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Columbia City combining 'Prepare Fair' with Celebration

Two-hour event will focus on earthquake preparedness

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY AND MINERAL INDUSTRIES - Damage to a building in Seattle caused by the Nisqually earthquake in early 2001. The quake struck near Olympia, Wash., and was felt throughout western Washington and northwestern Oregon.This year’s Columbia City Celebration will include two events in one: both the library fundraiser, with its book sale, car show and strawberry pancake breakfast, and the city’s annual Emergency Management Prepare Fair.

Last fall, Columbia City had its first Prepare Fair. The focus was on preparing for and responding to a chemical leak, such as a hypothetical major toxic release from the Dyno Nobel fertilizer plant just north of the city. This year, the focus is on a particularly daunting type of natural disaster: earthquakes.

“We decided last year at the conclusion of last year’s separate standalone Prepare Fair to combine it with City Celebration this year and continue it, and to do the earthquake thrust of it for this year,” said Michael McGlothlin, Columbia City police chief.

Oregon is a seismically active state. It is both criss-crossed by fault lines, many of which have yet to be mapped, and located precariously close to the meeting of two tectonic plates in what is known as the Cascadia subduction zone. The last major earthquake from the subduction zone was in 1700, but scientists say the zone could unleash another quake at any time within the next several hundred years, with little to no warning.

The Prepare Fair in Columbia City will feature representatives from the American Red Cross, the Columbia County Department of Emergency Management, the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, and other organizations with information or advice to share.

Photo Credit: FILE - The Columbia City School, where this year's Emergency Management Prepare Fair will be held Saturday, Sept. 20. An old school portable houses the Columbia City Community Library, for which the annual Columbia City Celebration on the same day is a major fundraiser.“The final plans are coming together,” McGlothlin reported to the City Council on Thursday, Sept. 4. “Looks like we’ll have a good representation there for both general emergency preparedness and then specific issues for earthquake.”

City Administrator Leahnette Rivers said there will also be vendors present who sell emergency preparation kits and supplies.

Experts recommend residents of western Oregon keep a stockpile of food, water and other essential supplies to last at least three days. Some suggest it is better to prepare a kit for at least two or three weeks.

Celebration is coming up next Saturday, Sept. 20. The Prepare Fair will be held that morning in the event tent at the Columbia City School, from 10 a.m. to noon.

A similar event combining a public festival with an emergency preparedness fair was held last month on Sauvie Island. The island’s fire station hosted the annual All-Island Watermelon Festival and an auxiliary “Let’s Prepare Fair” on Aug. 16.

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