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GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Craig Sheldon, Sherwood Public Works director, watches a televised newscast of the destruction of I-5 as part of an earthquake drill on June 7. Sheldon served as incident commander as part of the scenario.The simulation unfolded preciously at 9 a.m. Tuesday: A devastating 9.0-magnatude Cascadia earthquake and tsunami slammed the state, causing massive destruction to power grids, area roads, buildings and other infrastructure. Mock televised news reports ran down the extent of the damage.


At Sherwood’s Emergency Operations Center, set up in the community room at the Sherwood Police Department, city staff, police officers, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue personnel, ham radio operators and others all hunkered down Tuesday to run through their paces as part of Cascadia rising, the largest-ever regional exercise supported by FEMA Region X on June 7 and 8.

GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Brad Crawford, the citys information technology director, mans numerous computers that he will hand off to city staff as part of drill to see how the city would respond to a 9-0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami.Under the scenario for Sherwood, Tualatin-Sherwood Road was completely shut down after a shifting of ground uprooted asphalt roadway and Tonquin Road was impassable due to numerous landslides. Portions of Highway 99W were seriously damaged as well and collapses of local bridges spanning the Tualatin River (including Roy Rogers Road) made much of the outlying roads inaccessible. Broken water lines and tainted water were expected to create serious health hazards.

GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - City planners, including Brad Kilby, right, go through thieir paces during an earthquake drill that renders most area roads impassable and destroys the citys water system. “It’s going really well,” said Capt. Mark Daniel, a member of the Sherwood Police Department who was serving as executive coordinator, controller and evaluator for the exercise, which continues through Wednesday. “All city departments are pretty much represented here.”

During the exercises, periodic news reports, complete with “live” video of the destruction (including a ripped up road that newscasters identified as I-5) was played on a large screen in the back of the room.

Part of the earthquake simulation – the magnitude which is equal to that of the catastrophic earthquake that struck Japan in 2011 – called for police and public works teams to conduct “windshield surveys, visually inspecting critical infrastructure around town where they checked for downed buildings, gas ruptures and injured residents.

GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Sherwood City Manager Joe Gall receives updates on the damage done throughout the city as part of a mock earthquake that mimic the magnitude of the earthquake and tsunami that devestated Japan in 2011.Meanwhile, Daniel said the earthquake exercise gave the city a reason to check the reliability of an emergency back-up generator housed in back of the Sherwood Police Department.

“We’re on 100 percent generator right now,” said Daniel of the power source that continued to run lights, countless computers and video equipment. “That’s one of the things we wanted to test.”

Daniel said plans were to run the diseal-powered piece of equipment all day.

In addition, all of Tuesday’s exercises were conducted with no cell phones or the 800 MHz emergency radios used for emergency communications. Plans for Wednesday included reinstating land lines, cell phones and emergency communications. (An old-style princess telephone, complete with a long cord, sat on the desk of Kristen Switzer, the city’s community services director, as part of the exercise.)

Daniel said once the simulation is over, the city will go over how it did and how it could improve.

GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Maps of the citys water system show where pipes run throughout the city and could be used to pinpoint damage when a major earthquake occurs.

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