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    Event celebrates seismic upgrades at historic school

    Event celebrates seismic upgrades at historic school

    Photo By Sgt. Cory Grogan | Dr. Chris Goldfinger, one of the world’s leading subduction zone earthquake experts...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Cory Grogan 

    Oregon Emergency Management

    ALBANY, Ore. - Central Elementary School in Albany, Ore., conducted an earthquake drill followed by a building tour after an assembly April 24 celebrating $1.5 million in seismic upgrades that the school was awarded through the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program managed by Oregon Emergency Management.

    Since 2009, state-funded seismic retrofit grants have been awarded to 21 K-12 schools, three Oregon community college and university campuses, and 18 public safety facilities deemed in danger during an earthquake. The governor’s budget requests $30 million for this priority for the next two years, and legislators will decide the final funding level later this spring.

    The program has already awarded $30 million to provide structural integrity and preserve historical schools and emergency service buildings in Oregon and hopes to do more good for the state, said Martin Plotner, Oregon Emergency Management director.

    “They’ve been able to retrofit a number of schools and we’re hoping that the legislature decides to extend that program and continue to designate funds for schools and first responders,” Plotner said to a group of guests after the assembly.

    Distinguished guests and experts at the event included Sen. Betsy Close, R-Albany, Albany School District Superintendent Maria Delapoer, Dr. Chris Goldfinger, one of the world’s leading subduction zone earthquake experts from Oregon State University, Albany Mayor Sharon Canopa, Jay Raskin, a commissioner with the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, and Ryan McGoldrick, Preparedness Program coordinator for the Oregon region.

    David Mckay, director of Project Solutions Group, Willamette Education Service District, who was project manager at Central Elementary, led a tour of the building and said the renovations make many students and teachers feel like they are in a new building. The historic site that has hosted two Oregon State vs. Oregon rivalry football games was built in 1915.

    “It just seemed new when the teachers came back to school, they just thought the school was new in so many ways because you had fresh paint, you had new carpet and much more,” McKay said.

    Emilia Watts, a fifth grade student at Central Elementary said she learned a lot about earthquakes at the assembly.

    “I do feel more prepared and know that, if it did happen, I would know what to do,” Watts remarked.

    Raskin said examples in Japan and Chile are good guidelines for Oregon to follow when it comes to earthquake preparedness.

    “If you are attentive and make things better and stronger, you can make things a lot safer, and that’s what we’re trying to do for the state of Oregon,” Raskin said.

    Edward Wolf, a writer, parent and advocate for seismic safety in schools, said seismic issues have entered the Oregon consciousness.

    Wolf is the co-founder of Oregon Parents for Quake Resistant Schools.

    “The pilot phase of the program was a hugely intelligent, successful, impactful public investment and we can grow it,” Wolf explained. “I am grateful to Oregon Emergency Management for growing this program and demonstrating the professionalism that every school district who has had one of these projects praises.”

    Here is an opinion editorial Wolf wrote to go along with the event:

    To learn more about the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program go to:



    Date Taken: 04.24.2013
    Date Posted: 04.25.2013 15:40
    Story ID: 105843
    Location: ALBANY, OR, US 

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