PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After a tsunami advisory on the Oregon coast last month, KOIN 6 News checked in with Oregon State University about its vertical evacuation structure in Newport.

First reported in the New York Times, there have only been two vertical evacuation structures built in the Pacific Northwest, one being OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. The center is built to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and has a rooftop to support up to 900 people.

The Big One — known as the Cascadia Subduction Earthquake – that’s set to hit the Pacific Northwest would impact a 600-mile fault located 70-100 miles off the West Coast of North America.

Robert Cowen, the director of the center, said there are emergency supplies available with three different ways to access the roof.

“One is there’s a ramp that starts from the ground level and moves up along the side and then over the top of the two-story auditorium,” Cowen said. “It then completes and connects with the third story roof.”

The center was completed in August of 2020 and cost about $62 million to build. According to the university, the building is about 47-feet high and the foundation goes about 100 feet into the ground.

Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for university relations and marketing, said the center is a way for Oregon State to showcase preparedness and resiliency.

“It provides a ramp that provides accessibility up to the rooftop and provides opportunity for those that otherwise might not be able to a nearby hill,” Clark said.

The rooftop is also available for people in the community.

Clark added that it’s important to understand that earthquakes will happen and hopes that this structure can make the Oregon coast feel supported in case of a major disaster.

“It’s important to not abandon those communities,” he said. “It’s important to provide for their safety and their preparedness.”

Cowen echoed Clark’s sentiments of leaving no one behind in case of a major earthquake and tsunami by highlighting the building’s features, which include an elevator with its own generator.

“In the event of a large seismic event, that elevator will continue to work, and it will still be able to take several hundred people up in a 15-minute period. It’s going to enable people who are already physically challenged or injured to get up to the roof if they couldn’t make it up the ramps themselves,” Cowen explained. “We also have a hardened staircase inside the building as well that would still be functional after an earthquake.”

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management encourages people to be prepared to be on their own with enough food, water and supplies for a minimum of two weeks after a major earthquake and tsunami event.