentially affect the com-
munity, authors write. “Although this type
of effort will provide some high risk com-
munities with the land-use tools necessary to
comprehensively address resilience to a local
tsunami event, it will likely include controver-
sy and community debate.”
In the time of crisis after the Japanese 2011
tsunami, author Samuels pointed out, “Rarely
has local government mattered so deeply to so
many Japanese at the same time.”
We can expect the same to hold true here.
Tuesday, April 11
Cannon Beach City Council, 5:30 p.m., work session,
City Hall, 163 E. Gower St.
Tuesday, April 18
Cannon Beach Public Works Committee, 9 a.m.,
City Hall, 163 E. Gower St.
Thursday, April 20
Cannon Beach Parks and Community Services
Committee, 9 a.m., City Hall, 163 E. Gower St.
Cannon Beach Design Review Board, 6 p.m., City
Hall, 163 E. Gower St.
Thursday, April 27
Cannon Beach Planning Commission, 6 p.m., City
Hall, 163 E. Gower St. Friday, April 28
Friday, April 28
Cannon Beach Emergency Preparedness Com-
mittee, 10 a.m., City Hall, 163 E. Gower St.
Tuesday, May 2
Cannon Beach City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall, 163
E. Gower St.
Tuesday, May 9
Cannon Beach City Council, 5:30 p.m., work session,
City Hall, 163 E. Gower St.