Earthquakes

Seismic retrofitting 'protects my kids, home'

Homeowner in Irvington neighborhood pro-active in efforts

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Abby Hall and her family of 5 just moved into their new home in Portland's Irvington neighborhood. Like many homes here, this craftsman house was built in 1914 and wasn't built with earthquakes in mind. 

Before moving in, Abby and her husband made sure to retrofit their century-old home to withstand a big quake.  

"My husband grew up in Los Angeles, and his childhood home actually moved off the foundation in the 1989 earthquake in California," she told KOIN 6 News.

Abby works as a disaster planner, so she knows the data and probability of Cascadia hitting the Pacific Northwest. 

"I have my 3 kids living in this house. I have my 99-year old grandmother over here. We want to make sure the house doesn't fall down on them in the event of an earthquake." 

The real estate market in Portland is not built around telling buyers about earthquake safety, she said. That's why she believes it's important to talk to engineers and experts like Taylor Pease with Earthquake Tech. 

"We're installing hardware that essentially is never going to fail," Pease said. "We're creating the strongest link in the chain."

Pease said they install 2 separate sets of reinforcement connecting the house to the foundation. Without this, the only thing keeping the house in place is gravity. 

In the event of an earthquake, this will prevent Abby Hall's house from sliding off the foundation and falling into the basement.  

Abby says this kind of insurance and reassurance is priceless. 

"For me," she said, "it was about protecting the lives of my kids, but also protecting my asset, my investment in this home."

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Earthquake Tech is sponsoring an earthquake preparedness presentation called "Tipping Point Resilience: The Subduction Zone and You" at McMenamins Mission Theater. It begins at 7 p.m. Thursday and has a $5 suggested donation.


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