A major seismic event is predicted to hit the Oregon Coast any year now, which has transportation planning experts asking, “Is Oregon prepared?”

OTREC seismic expert and Portland State University Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Peter Dusicka recently spoke at a May 13 symposium titled, Next Big Earthquake In Oregon: Are We Ready? Along with five other PSU professors, the Maseeh College-sponsored symposium addressed the state’s preparedness in terms of emergency response and infrastructure. Dusicka’s talk focused on the ability of Oregon’s bridges to perform in a major earthquake.

“We depend on our network of bridges for anything from immediate emergency response to transportation of goods and services,” Dusicka said. “There is no doubt that there is an inventory (of bridges) within Oregon of a certain vintage where we know there will be issues.”

The ability of a bridge to withstand a seismic event can depend on the type of bridge, when it was constructed and how it’s supported in terms of a foundation, Dusicka said. OTREC recently worked with ODOT to examine several hundred bridges in Oregon for seismic deficiency. The most telling trait, Dusicka said, is age.

“Over time, we’ve learned the ways we’ve designed and built bridges are not the best for resisting earthquakes,” Dusicka said. “The challenge with remediation today is, do we have the knowledge to do this effectively, and if we do, do we have the funds to execute...

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As a student at the University of British Columbia, Peter Dusicka pursued earthquake engineering in part because so few others had taken that path. “I was looking for a way to make a difference and looking for areas within civil engineering that seemed immature,” Dusicka said.

There was too much guesswork as to how well the Pacific Northwest’s transportation network would handle the type of subduction zone earthquakes the region is prone to. Now, thanks in part to Dusicka’s research, we know a lot more.

When it comes to the fragility of Oregon’s transportation system, the recent earthquakes around the Pacific Rim provide more insight into a major quake than do models developed for North America, said Dusicka an OTREC researcher and Portland State University associate professor. “The subduction zone earthquake in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia isn’t a threat anywhere else in the U.S.,” he said.

The recent Japanese quake as well as the one in Chile—both subduction-zone quakes—are more instructive. Subduction-zone quakes tend to be larger magnitude, shake longer and affect a larger geographic area than other earthquakes.

The serious earthquake related damage in Japan probably would have been worse had that country’s leaders not been spurred by the 1995 Kobe earthquake. “The Japanese people and...

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Webinar: Developing Practical Dynamic Evaluation Methods for Transportation Structures

Deteriorating transportation infrastructure is constantly in the news. Government agencies at all levels are pursuing methods to monitor structural health, so that they can prioritize repairs. In Oregon, the Cascadia Subduction Zone megathrust earthquake looms as a significant natural hazard for which...

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Friday Transportation Seminar at Portland State University featuring Haizhong Wang, Oregon State University

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. With the start of 2019, we're changing it up a bit! The seminar will be delivered 11:30 am (sharp) - 12:30 pm, with additional discussion over coffee and donuts (protect the planet—bring a mug!) from 12:30 to 1:00 pm. You can also watch online.

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

Miss the seminar or want a look back?

THE TOPIC

This seminar will present ongoing research into how integrated social, natural, and engineered systems can improve life safety under threat of multi-hazards. The targeted scenario is a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, threatening communities along 1,000 miles of the US Pacific Northwest coastline. 

Since the mid-1980’s...

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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

Transportation systems play a critical role in maintaining supply chains for effective post-disaster recovery. Modeling the potential economic impact of transportation-related disruptions, therefore, is an important step to promoting pre-event communitywide recovery and resilience planning. But existing supply chain and economic impact models are cost prohibitive and overly sophisticated for use by public sector entities with limited resources. There is also limited understanding of how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) adjust to post-disaster transportation disruption and how this experience influences their future preparedness for similar events. Since SMEs make up a majority of businesses within the US, post-disaster transportation loss can significantly affect the local economy and the recovery trajectory for the entire community.

This project has two objectives:

  1. To develop a collaborative university-community partnership framework for analyzing the economic impact due to transportation disruptions in earthquake country
  2. To examine SME preparedness to such managing such disruptions...
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