Hawaiian quake shakes things up for Lake Oswegans


Several Lake Oswego residents were caught up in Sunday's earthquake that rocked the Hawaiian Islands.

The 6.6-magnitude quake hit at 7:07 a.m. Sunday on Hawaii's Big Island. It caused power blackouts, landslides and minor injuries but there were no reports of fatalities.

Lake Oswego residents Roger and Judy Blecher were at their home Sunday on the Big Island when the earthquake hit.

In an e-mail back to Lake Oswego friends, Roger Blecher wrote:

'Sunday morning was frightening and we had two big shakes, each lasting almost 50 seconds, one medium shake and 20 aftershocks here. The other islands felt the outer effects whilst we were at the source, shaking and rocking.

'Schools are closed in the two small towns on either side of our place while damage is still being assessed. One of the first Protestant churches built on the Big Island, in the 1800s is rubble and damage is all around.

'Our home here at Punalu'u was not damaged but our condo in Kona, only 9 miles from the epicenter, had some minimal damage, pictures down, etc. The building there has structural damage, cracks in walls, etc.'

Meanwhile, Doug Oliphant was on Maui to attend his son's wedding when the strongest earthquake to rattle the islands in more than two decade struck the nearby Big Island.

Preliminary damage estimates from the earthquake that shook Hawaii over the weekend hit $46 million on Tuesday, and President Bush declared a major disaster, opening the way for federal aid.

Aftershocks were still being felt on Wednesday.

In an e-mail send back to the mainland, Oliphant wrote that he work up early Sunday in hopes of beating the crowd to a Wailea golf course driving range.

'As I quickly stepped out of the shower, the building began to shake and I hung on to the door jam for dear life. A couple down the way ran out of their room naked as jay birds, apparently believing the building was coming down,' he wrote.

He continued on to the golf course, figuring tongue-in-cheek, 'that if there was going to be a tidal wave, I might have a few new water hazards to hit over. It was interesting to note that the golf course was full - golf must go on regardless - the old 'hit-the-ball-and-drag-your-dead-partner's-body philosophy.''

Despite early fears, the quake did not trigger a tsunami.

Oliphant indcated that on Maui he saw flooded roads, trucks and cars in ditches, the Pacific turned brown from runoff and 'the beach wedding had to be rescheduled for Wednesday.'

Also impacted were arriving members of the wedding party from Oregon, some of whom had to 'sit in their plane in Honolulu for four hours before continuing on to Maui … only to be greeted by torrential rains.'

Once the rains started, Oliphant also noted that 'homes and businesses are discovering earthquake damage they didn't believe that had - their roofs are leaking.'