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  • 22 Dec 2014

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Enjoy the Oregon Coast but know where to skedaddle if the Big One hits

It’s safe to go in the water now on the Oregon Coast, or at least safer.

For the first time, the state has mapped the entire coast to show tsunami dangers and evacuation routes in the event of a tsunami. The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has completed a four-year campaign to complete maps and produce educational materials for the public.

The geology agency prepared 89 tsunami inundation maps that show Oregon coastal areas that could flood, plus 42 evacuation maps for citizens in various coastal communities. Evacuation maps are now available as pocket-sized brochures.

"We're the first generation in Oregon to fully understand the threat from earthquakes and tsunamis," said Governor John Kitzhaber in a prepared statement. "This project has brought coastal communities together to become more prepared, thanks to federal funding, state expertise in mapping and outreach, and a local sense of responsibility. Coastal residents want to live with peace of mind and also let visitors know they're open for business and will know where to go if a tsunami strikes."

Experts say it’s a matter of if, not when, the state will experience a major earthquake and tsunami from the Cascadia fault, which runs parallel to the Northwest coast under the ocean.

Tillamook County leaders have already conducted their first tsunami evacuation drill. The county and 14 other Oregon local governments have received a TsunamiReady designation from the National Weather Service, acknowledging their tsunami preparation efforts.

For more information and to see the evacuation maps, visit OregonTsunami.org.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.