Letter to the Editor: SHOULD WE ALLOW BUILDING CONSTRUCTION IN HAZARD ZONES?

OK, I think we’ve all learned a bit about earthquakes, tsunamis, and global warming over the last 20 years. And learned that the Oregon Coast is a major impact area for all of those. (http://www.tombender.org/societyworthlivingforarticles/ORglobalwarming.pdf)

Good news! Seaside is relocating their schools out of the tsunami zone. (Hooray!)
Manzanita is relocating their city offices outside the inundation zone into earthquake resistant buildings. (Hooray #2!)

But it seems time that we take some more extensive actions.

* SHOULDN’T WE BE UPDATING OUR COMPREHENSIVE PLANS AND ZONING ORDINANCES to include policies dealing with these massive issues? (Or at least acknowledge their existence?)

* SHOULD WE BE ALLOWING NEW CONSTRUCTION IN THOSE HAZARD ZONES, and sale of condos, etc. to unsuspecting newbies to the coast?

Who pays for the increased risk of new construction like this in areas known to be in high risk from tsunami or global warming?

Current development standards still allow construction such as this, with its toes almost in the ocean even under normal conditions. Should we pay insurance for new development certain
to be impacted by tsunami and global warming?

* Back in 2006/2008, most insurance companies stopped writing insurance policies near ALL the coastlines in the US. Seems they figured something out – that location in those areas is disastrous. (http://www.tombender.org/columns/BUILDING%2520MORATORIUM%2520.pdf)

* SHOULD WE BE ALLOWING REBUILDING IN THOSE ZONES AFTER THE BIG ONE? Sendai, Japan, has a big rock that has had carved into it for 300 years, “Do NOT build closer to the ocean than this point.” It was ignored, with loss of 10s of thousands of lives and billions of dollars of damage from Fukushima.

These are big and scary questions, but the answers seem to be weaving together into multiple POSITIVE benefits. Manzanita’s new “Civic Center” will presumably be “Net-Zero-Energy” construction to reduce global warming, with solar panels that would provide electricity after the Big One, and a large gathering space for refuge from that event. Any maybe solar cars that would store the solar electricity for night-time use. And . . . . . !

Doesn’t it seem better to be investing for a future in locations that are less vulnerable? With better standards, construction, power that can help REVERSE global warming.

WE ARE THE IMPACT ZONE. IT’S TIME FOR US TO TAKE LEADERSHIP. 100 cities have now signed on to achieve 100% renewable energy. It’s time for our cities and counties to join in. We need to start there. We can also quickly become the SIXTH city in the US to have 100% renewable electricity. Yes . . . cowshit can reverse global warming!!!

Tom Bender * 26 June 17