Are you ready?

I am running for the Democratic Nomination for the State House, District 32, which includes Clatsop, Tillamook and a portion of Washington County. I am writing to state my concern for the readiness of our region for a high-level disaster, such as an earthquake and its resulting tsunami, driven by a recent report issued by the Oregon Secretary of State’s audit section. It reports that such a disaster could cause up to 10,000 deaths and $30 billion in property damages. The report goes on to declare: “Oregon does not meet baseline standards for preparedness response, accountability and resource needs.” Further, planning efforts are lacking, continuity plans are either incomplete or missing, meaning Oregon potentially faces a loss of federal grant funding for disasters.

If this is true, then we need to increase our efforts to retrofit and reinforce key infrastructure. Also mentioned for concern was the need for coordinating, planning and training exercises to insure our preparedness meets baseline standards. The Secretary of State also notes the need for improvement in response and recovery; that is, actions taken to return to normal. Since most of the resources needed to make improvements must come from the State and Federal government, as a legislator, I would, if elected, be committed to conscientious oversight.

The voters should know about the progress, efficiency and effectiveness of both programs and administrators.

With a major earthquake it may be hard to return to normal, but efforts undertaken now can mitigate the suffering caused by such a disaster. Time is not on our side.

John F. Orr