After the Wave: Testing Pre-Tsunami Disaster Recovery Planning on the Oregon Coast (2014-16)

Connie Ozawa
Portland State University
School of Urban Studies and Planning
PO Box 751 – USP
Portland, OR 97207
Phone: 503-725-5126

Co-PI: Paul Manson, PSU

Oregonians are increasingly aware of their vulnerabilities to tsunamis and the risks that coastal communities face. Evacuation education and signage programs are prevalent up and down the west coast, with documented increases in community response to impending coastal hazards. What lags behind, however, are planning efforts to effectively implement preparation, mitigation and recovery measures.

Communities on the Oregon coast are well-aware of the threat of a tsunami and many have undertaken substantial work to prepare for an unfortunate event. Ozawa and her team propose an innovative approach that allows for planning despite entrenched interests on the coast. Instead of asking how to adapt existing infrastructure and coastal development to new tsunami inundation information, they will engage a pilot coastal community to imagine what their community might best look like 5 or 10 years after the tsunami, and what might be done today toward realization of that vision.

Through analysis of survey results and discussions with coastal residents and visitors to test post-disaster scenarios in the pilot community, Ozawa aims to support local planners in their own efforts, leading to communities that are personally invested in recovery and reconstruction. This research is the first effort in the U.S. to explore tsunami pre-disaster recovery planning, and can serve as a model for broad-based hazards planning work.

Strategic Plan Focus Area: Resilient Communities and Economies

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