Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro is now much safer should an earthquake strike thanks to a seismic upgrade made possible through the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program administered by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. Tuality Hospital received a $1.3 million seismic grant to upgrade its building.
“We are the only hospital from the Oregon coast to Portland, so to be able to make sure our building survives that 8.0 or higher is key,” said Steve Krautscheid, Director of Facilities and Properties at Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro.
Tuality Hospital was built in the 1950′s, and was structured in a way that all four buildings were not connected together. The design put the hospital at risk during an earthquake.
“In the event of a seismic situation we would see those buildings crashing together causing significant damage,” said Krautscheid.
Using funding from the seismic rehabilitation grant, engineers added concrete walls and connected the buildings together. The seismic upgrade was completed in 2012.
“In an earthquake when the building shakes, it will now shake together,” said Krautscheid. “We have a solid attachment now.”
Since 2009, state-funded seismic retrofit grants have been awarded to 18 public safety facilities, 21 K-12 Oregon schools, and 3 Oregon community college and university campuses deemed in danger during a large earthquake.
“The hospitals are vital in a disaster, and we need to make sure the buildings are functional and continue to operate so they can serve the people in the community,” said Kiri Carini, Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program Coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Oregon State University scientists estimate there is a 37 percent chance that a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will strike Oregon within the next 50 years, and smaller earthquakes are even more likely to occur.
The Governor’s budget requests $15 million for bonds to support seismic upgrades at public safety buildings and $15 million for schools for a total of $30 million to continue the SRGP. State Rep. Deborah Boone, who represents Cannon Beach, is a strong supporter of seismic retrofits for public buildings.
“Coastal communities will experience a tsunami much like that which occurred in Japan and Chile within the last two years,” said Rep. Deborah Boone. “The Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program will help create a safer environment for when the Cascadia hits.”
Krautscheid said he is forever grateful for the assistance.
“We are a non-profit community hospital, with tight resources without the assistance of Oregon Emergency Management I’m not sure we could have accomplished this,” said Krautscheid.