Main station partially closed through January as state prepares emergency services for Cascadia earthquake

Woodburn Fire District's station on Newberg Highway will be partially closed until January 2019 as it undergoes construction for seismic upgrades.

Woodburn Fire Chief Joe Budge said the construction project was part of a statewide effort to upgrade critical facilities like fire stations as part of preparations for the eventual Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

Funding for the $1.6 million project is from two grants: $971,000 from a State of Oregon seismic grant and $670,000 from a City of Woodburn Urban Renewal grant.

The station was originally built in 1976, when state building codes did not include seismic requirements.

"The state is preparing for the Cascadia earthquake," Budge said. "If the funding is not used here it will be used in other communities."

The west side of the fire station was renovated in 2006, Budge said. However, the crew living quarters, apparatus storage, kitchen and training areas are all still vulnerable. The project will construct seismic improvements to secure those portions of the station.

The fire station will remain operational during construction. The on-duty crew will use the Newberg Highway station during the day and the James Street station at night because the crew living quarters will be unusable during the construction.

Emerick Construction of Tualatin has been selected to provide construction management and general contractor services for the project. Emerick has experience in the seismic upgrade and construction of fire stations, including eight recent fire station projects in Clackamas and Washington counties.

The Cascadia subduction zone is a 600-mile fault that runs from Northern California to British Columbia about 100 miles off the Pacific coast. The fault produces 9.0 and greater magnitude earthquakes between 200 and 1,000 years apart, with the potential to produce 100-foot tsunamis on the coast.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone has not produced an earthquake since 1700, when Japanese records indicate that a destructive tsunami crossed the Pacific and caught coastal cities by surprise.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is currently building up pressure and there is a about a 40-percent chance of a 9.0 magnitude or greater earthquake in the fault zone in the next 50 years, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. OEM predicts that the state will be without services and assistance for two weeks or longer when the earthquake strikes.

Patrick Evans



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