Our Infrastructure

The Problem

Oregon is unprepared. With the impending Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake, that is predicted to be one of the largest the world has ever seen, we are not doing enough to make sure we are prepared. It is well known that one of out main petroleum storage plants in Oregon will not withstand the earthquake, polluting the Willamette and creating a state-wide gasoline shortage.

Seven seven of our dams are in ‘unsatisfactory’ condition, all of which are ‘high hazard potential,’ meaning at least one human life would be lost if they were to fail. Detroit Dam, which supplies Salem with drinking water, while not yet in unsatisfactory condition, is one of those high hazard potential dams. If it were to fail much of the Mid-Willamette Valley would be flooded.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 439 of our bridges are structurally deficient. Driving on bad roads cost Oregonians an average of $285 dollars a year. Drinking water infrastructure needs $5.6 billion over the next 20 years. All this is highlighted because of the impending massive earthquake. It needs to be a priority and right now, and Paul Evans voting to withhold funding for it last session tells us all we need to know.

The Solution 

  • Critical question: count how many overpasses, and small bridges you cross on the way home. These along with many others will become unusable. 
  • Create priority list based on: 
    • High populace areas  
    • Prioritize based on current infrastructure, routes, and roads, geography, and geology.  
    • This will determine which bridges, dams, public buildings shall receive priority seismic upgrades and replacement funding. 
    • Start with the Salem River Crossing to provide a seismically stable bridge in the mid-valley. 
    • Utilize 50% of new timber revenues to go strictly to infrastructure upgrades and replacements. 
    • Utilize infrastructure money from potential federal government bill to upgrade infrastructure. 
  • Utilize Federal Funding, from potential infrastructure package to help speed up the process.