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OSU Officials Highlight Developing Facility's Disaster Readiness

Brian Bull

Progress on what’s billed as one of the first “vertical evacuation” sites in the U.S. is proceeding steadily. KLCC’s Brian Bull gives an update on Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Building in Newport.

Construction on the building began in March 2018, and it’s expected to open in late February for classes and research.  One of the facility's most notable features is its rooftop evacuation space. Placed at a height of nearly 50 feet, it’s to allow up to 900 people to gather there in the case of a major earthquake, and -ideally- above rising waters in the case of a tsunami.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Project architect Crystal Sanderson shows off the sloping walkway in progress on the roof of the OSU Marine Studies building.

Crystal Sanderson of YGH Architecture met with regional media late Tuesday afternoon to explore the construction underway, and discuss features including the sloped evacuation walkway.

“And there’s a seismic joint between the two wings of the building, and this slope goes over the top of the roof," she said, walking towards the walkway on a bright afternoon.

"We have over here, guardrails to guide you down to the sloped berm with geo-foam that we were looking at down below.”

Critics – including OSU geologist Chris Goldfinger – have questioned the decision to build the $62 million facility in a tsunami zone.

WEB EXTRA: See the current status of the OSU Marine Studies Building and hear officials discuss the design and analysis surrounding the project.  Video recorded and produced by KLCC's Brian Bull.

OSU currently has two live webcams focused on the construction activity here.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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