SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Legislature has repealed a nearly 25-year-old law prohibiting new schools, hospitals, jails, and police and fire stations from being built in the state’s tsunami inundation zone.
The Statesman Journal reports that coastal legislators, who pushed the bill, say the risks of a natural disaster must be weighed against an actual economic disaster already unfolding because of the statute.
Rep. David Gomberg, a Democrat from Otis, said without new emergency services buildings, coastal residents and businesses will not be able to get property insurance and without new schools, property values will fall.
Oregon has a 30 percent chance of experiencing a 9.0-magnitude-plus Cascadia subduction zone earthquake in the next 50 years. The quake would be followed by a tsunami similar to the one that devastated eastern Japan in 2011.