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Oregon House Approves Bill Establishing Tsunami Zone Building Standards

Tom Banse
Northwest News Network

The Oregon House voted Friday to advance a measure that would establish building standards for critical infrastructure in tsunami zones.

It comes after lawmakers voted last year to remove a longstanding ban on building critical infrastructure in tsunami zones, including schools, hospitals, and fire departments. This year’s measure, House Bill 4119, would adopt building standards for public infrastructure that does get built in a tsunami zone.

Coastal lawmakers such as Rep. David Gomberg, D-Lincoln City, said for towns along the coast, there’s little room to build anywhere except in a tsunami zone. “So if we’ve got no place else to go, then let’s use the best available standards to build the best structures we can, in the only place that we have to place them," he said.

Opponents said the ban on building critical infrastructure in tsunami zones should never have been lifted in the first place. The bill passed 51-6 and now moves to the Oregon Senate.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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