A pilot project to provide seismic and energy upgrades to around 30 homes in the Portland area will be announced Thursday by Oregon U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, City Commissioner Steve Novick, and Clean Energy Works CEO Derek Smith.

The project is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which awarded it to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the City of Portland's Bureau of Emergency Management.

Homeowners in the pilot project will receive funds to cover approximately 75 percent of the cost of the seismic upgrades. The goal is to test the feasibility of including seismic upgrade services as part of the overall home upgrade program services provided through Clean Energy Works in the future.

The announcement is scheduled to be made at the Southeast Portland home of a project participant.

Portland was chosen because it is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an active earthquake area that has historically seen big earthquakes every 400 years. Oregon's last major earthquake occurred in January of 1700.

Older homes may be vulnerable to structural failure in earthquakes if they're not bolted to their foundations. In fact, severe ground shaking during an earthquake may cause these homes to collapse entirely. Seismic upgrades bring safety to homeowners and protect their homes, if an earthquake hits.

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