Oregon wrestles with building facilities in tsunami zones

Earthquakes

A leading earthquake expert says lawmakers are making a big mistake

FILE – In this July 22, 2019, file photo, Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Building, which is under construction in a tsunami inundation zone, is viewed from the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Ore. The building, center right, is surrounded by Yaquina Bay. The Oregon Legislature appears poised to continue to allow construction of critical facilities in tsunami inundation zones, a move slammed by critics. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Experts say the big one is coming to the Pacific Northwest: a massive earthquake that will cause buildings and bridges to collapse and unleash a tsunami that will devastate the coast.

But, doubling down on its decision last year to allow the construction of critical facilities in tsunami inundation zones, the Oregon Legislature appears headed to approve building standards for those facilities, like police and fire stations. The House Committee on Natural Resources last week approved the measure by a 6-1 vote, sending it to the House floor for a vote.

A leading earthquake expert, and the lone dissenting voter, says lawmakers are making a big mistake.

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