What Will Portland Be Like After a Massive Earthquake?

The city's emergency experts provide a bracing preview of how the city will recover from the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake.

Edited by Zach Dundas January 19, 2015

On January 26, 1700, a magnitude 9 earthquake shook the Pacific Northwest. No recorded history of the damage exists—Lewis and Clark wouldn't paddle by present-day Portland for more than 100 years. Zoom ahead to the next Cascadia Subduction Zone quake—in the next 50 years or the next 50 seconds—and the story will be far different. Join us next Monday for a special edition of the Bright Lights discussion series on the 315th anniversary of the last Big One for a glimpse ahead to the weeks and the years following the next Big One.

Carmen Merlo, Portland’s director of emergency management, will report on her recent research trip to Christchurch, New Zealand, a city similar to Portland that suffered quakes in 2010 and 2011. What buildings survived? What businesses rebounded fastest? And how did the art and design communities play pivotal roles?

Joe Zehnder, Portland’s chief planner, offers insights into how Portland might change long-term as the city rebuilds, and how Portlanders can prepare to shape that future.

Randy Gragg, Portland Monthly contributing editor and creator of the magazine's in-depth feature story on how the Cascadia quake will affect the city and what we need to do to prepare, will lead the discussion.

Plus: Quake Kits! Sample survival kits for your home, backpacks, bikes, and wheelchairs will be on view.

The details: Join Mercy Corps Northwest, the UO John Yeon Center, and Portland Monthly on Jan. 26; doors open at 5:30 pm and the discussion begins at 6 pm at Mercy Corps Action Center (28 SW First Ave). Admission is free.

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